The combination of roasted, slightly sweet, and herbal butternut squash with saffron rice and this flavorful sage gremolata is pure healthy comfort. Naturally free from gluten and dairy, and ready in under an hour. Plus, it looks super elegant- consider serving it for the holidays!
Caramelized Squash With Saffron Rice and Sage Gremolata [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Squash:
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh sage
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- Greens, olive oil, and lemon, to serve
For the Saffron Rice:
- 1 cup sprouted brown basmati rice
- 1 1/2 cups cool water plus 1/4 cup hot water
- Large pinch of saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Sage Gremolata:
- A small bunch of fresh sage
- 1 small lemon
- 1 clove garlic
To Make the Squash:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the oil, maple syrup, a big pinch of salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and rub the oil mixture over the flesh.
- Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs and sprinkle over the squash. Lay the sage leaves on top and then place the squash cut-side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until the thickest part of the squash is soft when pierced with a sharp knife and completely cooked through and the cut-side of the squash is golden and caramelized.
- Remove from oven. Carefully peel away the squash skin (it should come off easily). Slice the squash into 2-inch pieces and serve with saffron rice, sage gremolata, toasted almonds, and greens. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.
To Make the Saffron Rice:
- Using a mortar and pestle, if you have one, finely grind the saffron and then pour over 1/4 cup hot water and allow to sit for a few minutes. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, crush the saffron threads using your fingers and then place in a small pot and add 1/4 cup hot water, allowing the mixture to sit for a few minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, the sprouted brown basmati rice, and the sea salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low, and allow the rice to simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat but keep the lid on. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Fluff with a fork.
To Make the Sage Gremolata:
- Remove the sage leaves from the stems. Finely chop sage and add to a small bowl.
- Use a sharp knife to carefully peel the lemon zest away, avoiding the white pith. Very finely chop the lemon zest and add to the bowl with the sage.
- Peel the garlic, and then use a microplane or sharp knife to finely grate the garlic and add to the bowl. Toss to combine. Leftover gremolata can be stored in a covered container and kept for a couple days.