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When this year began, I started a few different challenge groups to help me get focus on my path to improved health and well-being. I’ve been doing some Facebook Live videos for added accountability. And, I have been trying to incorporate different food items into our diet. This Ancient Grain Pilaf with Butternut Squash is something I made instead of a regular rice dish.
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Ingredients Used in Ancient Grain Pilaf with Butternut Squash
I will start off by saying that my husband considers this to be a bird seed. Most people do as it really is a seed. But, when cooked, millet acts more like a grain.
This is a wonderful ancient grain which is gluten free. It is not a complete protein, though, so you need to pair it with beans or meat.
This ancient grain has been gaining in popularity for a while. It makes a great alternative for those on a gluten-free diet. It is readily available for purchase as it is a staple for many who eat gluten-free.
Unlike the millet, quinoa IS a complete protein. Not only that, quinoa is considered a superfood because of its power-packed nutritional content.
truRoots Organic Quinoa 100% Whole Grain Premium Quality, 4 lbsHealthworks Quinoa White Whole Grain Raw Organic, 2lbKirkland Signature Organic Gluten-Free Quinoa – 2.04kg., 4.5lbBob’s Red Mill Grain Quinoa Organic, 26-ounces
Chicken Stock Powder
While I love the idea of making my own stock, I know it just doesn’t happen. The powder I use is vegetarian yet has the flavor of chicken. (They also sell beef and vegetable.)
I purchase my vegetarian stock powders from Wholy Living, a company providing classes and supplies for whole grain living here in Alaska. The company she purchases them from is Oregon Spice Company.
However, you can just use chicken broth in lieu of the water and leave the powder out. Or use Better Than Boullion Chicken Base, the non-vegetarian option I also enjoy for my cooking.
Many of us are familiar with using olive oil or even coconut oil in our cooking now. Grapeseed Oil is another great fat to use in small amounts.
Grapeseed Oil has a high smoke point, neutral flavor and even provides a good amount of vitamin E.
Recipe for Ancient Grain Pilaf with Butternut Squash
This is not a complicated recipe. However, you do need to be paying attention. If not, things might burn on the bottom. (Don’t ask how I know…..)
A Tool You Should Use When Making This Dish
One tool which I highly recommend using to avoid the pilaf burning is a diffuser plate. I use this a lot when cooking on the stove for a sustained time. Not only do you no longer have to scrape burned stuff off the pan’s bottom, you do not get a burned flavor in your dish.
There are a lot of options. I’ve included a few below. I currently have the less expensive option with a wooden handle. However, the handle has decided to come apart after several years of use. So, I am looking at upgrading to a cooking plate.
Nordic Ware 8 Inch Heat Tamer and Burner PlateCucinaPro Heat Diffuser Plate – 524, For use on Electric or Gas StovesCopper Heat Diffuser Cooking Plate 12Ilsa Cast Iron Heat Diffuser Reducer 8.25 InchMaxi-Aids Simmer Ring Aluminum Heat Diffuser with Wood Handle
I found that roasted pork with an apple cider vinegar glaze pairs very well with this dish. I could also see it working well with chicken and possibly beef. I do not see it pairing well with fish.
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. oil (olive or grapeseed)
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 Tbsp. chicken stock powder
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup millet seed
- 1/2 cup quinoa seeds
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 to 4 cups of washed greens (baby spinach or a blend)
- 1/4 tsp. dried sage
- In a saucepan, brown the butter. This is done over a medium heat, whisking constantly. Watch for brown flecks to appear. You should see the butter turn brown and have a nutty fragrance. The total time to do this is between 4 and 6 minutes. Just make sure to NOT let it turn black. (IF it does, toss it out and start over!) Remove the browned butter from the saucepan and set it aside.
- Add the oil to the saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion in it for about 7 minutes, until it has softened. Add the garlic, stir and heat for just under 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock powder, water, millet and quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the butternut squash on top of the grains, recover and continue simmering for another 10 minutes or so. You want the grains and squash to be tender.
- Turn off the stove, stir in the greens and allow to sit until the greens are wilted.
- Toss with the browned butter and sage.
- Serve and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192 Total Fat: 14g Carbohydrates: 15g Protein: 4g
Have you used ancient grains like millet and quinoa in your home?
Are there any wellness focused resolutions in your life?