Butternut Squash and Rice Gratin; Moroccan Cats

Even though I no longer do a turkey dinner this time of year I am aware that a lot of people do.

The discussions on the merits of Green Bean Casserole have been flooding the internet. I particularly enjoyed an article that listed survey results of the most disliked Thanksgiving Dinner foods.

Yes, Green Bean Casserole made it into the top 10.

The cranberry thing that comes in a can, and maintains the can shape before slicing, (whatever it’s called) also made the list.

I was surprised to see turkey and stuffing on the list…. I mean, if you don’t like those why bother? And pumpkin pie? Really?

On reflection, it must have been a survey of curmudgeons.

If you’re looking for an alternative side dish, or maybe just one more to add to the holiday table Butternut Squash and Basmati Rice Gratin might be just the thing.

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Butternut Squash and Rice Gratin

This is an easy side dish of winter squash and rice. It can be made ahead and kept at room temperature for up to an hour, then the final baking done at the last minute. 

  • Author: Katie Zeller
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Rice Side Dishes


  • 1/2 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 8oz (250gr) butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium – large leek, cleaned, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2oz (45gr) bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Cook rice in 1 cup of chicken broth until done.  Remove and fluff,
  • Heat oil and paprika in a large skillet. 
  • Add bacon, squash, leeks and sauté until vegetables are tender bacon is done, about 10 minutes. 
  • Add chicken broth, thyme, cover and keep warm until rice is done.
  • To finish: combine rice, vegetables, yogurt and Parmesan.
  • Spoon into a baking dish and bake, 400F (200C), for 15 minutes, until top starts to brown. 


You can substitute a medium onion, chopped, for the leek and any winter squash, including pumpkin, in place of the butternut squash.
The recipe doubles or triples easily


  • Serving Size: 1/2 recipe
  • Calories: 495
  • Sugar: 7.4 g
  • Sodium: 1100.7 mg
  • Fat: 20.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.3 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.3 g
  • Fiber: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 18.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 34.4 mg

Keywords: butternut squash, basmati rice, rice gratin

Butternut Squash and Rice Gratin

One of the things one notices in Morocco is that there are very few dogs running around the streets….

But lots of cats.

And the cats do what cats like to do.

Like climb on stuff,,, and then clean themselves.

They also can be found inside stuff – like planters and boxes and crates. It did seem like planters were a particular favorite… and they don’t mind sharing.

When there are cats meandering about on their own there are going to be kittens. Everyone seems to do their part in taking care of them. The shop keepers put food out, and beds and baskets are in the street for them.

They are gracious in their acceptance of human generosity. This one is contentedly surveying his domain.

7 thoughts on “Butternut Squash and Rice Gratin; Moroccan Cats”

  1. We have a terrible stray cat problem here. Because we’re rural, people who, for whatever reason don’t want their cats anymore, just bring them out this way and dump them. So disheartening. We have a TNR program and people really try to help them, but oh my, there are so many.

    I do turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, kielbasa and sauerkraut, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. All those things people say they hate but somehow, almost completely manage to disappear from my table by the end of the meal

    I think you’re right. Some people just shouldn’t bother with Thanksgiving.

    • I do miss Thanksgiving dinner…. sometimes. It’s too much for just us but I do stuff a chicken or a capon once in awhile. The hubs prefers chicken.
      Andorra does not put down animals so both the French and Spanish use to bring their unwanted pets into the country and dump them That’s how we got Sedi, our German Shepherd / Dob mix. She still had the rope around her neck when she decided to adopt us.She’d chewed herself free.Feral, fertile cats can get to be a problem very quickly – so sad to see it.

  2. Are those cats chewing on the wind shield wipers?! I hope not; I hope not!

    Your butternut squash and rice gratin sounds delicious. It would go very well with green bean casserole. But how on earth could that be one of the most disliked foods? Unless it’s because whoever has made it is just a bad cook and has foolishly used canned green beans and then baked the casserole for as many hours as the turkey.

    I just looked at one of those “most hated Thanksgiving foods” lists and cannot believe that sweet potato is there. Perhaps it’s because of the idiocy of adding marshmallows to it.

    I’m a little surprised that parsnips and Brussels sprouts didn’t make the list. Or are those not traditional Thanksgiving foods in the USA?

    (I am not a fan of turkey and stuffing either. Chicken and stuffing is far superior. And if two or three chickens are roasted for the table, there are fewer arguments about who gets the drumsticks.)

    • Traditional (thus the usual) green bean casserole uses canned green beans, canned mushroom soup and canned fried onions. Any questions?
      Thankfully, my other always simply baked the sweet potatoes, in skins. That marshmallow thing is disgusting.
      Parsnips – never tasted until I moved here and Brussels sprouts – maybe at Christmas, with the ham lol

      • Aside from carrots and sweet potato, parsnips and Brussels sprouts were the only fresh vegetables we had when I was growing up. But the green beans were frozen rather than canned.

        I didn’t even know about the existence of green bean casserole until a few years ago. The first one I had was made from scratch, with fresh green beans, homemade mushroom soup and homemade crispy fried onions. This is probably why I cannot fathom how people could loathe it.

        Ham for Christmas?! What?? 😀

  3. You never had parsnips until you moved there? Parsnip puree is awesome! And they’re great added to mashed potatoes.

    That “bad dates” line is from Raiders of the Lost Ark 😉

    • Fresh vegetables were limited where I grew up. Carrots and rutabagas at the store, other’s from the garden in summer and the rest was cans (peas & carrots a staple). I didn’t have broccoli or cauliflower until I moved to the ‘city’.

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