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.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Smithsonian Garden education specialist Cynthia A. Brown.

Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at