Grain-free Cranberry Pecan Pilaf

Whoop, it’s the last day of the month! I thought this day would never come. Really, I didn’t. After this evening’s hot yin class at Moksha Yoga NDG I will have completed 60 straight days of yoga. Wow, even writing that boggles my mind.

I feel like I’ve gone through a meat grinder and been reassembled on the other side. Sure, my muscles feel raw to the bone, but around day 45 my mind just got so much more clearer. I felt like I had whittled down my ego enough that I could get to the juicy parts of my consciousness and begin to really work on myself. Sort of the way you feel after meditating everyday for awhile – you just have more space.

My intention for the challenge was to fill this new found space with love. Love for my body, my mind, my work, my life, my shortcomings, my strengths, everything. Looking at it now, it could also be interpreted as a celebration of self. And what better way to celebrate than to prepare a bright and colorful, seasonal recipe? Hmm… perhaps a 3 hour massage but we wont go there.

Nothing says snowy, cold weather like a bowl of squash and kale. Gosh, I could live on the stuff during those cold months. They’re just so soothing. Paired with nuts and seeds, a touch of oil and a bunch of yummy veggies and you have yourself a bowl of deliciousness in a snap!

Ah yes, and can’t forget the cranberries. I’ve become infatuated with cranberries these last couple of weeks. Maybe not as much as Sonia is, but I’d be a close second.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Grain-free Cranberry Pecan Pilaf
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Grain-free "rice" mixed with roasted butternut squash and dried cranberries. Perfect as a side dish to any meal or make it the main event by adding grilled chicken, chickpeas or smoked tofu.
Roasted Butternut Squash:
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes - yields approximately 2 cups of cubed squash (to view a tutorial on how to do this, click here)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Everything else:
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 6 pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 10 pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ½ tablespoon pepita seeds
  • 1 batch of homemade Catalina Salad Dressing (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel the squash and cut the flesh cubes. Toss with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until until the tips brown and the pieces are tender but still a bit firm.
  2. When the squash is nearing completion, prepare cauliflower "rice" by cutting the head of cauliflower into florets and pulsing the florets in the bowl of your food processor until broken down into rice-sized pieces. Transfer to a steamer and steam for 2 minutes, until tender. Drain, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Reuse the roasting pan to roast the kale in the preheated oven just 1.5 minutes will do the trick. Add kale to the bowl along with remaining ingredients and catalina dressing. Stir to coat and serve warm.

View nutrition information (once on page, scroll down)

To print, email or text this recipe, click here.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Catalina Salad Dressing
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A sweet salad dressing very similar to French dressing. Made with paprika and red wine vinegar.
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon coconut nectar or honey (no longer vegan if used)
  • Pinch sea salt
  1. Prepare by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and combine until oil is emulsified.

View nutrition information (once on page, scroll down)

I prepared a step by step post on how to peel, cube and roast a butternut squash if you’re new to squash consumption. Word of warning – once you squash you never go back. Have you tried delicata squash? Holy man, is that stuff unreal.

Once your squash is in the oven, it’s time to prep all of the other ingredients and throw it all in a bowl.

When your squash is a couple of minutes from completion, steam your cauliflower rice. I find steaming helps reduce the bloated uncomfortable feeling I get when I eat raw cauliflower. It’s optional, but seeing as this is a warm dish I highly recommend giving it a try!

Some of you have asked how I steam my veggies – I use this steamer insert that’s part of my MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel set. The benefit to stainless steel is that it heats up quickly to cook food faster (maintaining more health benefits) and doesn’t transfer toxins to your food.

Once everything is roasted, heated and ready to go, pour the dressing over top, stir and dig in!

If you want to make this a meal on it’s own, try adding in a bit more protein like cooked beans, grilled chicken, or a bit of hemp seeds. If you’re diggin’ grains, you could replace the cauliflower rice with 1 cup cooked rice or other grain of your choice. Quinoa would be really nice with this, too!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Christmas decorating, baking or shopping perhaps?

I’m so happy that we finished our Christmas decorating last weekend. It’s so festive in the house! To help get us into the Christmas spirit, and continue to tour our new city, Kevin and I plan to visit Laval for the first time and visit Quebec’s largest mall, the flea market, and maybe, just maybe we’ll treat ourselves to dosa on our way home!

Have a beautiful weekend :)

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  1. Wow, what were the odds of me having a cauliflower and half a butternut squash getting stale in the fridge, some kale on the brink of yellow? I made this dish on Saturday for lunch, perfect for an easy meal before dinner with friends.

  2. YES!!! Excited to try this dee-lishus-nus. And…yes, we decorated this weekend…but…ummm…after a day of Christmas tunes, laughs and glittered hair, we sat in bed and winded down as we listened to bells and garlands fall to the floor. Darn cheap tape! lol

    • Ah! Oh man, that is no fun. But hey, you had fun putting it all up, right?

  3. That you have the time/ingenuity/patience to come up with such a gorgeous/noël-hued salad AND be completely DONE with your Christmas decorating as of LAST weekend makes me feel so very BEHIND in my life!!!…Thanks for such a healthy offering to tackle the stress and tasks-at-hand regarding the holidays!!

    • haha don’t feel behind and I’m just so incredibly on it this year… it’s totally strange. I’m usually the one decorating the tree the night before Santa arrives!

  4. What a great way to use cauliflower. Yum will be making this for lunch this week.

  5. I think you must have read my mind when you made this salad. I’ve been eating cranberry sauce by the spoonful, toasting pecans to add to my oatmeal every morning (and evening snacks), and I can never, ever, get enough kale or winter squash. And lest I forget the cauliflower – I’ve included cauliflower in my dinner every night for as long as I can remember, and that’s the truth. This is a wonderful looking bowl of goodness, Leanne. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This sounds like a perfect side dish, Leanne (or, in my case, dinner!) ;-) Gorgeous AND delicious–what a great combination!! And congrats on completing your yoga challenge! :)