A few weeks ago, I bought some brown basmati rice for a night when my husband was working. Though we’ve never really loved any brown rice in the past, this time the kids and I enjoyed the nutty grain. But when it came time to make rice a few days later for the whole family, I pulled out white rice thinking my husband would never want to eat brown rice. So, you’ll imagine my surprise when he made some last week for dinner — without any prompting. Turns out, he was ready to give it another go. And he liked it too.
Well, I guess this makes us brown rice fans. Who would have thought it?
Anyway, when I went to whip up this spicy lunch for myself, I went right for the brown rice … it was perfect for it.
This dish is adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe. Recently, I was asked to join The Food Matters Project — a group of bloggers cooking our way through Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook. If you aren’t familiar with the cookbook (or the book Food Matters), the basic premise is that you should eat like your ancestors would have in the early 20th century. It’s not unlike the lessons I recently learned reading Why Women Need Fat. So, when asked to join in, I said yes right away. I could definitely use the lessons from this book to cook better food for my family.
And me too. Because sometimes recipes aren’t for everyone. This one? Totally not for my kids. And that’s okay.
This week’s recipe for the group was Chipotle-Glazed Squash Skewers. The recipe sounded amazing as is, and I am sure it would make a killer appetizer or side dish. But when I read the combination of flavors, it made me think of lunch. When the kids are in school and I am working, I love having something easy and not-kid-friendly to eat … this was totally that. So I scrapped the skewers, added sweet potatoes and more honey and served this over brown rice and raw kale. Hello.
It’s been a while since I last cooked with smoky, spicy chipotle peppers, powerful little peppers that add a punch to dishes. In this recipe, the chipotles, combined with honey and garlic, turn the sugary butternut squash and sweet potatoes into creamy sweet heat missiles. The nutty brown rice and earthy, firm raw kale make it a total party of textures and flavors.
And yes, I made this one pretty spicy. I love fiery flavors, and love it even more when it’s a sweet fire. Unfortunately, my kids and husband aren’t fans of the heat that chipotle peppers add so this dish really is perfect for my lunch — solo. Oh well, more for me. That’s why it’s perfect for me to enjoy alone for lunch …
This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman’s Chipotle-Glazed Squash Skewers
- 1 1/4 lb butternut squash, , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 - 1 lb sweet potatoes, , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 chipotle chilis, , finely chopped
- 2 tbsp adobo sauce, (from the chilis)
- 4 cloves garlic, , minced
- 2 tbsp honey
- salt and pepper, , to taste
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup bite size pieces of raw kale
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with non stick aluminum foil.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the butternut squash and sweet potatoes.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, chipotle chilis, adobo sauce, garlic, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the butternut squash and sweet potatoes and toss well to combine. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until tender.
- Arrange one cup of brown rice on each of four plates. Top with 1/4 cup kale each and 1/4 of the glazed squash and sweet potatoes. Enjoy!
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.