This is the time of year when we could all do with a bit of sunshine – certainly for those of us in Northern Europe! Grey cloudy days mixed with showers and the odd downpour mean we don’t get to see much blue sky and sun. We know it’s there, that sunny days are on the horizon (hopefully!), and it’s a joyous treat on those occasions when the clouds clear and golden beams shine through.
Signs of spring are popping up; the first snowdrops are here and daffodils are braving poking through the soil. I love to see the bright yellow daffodil heads bobbling in the breeze when in full bloom; spring is not far behind.
I find myself very attracted to anything that is yellow and orange, particularly food. Increasingly, that vivid yellow spice turmeric is popping up in my recipes, giving a lovely yellow hue as well as the wonderful anti-inflammatory compounds held within. Match yellow with other rainbow colours and you get a wonderfully bright, eye-catching and nutrient-rich meal on the plate.
This lovely spicy rice recipe is one super tasty example of this. Chopped chunks of squash and ground turmeric are cooked with the rice whilst the other veggies are cooked separately then combined just before serving. It’s a slightly different way of doing it, and makes the rice a little stodgy but tastes awesome plus you don’t lose essential nutrients from either the rice or the squash.
This recipe is perfect for those busy weekday nights when time is short. Packed full of fibre and phytonutrients, it’s wonderful for both gut health and whole body health. Plus it looks pretty, which is always a bonus!
I hope you enjoy making this and feel warmed by the sunshine on your plate, if not from the sun in the sky! Do let me know how you get on.
Spicy squash rice
- 200 grams whole grain basmati rice
- 500 ml water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/3 medium butternut squash or other squash peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds or black mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 handfuls fresh coriander stalks and leaves separated and chopped
- 1/2 medium red pepper finely chopped
- 100 grams peas defrosted if frozen
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons pomegranate seeds to garnish
- Place the rice in a pan with the water and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.
- Bring the pan to the boil. Add the squash and turmeric then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the squash is soft.
- Whilst the rice is cooking, add the cumin, nigella or mustard seeds and chilli flakes to a medium-sized pan and place over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until the seeds omit their aroma.
- Carefully add the red pepper to the pan with a little water and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add the peas and the coriander stalks and cook on a low heat for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the rice is cooked, at the red pepper mix to the pan and stir well to combine. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.