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Black Rice and Butternut Squash Bowls (Meal Prep)

  • Author: Lauren Kenson
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 - 5 bowls 1x
  • Category: Salads + Main Dishes
  • Method: Roasting + Steaming
  • Cuisine: Fusion


Healthy recipe for Black Rice and Butternut Squash Bowls! With dried cranberries, crispy pumpkin seeds, lemony kale, and a creamy cashew dressing. Perfect for weekly meal prep (gluten-free + vegan + vegetarian)!




  • 8 c butternut squash, cubed into ½”-3/4” pieces*
  • 2 ½ tbs avocado oil**
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 1 c forbidden black rice, uncooked
  • 1 ½ c water


  • 78 leaves of lacinato kale***
  • juice of 1 lemon



  • ½ c dried cranberries
  • ¼ c pumpkin seeds


  1. ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Preheat oven to 375 and prep a sheet tray by lining it with foil. Add squash cubes to baking sheet, toss with oil and sprinkle with salt. When oven has reached temperature, pop tray in oven and roast for 45 – 50 min (stirring once halfway through).
  2. COOK RICE: Meanwhile set the rice up to cook on the stove top. Add uncooked rice and water to a saucepot, cover and bring to a boil. Once it has reached a rolling boil, turn down heat and simmer (covered) for 30 minutes or until all water has been absorbed and rice is cooked through.
  3. MASSAGE KALE: While the rice and squash continue to cook, prepare the kale. After washing the leaves, strip each one of the hard center stem. To do this, hold the bottom of the stem in your right hand and use your left hand to lightly grasp around the stem (under your other hand but above where the leafy green part is). While keeping pressure on the stem with your left thumb and index finger, slide your left hand down the stem until you have stripped the leaf off of the stem. Repeat until you have done this for all the leaves (and discard the stems). Chop the kale into thin pieces and add all to a bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over top of kale and *massage* the kale between your hands for 2-3 minutes. Just until the color has darkened and the kale has been tenderized (you’ll notice the scent will change from very green to slightly sweet and fruity). Set aside. If you haven’t already check on butternut squash and stir before moving onto step 4.
  4. MAKE DRESSING: (see other recipe link for instructions on this 5 min recipe)
  5. ASSEMBLE BOWLS: Divide cooked rice, butternut squash, and kale evenly into your meal prep / food storage containers. Last, sprinkle dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds on top of each. Secure lids on top and store in the fridge for up to a week. You can drizzle the dressing on top of each one ahead of time (works fine for the first two days) but for best taste and texture for all 4-5 days, I recommend storing the dressing in a small separate container and using what you need each day.


*About one large butternut squash

**Or other cooking oil of choice – olive oil would be a good substitute.

***Yields about 4 cups, loosely packed. Also called Tuscan or Dino / dinosaur kale


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl