Layered Wild Rice and Roasted Squash Salad

jstr I had a wonderful and indulgent Thanksgiving.  I just got back to New York yesterday, so I decided to do something I don't normally do--meal prep.  I picked up some beautiful pomegranates at the market, so I decided to make a favorite salad of mine that is wonderfully accented by the burst-y crunch of fresh pomegranate seeds.  I thought about naming this salad “Crazy Salad” since it is Crazy Colorful, Crazy Vibrant, Crazy Delicious, Crazy Filling, and Crazy Healthy.

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Before making this salad, I had never cooked black rice before.  Black rice turns its cooking water a deep aubergine color.  You can substitute the black and wild rice with just about any grain.  The total time to assemble this salad is about an hour. I love having healthy breakfasts and lunches during the holiday season so that I feel less guilty when it's time to eat all of the delicious holiday goodies ;)

Layered Wild Rice Salad and Roasted Squash Salad

Ingredients 1/2 cup black rice 1/2 cup wild rice 1 medium butternut squash 1/2 cup olive oil, divided 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons honey 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1 cup pomegranate seeds 2 cups parsley 1/2 cup roasted pistachios, chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Roast the squash with 1/4 cup olive oil on a baking sheet.

Cook black rice and wild rice in a covered pot on low, with 2 cups of salted water. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes.  (Taste to determine when rice is done and be sure to add water if the rice isn’t cooked by the time all of water evaporates.) Drain and rinse, shaking off as much water as possible.  Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

Roast the squash until it is browned and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper.  Let cool.

Prepare the red wine vinaigrette by whisking red wine vinegar, honey, and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl.

Distribute the vinaigrette among several medium-sized jars. For the second layer, add the black rice and wild rice. (This way, the vinaigrette won't cause the other ingredients to be soggy.) Distribute the roasted squash among the jars for the next layer, followed by the green onions, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and parsley.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.