Roasted pumpkin, orange and rice

I don’t want to scare you, but I am having a love-in with brown rice at the moment. In the weekend I made an amazing salad with brown rice, red onion, fiery orange pumpkin, virulent green spinach and orange, err, oranges. It was packed with flavour and surprisingly light to eat, plus it made for several excellent work lunches. Soon I will be eschewing fossil fuels and running away to live in a commune. Want to join me?

Roasted pumpkin, orange and brown rice
This looks more complicated than it is. The hardest part is usually breaking open the pumpkin – but I take care of that by going outside, lifting the pumpkin above my head and then smashing it down onto the concrete. It’s surprisingly therapeutic.
The pumpkin roasts in the oven while the rice cooks on the stovetop, then you can potter around and make the dressing at your leisure. Don’t try making this with white rice, it won’t be the same. But you could give it a go with red quinoa or amaranth for extra health bonus points.

300g brown rice, rinsed in running water until it runs clear
450ml cold water
600g peeled and de-seeded pumpkin, chopped into 2cm cubes (about 800g with the skin and seeds still intact)

1 red onion, peeled and diced, put into a bowl and sprinkled with 60ml rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
3 handfuls baby spinach or rocket
100g whole almonds, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
2 lovely oranges, peeled, depipped and diced

1 clove garlic, crushed
A good pinch of flaky sea salt
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp peanut oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
juice of one orange
½ tsp honey

Deal to the pumpkin first. Preheat the oven to 200C and grease an oven dish with a tablespoon of olive oil. Tip in the pumpkin and drizzle with another tablespoon of oil. Bake for around 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is cooked and beginning to crisp up. Set aside.
Put the well-washed rice and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Let simmer for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat (DO NOT lift the lid) and let sit for 15 minutes. The rice should be perfectly cooked and all the water absorbed.
Next, make the dressing. Crush the garlic and salt together with the blade of a knife, then scrape into a screw top jar. Add the honey, juice and vinegar and shake well. Add the oil and shake again until well mixed. Taste for balance and adjust accordingly.
When the rice and pumpkin have cooled down a little, tip both into a serving bowl, Pour about half the dressing over the top and toss through gently. Drain the onion, then add to the rice with the oranges and spinach. Pour over the remaining dressing and toss gently. Sprinkle the almonds on top.
Best served at room temperature. This makes an excellent packed lunch or serve it alongside a piece of fish with some greens. Makes enough for four lunches or six to eight side dish servings.

What’s your favourite thing to do with brown rice?



  1. August 14, 2012 / 8:40 pm

    That looks very nice. I'll come with you to the commune if you'll cook.
    I always attack a pumpkin with a big knife but now I can't wait for pumpkin season so I can go and fling it on the patio. 🙂
    We have brown rice with everything. Well, except in sushi.

  2. August 14, 2012 / 10:08 pm

    Yum, I love brown rice, maybe we should start our own commune? Pumpkin is truly the best partner for it. I have found a nice man at my vege market that cuts my pumpkin into wedges with his machete, but the concrete technique has its charms. I've started serving brown rice with satay and curry too – nuttiness makes it go nicely 🙂

  3. August 15, 2012 / 7:11 am

    Definitely coming…wait for me…just let me get my sandals…

    That looks amazing and I do think that brown rice has much more flavour than white…although I do have a thing for Tilda Basmati rice too…

    I love this kind of combination real comfort food…perfect for today we have wind and rain forecast for this evening…

    I think I made egg fried rice with lots of vegetable the last time I cooked brown rice…I was amazed that everyone ate it and said they really enjoyed it…

    Thanks for sharing this…

  4. August 15, 2012 / 1:15 pm

    if you have a bit of leftover brown rice I highly recommend using some in tofu nut balls that I recently posted – quite plain little morsels but yummy with a good sauce

  5. August 15, 2012 / 11:01 pm

    This does sound delicious. I've never had the nerve to open pumpkins your way but I will in the future. The commune sounds totally far out, man, but I spent some time in a commune many, many, many years ago and, thinking about it, the food was absolutely terrible. If I ever join another commune, it has to be with other food bloggers or Delia Smith.

  6. August 16, 2012 / 9:12 pm

    yum! this looks very good, will be trying it soon- thank you! i am also a brown rice fan, but don't eat it often enough so it's a good to have a reminder. i used to be the cook in an organic cafe (nelson, naturally) and we made a room-temp salad with cooked brown rice, chopped capsicum and roasted peanuts and sunflower seeds. commune-worthy but also delicious with a good dressing.

  7. August 19, 2012 / 5:42 am

    I haven't really cooked with brown rice much but this looks lovely and I'll come with you to the commune if this is what you're cooking. I love the mental picture of you poised with the pumpkin above your head ready to fling it down!

  8. August 22, 2012 / 9:37 am

    This looks delicious!! I tend to use brown rice for everything, mostly because I can't be bothered to stock more than one type of rice. I love your method for opening pumpkins – I always manage to get my big knife halfway through and then it gets stuck because I'm not strong enough and I end up bashing the pumpkin on the counter until the knife works its way through. I might have to try your way next time!

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