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Donna's Summertime Meal

Are you wondering what to do with all your garden bounty? I don't have squash in my garden but recently

I bought beautiful organic butternut and Acorn squash. However, upon getting home, I was a bit stymied as to how to best use these for a light, summertime meal. Luckily, I found the perfect recipe in Amanda Haas’ cookbook, The Vibrant Life. The butternut squash did not yield quite enough as was called for in the recipe, so I supplemented with the Acorn squash and a sweet potato. I didn’t have fresh mint, so substituted basil and thyme, fresh from the garden. It was delicious. This recipe makes a large portion, so you may want to half the recipe. It’s delicious hot, with a chicken breast on the side, or cold with a homemade scone or muffin. And, of course, any recipe with our dried Door County cherries is going to be exceptional!

Wild Rice Salad with Butternut Squash, Cherries, and Mint

From “The Vibrant Life” by Amanda Haas

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 Time: 25 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking


• 1 1/2 cups wild rice

• Kosher salt

• 2 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2 in dice

• 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

• Freshly ground pepper

• 1/2 cup [90 g] dried tart cherries

• 1/2 cup [60 g] shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

• 1/2 cup [15 g] chopped fresh mint

• 3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

• 1/4 to 1/2 cup [60 to 120 ml] Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)


To cook the wild rice, place in a 4 qt saucepan. Add 3 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover. Reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is still a little chewy but not hard, about 40 minutes. If there is any liquid left in the pan, strain the rice. Place it on a sheet pan to cool to room temperature.

While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the squash, oil, and thyme on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer. (If necessary, use a second baking sheet.) Roast until the squash is golden and beginning to crisp, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, squash, cherries, pistachios, mint, and green onions. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and additional vinaigrette, as needed. Serve.

Lime Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is wonderful over peaches and arugula with a little goat cheese. It’s also a delicious marinade. Add a little chipotle in adobo sauce for heat.


Makes 3/4 cup


• 1/4 cup minced red onion

• 1 tsp grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

• 1 Tbsp honey

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/3 cup canola oil


In a small bowl, combine the onion, lime zest, and honey. Slowly whisk in the lime juice to dissolve the honey. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes, so the lime juice softens the red onion a little. Slowly whisk in the oil. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


I use All Clad pans. They are a big investment but will last a lifetime. Best of all, they heat food super quickly and evenly.

Montmorency cherries are grown in our Door County orchards. The dried cherries are delicious in oatmeal, sauces or eaten right out of the package.

Since this recipes makes a large amount (for a single gal) I started adding cut up mango or peaches to the leftover cold rice for a summertime salad. Yummy!

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