Cushaw and Wild Rice Salad With Basil Pistou 8.000
Groundwork Oct 18, 2010

Cushaw squash is a large, mild-flavored squash. If it is unavailable or too large to handle, substitute another dry, firm-fleshed winter squash.

Served on a bed of arugula leaves, the salad makes a beautiful accompaniment to grilled meat.

Servings: 8
  • For the pistou
  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • For the squash
  • 3 cups peeled cushaw squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed well
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (see NOTE)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons basil pistou (see above)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
  • Salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper


For the pistou: Combine the basil, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to form a coarse sauce. The yield should be slightly less than 1 cup. Reserve 3 tablespoons for the next part of this recipe; store the remaining pistou in a container (preferably glass) in the refrigerator or freezer.

For the squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Have a rimmed baking sheet at hand.

Toss together the squash cubes, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the thyme leaves in a mixing bowl, to coat evenly, then spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast about 40 minutes until tender with browned edges.

Meanwhile, cook the rice: Combine the wild and brown rices and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes; the water should be completely absorbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

Transfer the roasted mixture to the bowl; toss with the 2 tablespoons of reserved basil pistou. Add the cooked rice and toss to combine.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add to the squash mixture, along with the balsamic vinegar; toss to coat incorporate.

Stir in the pine nuts; let the salad sit for several minutes. Taste; add the remaining tablespoon of basil pistou or a bit of vinegar as needed. Finish with a sprinkling of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Toast pine nuts in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the nuts have browned evenly. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

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Recipe Source

From Smithsonian Garden education specialist Cynthia A. Brown.

Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.

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