Brown Basmati Rice with Garbanzo Beans and Winter Squash

“No offense to zucchini, but the health benefits of fall-harvest squashes far eclipse their summer cousins.” ~ Whole Living
Butternut squash from my garden

Butternut squash from my garden


Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines and this is one of my favorite Indian dishes. It’s vegan, tastes great, and easy to prepare.

Regional cuisine

Like foods of most countries, the cuisines in India are regional with a variety of spices combined differently by locality. Recent research has shown that Indians who eat their traditional diets are very healthy. They consume around 1 ½ teaspoons of healthful spices every day.

The following recipe has basmati (Indian) rice and common Indian spices. It is a great fall/winter dish with winter squash and warming spices.

Garbanzo beans 

Garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas, are one of the earliest cultivated beans. Archeological evidence shows that people grew the beans in the Middle East 7,500 years ago. Chickpeas traveled around the area and into what is now Europe where garbanzo beans are found in the cuisines of many countries. Garbanzo beans are used often in Indian dishes.

In a recent study, a group eating garbanzo beans showed lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides than the control group. And it took only one week of garbanzo bean consumption to improve participants’ control of blood sugar and insulin secretion.

Garbanzo beans are a good source of molybdenum, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, protein, iron, and zinc. Because of their dietary fiber garbanzo beans provide digestive tract support.

Squash nutrition

For this recipe I use non-fibrous butternut squash that roasts and sautés quickly, and mashes or purees smoothly. Butternut squash has a tan peel with orange flesh and looks a bit like an elongated pear. Butternut squash is a good source of Vitamins A and B-complex, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients for heart health. The seeds are a good source of healthy oils and protein.

cut squash

cut squash

Preparing the Squash

Butternut squashes can be huge. For this recipe I used a squash from my garden that was 6 to 8 inches long. When diced it makes about 2 cups. Choose that size when buying from a store.

Take care when prepping the squash. Use a sharp knife and slice the squash cross-wise just above the bulb-y part that holds the seeds, then cut both pieces down the center. That way you will have four pieces with flat sides that are easy to control. Cut off both ends. Remove and save the seeds for roasting. Peel the fruit with a veggie peeler then cut into ½ inch pieces.

About brown rice

Brown rice takes longer to cook than refined white rice. And some brown rice takes longer than others. The age of the rice affects its cooking time. To make sure the rice is cooked when the squash is done, precook the rice while sautéing the veggies.

Basmati rice has a heavenly aroma when cooking, and a sweeter, more complex flavor than regular brown rice. If you can’t find basmati rice, use whatever brown rice you have.

Brown Basmati Rice with Garbanzo Beans and Winter Squash
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes
Serves: 6

2014 12 11_4762Ingredients
1 cup brown basmati rice (or substitute other brown rice) rinsed several times
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1 large onion, diced or sliced (preferably red)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into ½ inch chunks (see above for safe prep)
1 – 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups vegetarian broth or water
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, to taste


  1. Put the presoaked rice in a 2-quart pot. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and let the rice simmer until adding it to the pot. About 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat and melt the coconut oil in a large 5-quart pot, add and sauté the onions cooking until they are soft, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the jalapeño pepper (if using, some people don’t like the heat) sauté for a minute. Add the garlic (don’t let the garlic burn or it will be bitter), the coriander and cumin, stir and sauté a few seconds.
  4. Add the squash, beans, and precooked rice with its water. Stir to coat with the onion mixture.
  5. Stir in the broth or water and salt. Heat to boiling. Stir well. Lower heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, the squash is soft, and the rice tender. About 45 minutes.
  6. Let sit off the heat about 5 minutes before serving.



Author:Sharon Reese

Lacto-ovo vegetarian for over four decades.

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I will be pleased to hear from you. I’ll try to answer questions you might have about cooking or nutrition.

One Response to “Brown Basmati Rice with Garbanzo Beans and Winter Squash”

  1. Nancy church
    January 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    Step 1 in the directions calls for presoaked rice. Has that rice been soaked in water prior to the 10 minute simmer? And for how long?

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