The 1 Barefoot Contessa Dish That Makes the ‘Most Satisfying Lunch or the Perfect Dinner Side’, According to Ina Garten

Ina Garten has lots of Barefoot Contessa lunch recipes but it’s a rice dish the 73-year-old says is versatile enough for lunch or dinner. 

Ina Garten’s Warm Brown Rice and Butternut Squash ‘has it all’

Ina Garten speaks at the 2015 Forbes Women's Summit
Ina Garten | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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In a November 2018 post on her official Barefoot Contessa website, Garten highlighted her Warm Brown Rice and Butternut Squash recipe. 

“It’s no secret that flavor is really important to me, but the textures in a dish are equally important,” she wrote. “The Warm Brown Rice and Butternut Squash from Cook Like a Pro has it all – nutty brown rice, sweet roasted squash with maple syrup, tart cranberries, and crunchy, salty Marcona almonds.” 

Garten added that “it makes the most satisfying lunch or the perfect dinner side dish with a simple roast chicken.” 

Make the Warm Brown Rice and Butternut Squash with one of Garten’s roast chicken recipes for an easy Barefoot Contessa-approved meal. 

The Food Network star’s Brown Rice and Butternut Squash calls for 12 ingredients 

Ina Garten toasts with a glass of wine while she dines with Willie Geist on October 10, 2018
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Staying true to her cooking style, Garten’s rice dish isn’t complicated. She uses simple ingredients  — some of which are Barefoot Contessa pantry staples — to put it together. They range from one of Garten’s favorites, “good” olive oil, to dijon mustard and vinegar.  A Barefoot Contessa tip on storing vinegar: put it in the fridge.

Not sure about the “good” olive oil? Garten often uses Olio Santo. It’s been her preferred choice of “good” olive oil for years. As for brown rice, Garten prefers RiceSelect Texmati rice. 

Here’s a complete list of the ingredients in Garten’s Warm Brown Rice and Butternut Squash:

  • Butternut squash 
  • Good olive oil
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Brown rice
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Good white wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Scallions
  • Dried cranberries
  • Salted Marcona almonds

How to make the Barefoot Contessa’s Warm Brown Rice and Butternut Squash

Ina Garten smiles as she stirs food with a wooden spoon on the Today show
Ina Garten | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

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This recipe begins with the squash. Roast it for about 30 minutes on a sheet pan, Garten’s most used kitchen tool, after tossing with olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Meanwhile, cook the rice on the stove. Let simmer for about 25 minutes with the lid on. Drain any excess liquid. 

Everyone should know how to make vinaigrette, according to Garten, and that’s what comes next. Using a glass liquid measuring cup — the Barefoot Contessa’s trick to making vinaigrette — whisk together the maple syrup, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Once combined slowly pour in the olive oil. 

Put the cooked rice in a big serving bowl. Toss with some of the vinaigrette being sure to reserve a bit for later. Why? Because as the dish sits it soaks up the vinaigrette. Mix in the dried cranberries, squash, scallions, and almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature for lunch or a side at dinner.