Tender butternut squash and flavorful wild rice are the perfect duo in this creamy, hearty wild rice casserole! The best use for leftover rice and the perfect accompaniment to any holiday dinner.
We’re skipping to the good part of holiday food which obviously means we’re talking about all things SIDES.
I’ve got so many good holiday side dish recipes locked and loaded for you this year and we’re kicking things off with the most incredible wild rice casserole.
With plenty of cheese and butternut squash included so it’s the perfect balance of healthy + indulgent food. You’ve gotta love it.
Best part? It’s the PERFECT use for any leftover rice you might have on hand and includes tons of make ahead options!
The best kind of holiday side dish is one you can prep way ahead of time and not have to worry about until it’s time to reheat it. This wild rice fits the bill!
This Butternut Squash Wild Rice Casserole features…
- A base of tender wild rice and white rice in the creamiest sauce.
- Soft butternut squash cubes.
- A mix of creamy gouda and gruyere cheese baked on top.
Making the Butternut Squash Wild Rice Casserole
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Wild rice
- White or brown rice
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- Butternut squash
- Yellow onion
- Vegetable broth
- Olive oil
- Gruyere cheese
- Gouda cheese
Choosing Your Rice
The best thing about this recipe is that it works great with a variety of different rice!
We love a combination of half wild rice and half short-grain white rice, but you could also use jasmine, brown, or basmati.
You could also use a packaged mix of wild rice with other types of rice. In the end, you will need about 4 cups of cooked rice for this recipe.
Tips for Perfect Wild Rice Casserole
- Pre-cook butternut squash and onion – give the butternut squash and onion a quick roast until almost tender. They’ll continue cooking a bit in the casserole.
- Make sauce for the rice – a quick roux-based sauce with milk and a little vegetable broth provides a perfect creamy element to the wild rice.
- Use leftover rice – we found that leftover instead of freshly-made rice works best in this recipe because leftover tends to be a little drier and less sticky.
You can prep nearly all of this casserole way in advance! Follow these make-ahead instructions…
- Roast vegetables – the butternut squash/onion mixture may be roasted and stored in refrigerator up to 6 days.
- Cook rice – store the rice in refrigerator up to 6 days.
- Assemble entire casserole – the assembled casserole may be stored in refrigerator up to 3 days. When you are ready to bake, add an additional 5-10 minutes to bake time if you are baking it straight from the refrigerator.
Try these twists for a different version of this casserole!
- Make it meaty – shredded rotisserie chicken, cooked bacon, or cubed turkey would be great meaty additions to this casserole.
- Add more veggies – sauteed mushrooms, sweet pepper, or green beans would be a great way to include extra veggies!
- Try a different squash – acorn or delicata squash would both work as a replacement for the butternut.
- Use a different cheese – Parmesan, asiago, havarti, or cheddar would all work great in this recipe.
This casserole is just one of those sides that definitely holds the spotlight on a table full of food! The creamy, cheesy sauce paired with the tender wild rice and butternut squash is absolutely killer.
And alongside a thick slice of turkey or roast beef with some gravy? Holiday food goals.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More killer holiday side dishes to try next!
- Baked French Onion Gnocchi
- Pan Fried Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
- Moroccan Roasted Carrot Apple Salad
Butternut Squash Wild Rice Casserole
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- 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-in cubes
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% or skim milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 2 cups cooked white or brown rice
- 1/2 teaspoon dry sage
- 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
- Additional thyme for topping
- Preheat oven to 400F. Combine squash, onion, olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste on a large sheet pan, tossing until evenly combined. Arrange in a single layer on sheet pan.
- Bake squash and onion at 400F 20-25 minutes until vegetables are almost tender. Leave oven on and set vegetables aside to cool.
- In a large high-walled skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 1 minute until fragrant. Whisk in flour and cook several minutes until golden brown. Slowly begin whisking in milk and vegetable broth, mixing constantly until smooth.
- Bring sauce to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened and bubbly. Fold in roasted squash/onion, wild rice, and white or brown rice until evenly combined. Add sage, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Scrape rice mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish and top with cheeses. Bake casserole at 400F 25-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted. Top casserole with additional thyme and serve warm. Enjoy!