This Holiday Wild Rice Pilaf is a perfect side dish for your holiday feast. The wild rice blend, studded with chopped pecans and dried cranberries, is an oil free, easy, one pot dish. It will be a hit at your next dinner party!
I wasn’t setting out to create a side dish of Wild Rice Pilaf when this recipe came to be. It was originally meant to be a stuffing for a Thanksgiving stuffed “turkey” seitan roast. The seitan didn’t turn out quite like I hoped, and still needs some work. So, I wasn’t able to share it this Thanksgiving.
However, I had made a bit more wild rice stuffing than I needed. And when eating the leftover stuffing the following day, I realized that it was a fabulous recipe on its own! This was truly one of those times when one of the best recipes comes as a result of a recipe fail. It’s absolutely delicious!
What exactly is a pilaf? A pilaf is any grain, usually rice, that is cooked in a broth along with other ingredients, resulting in a flavorful grain dish. There are a couple tips which I describe below that help keep the texture of a pilaf fluffy rather than sticky.
This Holiday Wild Rice Pilaf is festive and very easy to make. It’s savory from the vegetable broth, with additional flavor from onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and herbs. The pecans and sweet and chewy dried cranberries added after the rice is cooked add even more flavor and texture interest.
I just know you’re going to love this pilaf! It’s totally worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table, but it’s easy enough to make any day of the week!
How to Make This Holiday Wild Rice Pilaf
Begin by rinsing the rice well. This is necessary to remove the powdery starch on the grains of rice which would result in a sticky pilaf if not rinsed off. Swish the rice around in a bowl of water and then drain it in a fine mesh strainer. Repeat this rinsing process two or three more times, until the water becomes clear. Drain the rice well.
Then sauté the onion and celery in a medium saucepan. Use a bit of water or broth to deglaze the pan if the vegetables start to stick. When the onion is translucent, add in the carrots and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Then add the wild rice blend, vegetable broth and herbs and cook until the rice is done.
Remove the pot from the heat, lift the lid and place a clean dish towel over the pot. Then replace the lid over the towel, and let it stand for about 10 minutes. The towel will absorb the excess moisture, and letting the rice stand allows the starch to firm up and keeps the grains from sticking together. After the 10 minutes have passed, fluff the rice with a fork and add in the pecans and dried cranberries.
If you enjoy this pilaf, you might also enjoy these holiday recipes:
- Vegan Stuffing
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Gravy Recipe
- Sauteed Kale with Garlic & Onions
- Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Instant Pot Maple Glazed Carrots
- Vegan Lentil Loaf
- Cranberry Sauce
For even more great holiday recipe ideas, see my roundup of oil free Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes.
Are you new to oil free cooking? Check out my Oil Free Cooking Tips to learn more about oil free baking, roasting, sauteing, and more!
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Holiday Wild Rice Pilaf
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 carrot grated
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon sage
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Rinse the rice well, until the rinse water is clear. Drain it well in a fine mesh strainer.
- In a 1 quart saucepan, sauté the onions and celery until the onion is translucent. Add small amounts of water or broth to deglaze the pan, if the vegetables start to stick.
- Add the carrots and garlic, and sauté for about one more minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the rice, broth, herbs and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the burner, lift the lid, and cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel. Then replace the lid over the towel. Let the rice stand for about 10 minutes. The towel will absorb the excess moisture.
- After 10 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork, and add in the chopped pecans and dried cranberries.
Nutrition calculations are approximate.