Baked Rice Pilaf with Squash

A lovely combination of flavours. This recipe is also very versatile, so experiment with:

  • extra vegetables (eg peppers)
  • pulses – peas, beans, lentils – or other protein sources, eg chopped smoked tofu; seitan chunks, nuts or seeds
  • one of our lovely and quick sauces eg Cheesy or Roasted Red Pepper & Yoghurt – or just check out the entire Sauces menu for inspiration!

Short on time?
Use cooked brown rice or other wholegrains of your choice – available ready-cooked in sachets. Look for brands like Tilda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Merchant Gourmet, Uncle Ben – just check nothing non-vegan has been added. Or just make a double batch of rice at home and freeze some for another time!

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Gluten free
Wheat free
Reduced sugar, diabetic friendly
Quick meal
Low fat, low sugar
Kids recipe

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Total time

20-40 minutes


  • mains
  • lunches
  • sides-light-meals-and-salads
  • vegetable-side-dishes




  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp fennel seed
  • Pinch black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 300g/10oz long grain brown or brown basmati rice OR 2 packs pre-cooked brown rice or mixed wholegrains
  • ¼ tsp saffron steeped in 30ml/2 tbsp warm water – use a big pinch of turmeric if on a budget!
  • 560ml/1 pint light vegetable stock (reduce this to about 10-150ml if using pre-cooked rice)
  • 450g/1lb butternut or similar squash, chopped into small chunks
  • Optional: toasted nuts or seeds to drizzle over the top when serving


1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

2. In a medium sized heavy saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in oil over a medium heat until just softened.

3. Add the cumin, fennel seed, pepper and salt.

4. Sauté for 1 minute.

5. Add the rice and stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until the rice smells fragrant.

6. Add the saffron and stock, bring rice to the boil and cover. If using pre-cooked rice, use the smaller amount of stock in ingredients as only a little is needed to moisten up the rice and heat it through.

7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. If using the pre-cooked rice option, reduce this time to just a few minutes – enough to cook in the spices and cook off any excess stock.

8. Meanwhile, lightly steam squash until just cooked – 5-10 minutes. Test with thin skewer.

9. Place squash on a heatproof dish and keep it warm in the oven.

10. Check rice and add a little more liquid if beginning to stick.

11. Remove rice from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

13. Make sauce and gently warm through.

14. Serve pilaf with squash and sauce of your choice.

Optional extras / notes

Use pre-cooked grains for a quicker recipe


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