Spanish Butternut Squash “Rice” with Ham

gluten freemeat & poultrypaleo
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Okay, I’m officially obsessed with my Inspiralized rice. And so is Lu. The other night, it was an end-of-the-week, “what can we pull together for dinner?” sort of night. The fridge was looking bare (well, bare for me!), but I had plenty of spiralize-able veggies, including butternut squash.

I saw chorizo, olives and half a yellow onion and offered to make “Spanish Butternut Squash Rice with Chorizo.” Totally up Lu’s Latin-American alley- plus, as of late, he thinks my Inspiralized rice is “revolutionary.” Actually, he told me that it’s even more mind-blowing than zucchini noodles. I don’t know if I buy that, but I’m definitely going to post up more Inspiralized rice recipes, since they are just that good.

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While you could swap in chorizo for the ham here, I think the ham is easier, because it doesn’t need any additional cooking – just heat it up with the rice in the pan and it’s a quicker, easier meal! 

These one pot dishes are ideal for those of you with small kitchens or limited countertop space. Literally, you just keep adding spices and ingredients into a saucepan or skillet, and you’ve got yourself a n impressive, healthy, low-cal and low-carb meal – in minutes

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The Adobo spices in this really give this dish an authenticity and the manzanilla olives add a saltiness that complements the simple taste of the butternut squash. The chicken broth brings everything together, not only adding a fragrance to the dish, but creating a creamy consistency as the squash absorbs the broth and it reduces. 

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If you’re a vegetarian, easily swap in vegetable broth and replace the ham with pinto beans

Since peeling butternut squash takes a little extra time (it’s a tough veggie to peel!), I recommend doing that early in the day (or even on a Sunday night), in preparation to make this recipe. Or, you can make the actual rice and place it in a plastic bag or container for the week. So much easier than 30-40 minutes of making rice! 

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I’m happy to have this healthy alternative to rice, because, in all honesty, I always mess up rice! Actually, my mother introduced me to the quick 60-second individual cups of brown rices during college, and they were a dream.

The consistency of this Inspiralized Rice is crazy similar to regular rice – just a quarter of the calories and carbs! Plus, it doesn’t require waiting for water to boil, rice cookers or anything fancy like that. 

New Post! Blueberry coconut chia pudding --> …

What do you think of this rice? Have you tried it yet? What’s your favorite rice dish?


Spanish Butternut Squash “Rice” with Ham

Yields 4

20 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, Blade C
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1.5-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pinch of saffron leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped manzanilla olives
  • 1/2 cup cubed ham
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth, low-sodium


  1. Take the butternut squash noodles and place them in a food processor. Pulse until chopped into small rice-like bits. This may take many batches (you don't want to crowd the food processor). When done, set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, add in the olive oil. Once the oil heats, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Let cook for 30 seconds and then add in the onion. Cook the onion for 2 minutes or until it begins to soften.
  3. Add in the butternut squash "rice," Adobo, tomato paste, saffron and season with salt and pepper. Stir continuously until tomato paste soaks into the rice. Then, add in the olives and ham. Stir to combine and then add in the 1 cup of the chicken broth.
  4. Stir the mixture and let chicken broth cook and reduce. Once reduced, add in another 1/2 cup. Once that 1/2 cup reduces, taste to see if the consistency is right (should be slightly soft yet still firm). If it needs to cook longer, add 1/4 cup more of broth.
  5. Once done, divide into four bowls and enjoy!

New Post! Blueberry coconut chia pudding --> …

New Post! Blueberry coconut chia pudding --> …

New Post! Blueberry coconut chia pudding --> …

New Post! Blueberry coconut chia pudding --> …

New Post! Blueberry coconut chia pudding --> …


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Jill Ferguson says:
I didn't have any butternut squash so used sweet potato....also threw in some roasted tomatoes instead of the paste, had it for breakfast and it was a "party in m mouth"...thanks so much for this wonderful recipe. Can't wait to try it with the squash!!
あけまして おめでとうございます!!! This is what Japanese is should be between the New Year. Holidays in Japan. On the morning of the New Year’s day, the whole family get together and wish one another good health and to celebrate the coming of a new year by drinking a special kind of rice wine called "otoso". The dishes,we prepare for the NewYear’sholidaysarecalled "osechi". Most Japanese visit Shinto shrines or Buddist temples. We pray to the deities that we will live safely through the coming year. These New Year visits to shrines and temples are called "hatsumode". We, adults give "otoshidama-a" New Year’s present- to children. In most cases, it’s money. This is thought as a gift from the gods to encourage children to do their best. いつも ありがとう。感謝!!! Ryoma
Carly says:
Your recipes are really great. Truly. But, please stop with all the bolding/highlighting of words when you write. Please. It's too much. And distracting.
Joanne says:
I am seriously not good at rice either, so I'm loving this butternut-full alternative!! I would definitely be happy eating a big bowl of this.
Nigel Peters says:
Thought this idea was genius since your PARMESAN SQUASH RICE RISOTTO recipe. Have you tried to make zucchini more "rice" like?
Nigel - unfortunately, zucchini has too high of a water content, it isn't as effective! I'm glad you like the recipe :)
Wow! This looks so good! Your photography is beautiful, by the way. You should write a post on how you photograph your food.
Sarah - thanks so much! I've actually done that:
Anonymous says:
I would like to request photos of the cooking process. I made this last night but misunderstood something. I realized I had no idea at each step in the process if I was on track or not. You've got a lot of great photos of the finished product, but it would be nice to see the steps along the way. Also, a few more details in the recipe listing would be great. For example, I added 1/2c of broth, but it in no way covered all of the squash. That's when I realized I had no idea how this was supposed to play out. In real rice it needs to be covered to soak & plump up. But I had added 1/2 cup of liquid to maybe 3 cups of squash? Was that the right ratio? How is it supposed to look? How much time does it take to absorb the liquid? Details like this really help. Finally, I would love some nutritional value. I believe that butternut squash is healthier than rice... but some stats would be helpful. Especially since some squashes/veggies seem like they may be high in carbs themselves. A potato for sure, right? Anyway, a few more details would really be helpful! Thanks!
Sorry to hear that you found it difficult! I will try to do more process shoots moving forward! Thanks for the suggestions.
Elyse says:
What is Adobo seasoning? thanks xx
You can purchase it in a supermarket - it's a spanish seasoning!
Jo Anna says:
The instructions call for adding red pepper flakes in a step but they're not listed in the ingredients. Am making this lovely dish now (veganizing it) and will be conservative with red pepper flakes, but you'll want to edit the recipe.
Jo Anna says:
Made it with Lightlife veggie ham and Not Chick'n broth, and let it rest for a while so flavors could develop. Very nice, and will make it again!
Ann says:
I haven't been able to spiralize butternut squash. Too hard. Read somewhere it needs to be cooked before hand, which makes a lot of sense to me. Not sure for how long since it's a cylindrical piece roughly 4 or 5 inches long. Any suggestions? Thanks
IT doesn't need to be cooked beforehand! Watch my YouTube videos for instructional videos!
Kelli Barr says:
I have the 4-blade spiralizer and made this tonight. I had to quarter my (large) butternut squash to get it to spiralize in the 4-blade because it doesn't do large veggies as well as the tri-blade. So if you have a 4-blade, cut it into smaller pieces and it works great!!!
Kelli Barr says:
I made this tonight - it was awesome! The husband went back for more, which is rare. I'm hoping that there are still two portions for tomorrow - will try to reheat in the microwave or the oven - has anyone reheated this? I followed the instructions exactly, and it was awesome. Husband wants me to add green peppers or spicy peppers next time, which I'll add with the onions. So far, Ali, all your recipes are winners! THANK YOU!!!

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I have nothing prolific to say today (I’ve just been madly testing recipes for this project I’ll be announcing soon) except that today was the first day in my life that I actually enjoyed sliced tomatoes on a sandwich. 🍅 🍞⁣

I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes, except in something subtle like a pico de gallo or if they’re a tiny part of a meal, like a garnish. but today, I made this chickpea tuna salad melt with tomatoes and spinach and LOVED it. 👍🏼⁣

it got me thinking… I can’t be the only one. do you like raw tomatoes? 🤔

luca made a friend today! 👦🏼 🚴‍♂️⁣

one of the things that has made me sad during COVID has been that Luca hasn't spent much time with other kids his age. this summer, we had a little pod of a few kids, but slowly but surely, as the year went on, kids moved to the suburbs, enrolled in school (we didn't feel comfortable), and then as the temperature dropped, the rest of the kids stopped braving the cold and since we felt uncomfortable with indoor playdates, it was really just our little family hanging out. and Luca wasn't hanging out with anyone his age much. ⁣

I have so many thoughts on this. will this change his personality and social skills forever? will he be socially awkward? will he lose out on so many developmental milestones? will this affect his emotional awareness? the list goes on. I know it's only a year or so, but that's over 1/3 of his entire life!⁣

and now that we're in Florida, we just keep to ourselves at my parents' house and don't see any other kids. it's so nice to be together as a family, and I know so many families can't be together right now, so I'm so grateful for that. the other day, Luca saw a 7-year-old boy on a bike in my parents' neighborhood and he asked us if he could be his friend. I almost broke down in tears.⁣

so by chance, we were out on his bike this afternoon and sure enough, we saw the little boy again, riding his bike, with his mother. in that moment, I knew I had to make a move - so I called out to the mother and asked her, "I know this is going to sound weird, but my son would love to hang out with your son! I'd love to get your number so they can ride bikes together sometime!" I was so nervous, haha! ⁣

and just like that, Luca made a friend! they immediately started riding their bikes together (it was so cute I couldn't handle it!!!) and Roma even came a little bit later and literally slipped her hand into the little boy's hand, it was like she was starving for that connection. it was so adorable, and I'm so happy for Luca to have someone to safely play outside with and so I can shed some of this mama worry.⁣

as for these chocolate donuts, search the blog, they’re an oldie but a goodie! 🍩🍫

it's a mouthful, but it's mouth-watering. 👅 my TERIYAKI SALMON with RICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH and SESAME BROCCOLI 🥦  is live on the blog, and it's another must-add to your weekly meal plan. okay I say that all the time, but seriously - I'm only sharing recipes I make for our family, and these have all been slam dunks 🏀⁣

and last week I started the #inspiralizedmealplanideas hashtag so we'd have a running list of weekly meal ideas from this community, and it's a Monday thing, so tell me - what's ONE meal you're making this week? 🍴 leave it in the comments below and be sure to check back to see what other people are making and even SAVE this post for future reference! 📌⁣

#teriyaki #easydinners #healthydinners #salmondinner #salmonrecipes #feedfeed #f52grams #huffposttaste #thewayweeat #makemewhole #eatingwelleats #foods4thought #thekitchn #eatmoreveggies