I prefer my onions well cooked, so I sautéed them prior to adding it to the rice casserole. You can skip this step if you don’t mind slightly more pungent onions.
Prep the rice and squash ahead of time to make this an easy weeknight rice casserole. If you want an extra dose of spice, add some whole cardamom pods, cloves and garlic when you cook the rice.
You could easily brown chicken thighs when cooking the onions and bake them right into this brown rice casserole. Paneer (Indian cheese) is another mix in option.
Don’t have spinach? Other greens like kale or swiss chard can be substituted. Be sure to chop these heartier greens finely so the cook easily. Roasted cauliflower or other winter squash can be used instead of the butternut.
Making chickpeas from scratch? You’ll need 2 cups of cooked chickpeas for this brown rice casserole.