This clean eating butternut rice casserole is a delicious side dish, or even a plant-based main meal!
I’ve had a butternut squash sitting on my counter for a while now and I knew that if I didn’t use it soon, it would be going in the trash. Well I’m not one to waste food, so I decided we were going to have it for dinner. But truth be told, I’ve made butternut squash a million different ways this season and I was bored with every single one of them.
I wanted something hearty, filling and somewhat on the creamy side. But since I don’t eat dairy, I figured I’d substitute with cashew cream. So I decided on this clean eating butternut brown rice casserole. It was perfect for dinner and I was able to eat off of it for a few days!
WHAT IS CASHEW CREM?
Cashew cream is a wonderful dairy-free substitution for anything you would usually want to make creamy. In fact, one of the main takeaways from my plant-based culinary program was that I should ALWAYS have a bowl of cashews soaking in the fridge because frankly, it’s never a wrong time to add cashew cream to something you are making. Seriously. It goes with just about everything!
MAKING CASHEW CREAM:
The trick with cashew cream is to always have a bowl of cashews soaking in the fridge. That being said, you can’t leave them in there forever. So if you soak them overnight but don’t want to use them right away, simply strain off the water, transfer the cashews to a freezer-safe container and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use them. So simple!!
- Add plenty of water for soaking. Cashews will nearly double in size when done soaking and they should still be covered in water at that point.
- Use ONLY raw cashews. They absolutely must be raw.
- Freeze for up to 6 months after draining.
- Note that to get a truly creamy texture, you’ll need a high powered blender like a Vitamix. If you don’t have one, your cashew cream will be a little less creamy. Still good, but you’ll be able to detect some of the cashew bits in the cream. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a difference worth noting.
ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
- If you make your cashew cream ahead of time and dice all your ingredient first, this dish comes together super fast and easy!
- If you bake it and the liquid is gone but something isn’t cooked, feel free to add about another 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid and continue baking until done. There should be no liquid left in the dish when it’s finished.
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YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY THESE CLEAN EATING RECIPES:
CLEAN EATING BUTTERNUT RICE CASSEROLE RECIPE:
Clean Eating Butternut Brown Rice Casserole
- 2 cups long grain brown rice (I used basmati)
- 3 cups diced butternut squash (small dice)
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (small dice)
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (small dice)
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 5 medium garlic cloves (minced fine)
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium, no sugar added)
- 2 cups cashew cream sauce (see link for cashew alfredo sauce above)
- salt to taste at serving
- In a large 10 X 14 casserole dish, pour in the brown rice.
- Then add the butternut squash.
- Then the carrots.
- Now, in a separate skillet, sauté the onions in the oil until they are golden brown. In the last minute of sautéing, add in the garlic and nutmeg and continue stirring. Then add this mixture to the casserole dish.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and cashew cream sauce.
- Stir well to combine.
- Bake at 375 F. for approximately 1 hour, or until the rice and butternut are cooked through. (Time will vary based on your oven).
- Cool slightly and serve, seasoning with salt as needed.