Butternut Squash Herb Rice Pilaf is a delectable and nutritious dish that features seasonal butternut squash sautéed with aromatic herbs and spices making a delicious fall dish. Its vibrant orange hue and subtly sweet, nutty flavor make it a delightful addition to both vegetarian and meat-based meals.
This blog post and recipe is sponsored by Success Rice. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting brands that make A Paige Of Positivity possible.
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Why we love this Butternut Squash Rice Recipe
The days of flavorless plain rice are no more! Enter this hearty and herb roasted Butternut Squash Rice Pilaf. Roasted squash is a seasonal indulgence, slightly sweet and also savory, then pair it with fresh herbs like sage and thyme plus the salty tang parmesan cheese and the dish becomes elevated to something you would expect to be served a la carte at a 5 star restaurant.
This is a fairly simple side dish, too. Just a few easy steps that any home cook can execute with special thanks to Success Boil-in-Bag Rice that makes perfectly fluffy rice every time. This herb rice is also a great opportunity to utilize leftover plain white rice and take it to the next level.
Whether you’re looking for a non-traditional terrific side dish for Thanksgiving the whole family will love, or just a cozy accompaniment for a fall meal, this Butternut Squash Rice is for you. And if you’re looking for more cozy rice dishes, I encourage you to try this Parmesan Rice Recipe, this Thanksgiving Rice, or this Mushroom Rice Pilaf, too.
- Herbs: I used rosemary, thyme, and sage. I usually buy mine at Trader Joe's (where I can find them cheapest).
- Rice: Success Rice Boil-in-Bag rice is a game changer when it comes to cooking perfect rice!
- Broth: Pilaf usually uses broth instead of water (vegetable or chicken broth). The extra flavor is infused into the rice while it cooks.
- Cheese - I love the savoriness parmesan cheese adds to this dish.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Store Fresh Herbs
This recipe utilizes lots of fresh herbs. Whether you're bringing them home from the store or picking from your garden before you make this recipe or have extras afterward, you ought to know how to store them:
All herbs are different. Leafy, delicate herbs like parsley, cilantro, or basil can be kept with their stems in a glass of water as if they were flowers in a vase. Hardy herbs, like thyme and sage, that are used in this recipe, do well wrapped in a damp paper towel and then placed in an air-tight zipper-lock bag or tupperware.
Substitutions and Variations
- Rice - I used long grain Basmati Rice, but you could reach for brown rice, a wild rice blend, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice for a low carb version. You could also make this recipe with orzo pasta as another option.
- Herbs - This recipe welcomes almost any fresh herb you have on hand. Try adding fresh basil, oregano, fresh parsley or dill if you have any. Diced green onions on top are welcomed, too.
- Squash - Instead of butternut squash, try sweet potato, delicata squash, or even cooked and cubed pumpkin in this recipe. Or leave out the squash altogether for a perfectly herbed rice pilaf.
- Add-ins - A few other ingredients that would be delicious mixed in include dried cranberries for extra sweetness, golden brown caramelized diced onions or bell peppers, or sliced almonds for extra texture.
How to Make This Rice Dish
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the whole squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then dice into cubes (I use a vegetable chopper). Season the butternut squash with oil, spices and half of the fresh thyme. Toss together in a bowl and spread onto a baking sheet (I like to line the sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up). Roast for 25-30 minutes or until squash is fork tender. You may need a longer cooking time if you have large squash pieces.
2. Heat a sauce pan with water and vegetable broth. Add in stalks of rosemary and sage. Add the rice and cook according to package directions.
Note: If you’re using regular rice (not Boil-in-Bag), still cook raw rice (~2 cup of rice) in the broth with the sage and rosemary, then discard the stalks once cooking is complete. This adds so much flavor! As a rule of thumb, use 1.5 cups of liquid for every one cup of dry rice.
3. Remove the rice from the bag and add butter and cheese. Stir until well combined and the butter and cheese are melted by the warm rice.
4. Add fresh chives, remaining thyme and roasted butternut squash over top of the rice mixture. Stir until mixed and enjoy!
Completely optional: Add a bit of fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest over top of the savory side dish. This highlights the brightness of the fresh herbs!
Herb Rice Pilaf Recipe FAQs
This rice will hold up well in the fridge for up to five days. I love making it for meal prep! The leftover rice is just as delicious reheated the next day. Make a batch (or double batch) and throw some cooked protein on top for lunches throughout the week. You could also freeze any extra rice in an airtight container or individual servings in Ziploc bags. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy, thaw and put back in the skillet to warm and crisp up a bit.
I always reach for Success Boil-in-Bag Rice. It’s just 1 ingredient and it's quick to cook, taking just 10 minutes to make. No need to measure as it comes ready to cook and always results in no mess! You simply boil the rice right in the bag over medium-high heat that comes in and it turns out perfectly fluffy EVERY time.
In my opinion this rice is way more flavorful with fresh herbs. That said, you still can substitute in dried herbs. Use about ~2 teaspoons of dried type and ½ tsp ground sage.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below & if you really like the recipe consider leaving a comment further down. Thanks for visiting!
More Side Dishes You'll Love
Butternut Squash Herb Rice Pilaf
- Sauce pot
- Mixing Bowl
- Rubber Spatula
- sheet pan
- vegetable chopper or knife and cutting board
- measuring cups / spoons
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squash, ~4-5 cups diced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- ½ tsp cumin
- 4-6 stalks fresh thyme, de-stemmed
- 2 bags Success Boil-in-Bag Basmati Rice, ~2 cups uncooked rice
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4-6 fresh sage leaves
- 3-4 stalks rosemary
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp diced chives
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the whole squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then dice into cubes.
- Coat the butternut squash with oil, onion powder, salt, pepper, cumin and half of the fresh thyme. Toss together in a bowl and spread onto a baking sheet.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes or until squash is fork tender. You may need a longer cooking time if you have large squash pieces.
- While the squash bakes, heat a sauce pan with water and vegetable broth. Add in stalks of rosemary and sage. Add the rice and cook according to package directions.
- Remove the rice from the bag and add butter and cheese. Stir until well combined and the butter and cheese are melted by the warm rice.
- Add fresh chives, remaining thyme and roasted butternut squash over top of the rice mixture. Stir until mixed and enjoy!
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