This rice pilaf is made with a wild rice blend, apples, dried cranberries, pecans and fresh herbs. It’s a colorful and hearty addition to any meal and is perfect for the holidays.
When it comes to the holidays, I am all about the side dishes. Some of our favorites include sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and honey roasted carrots. This wild rice pilaf is also on my must-make list, it’s perfectly sweet and savory and is so festive. It also makes for a great vegetarian main course.
There’s nothing like a good rice pilaf, and this version happens to be my favorite. It’s loaded with sweet and savory ingredients and is full of different flavors and textures. I could make a whole meal out of this rice! It’s a great option for the holidays, especially if you have vegetarians in your family.
How do you make rice pilaf?
This recipe calls for wild rice, which is hearty and flavorful, but does take some time to cook. While the rice is simmering away, I prepare the rest of the ingredients which include sauteed onions and apples, dried cranberries, pecans and fresh herbs. Toss everything together and you’re got one amazing dish.
What is rice pilaf?
The most basic definition of rice pilaf is rice cooked in a seasoned broth. Rice pilaf often contains other ingredients such as vegetables, herbs, fruits and nuts. This is a fall version of rice pilaf which is why I’ve included ingredients like cranberries and apples.
What is the best rice to use for rice pilaf?
I’ve used a wild rice blend here, which is a combination of brown rice, wild rice, red rice and black rice all in one bag. You can also use regular brown rice if you prefer.
Tips for rice pilaf
- You can make this dish vegan by substituting olive oil for butter.
- I use a blend of fresh rosemary and parsley in this pilaf, but other great options would be sage or thyme.
- I went with Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape and don’t get mushy in the pilaf. You could also try a Gala or Honeycrisp Apple.
- No pecans in the house? Try walnuts instead. No cranberries? Dried cherries also work great.
- You can make this rice pilaf up to a day in advance. Cover it and store in the fridge, then reheat in a pan over low heat. You may need to add a little more butter when you reheat the rice if the mixture seems dry from being in the fridge.
What to serve with rice pilaf
I typically serve this rice pilaf as a side dish, although as I mentioned before, it’s definitely hearty enough for a main course. Rice pilaf pairs perfectly with
- Herb Roasted Turkey
- Crock Pot Ham
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin
This wild rice dish has it all, and it’s sure to get rave reviews from family and friends. It’s so full of color that it’s almost too pretty to eat!
Rice Pilaf Video
Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup onion finely diced
- 2 Granny Smith apples finely diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the wild rice blend and chicken broth in a pot. Cook the rice according to package directions.
- While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the apples and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until softened.
- Pour the cooked rice into the pan with the onions and apples, then stir to combine.
- Add the dried cranberries, pecans, rosemary and parsley to the pan. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve.
Absolutely delicious. Many potential uses such as stuffing in a chicken breast or pork chop. No additional salt needed when cooking the rice in chicken broth.
I added left over chopped turkey and made it a meal. What a great recipe!
Can this recipe be served cold or at room temperature? Could you substitute cashew nuts for the pecans or walnuts?
Room temperature would work, and you can use any nuts you like!
This rice salad is so delicious! I serve it now all year long. We especially enjoy it with your salmon recipe!