- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1-½ cups diced butternut squash (about half a small squash)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup diced sweet onion
- ⅓ cup diced celery
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 540-ml can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- ½ cup raw (green) pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
- 1 tsp chopped chipotle pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
1 Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.
2 Meanwhile, in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add squash, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove squash from pan, set aside and keep warm. Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, and sauté onions, celery and garlic; cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, beans and stock; reduce heat and simmer until stock has mostly been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
3 To make pesto, combine pumpkin seeds, parsley, cilantro, chipotle pepper and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until pumpkin seeds are coarsely chopped but the mixture is well blended. Stir in lemon juice.
4 To serve, divide rice evenly among four bowls and place an equal portion of beans and squash over rice. Garnish with a dollop of pesto and a sprig of cilantro.
Note: Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeño peppers and can be purchased in different forms. Chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce or dried whole work best for this recipe. If using dried peppers, soak in hot water until softened before using. Look for them in the Mexican food section of your grocery store.
Makes 4 servings.