Last Thanksgiving I made the most amazing Wild Rice Pilaf that I then stuffed inside roasted acorn squash as a sort of vegetarian main dish recipe idea. It was beautiful and delicious, but I can’t lie, I kind of just wanted to devour that wild rice pilaf by itself! It was so tasty on its own, had so much color, so much texture, that I knew I had to post it as a stand-alone recipe. This pilaf is really delicious and I know I’m going to be making it on repeat every fall and winter from here on out!
What’s in Wild Rice Pilaf
This delicious pilaf starts with rice cooked in vegetable broth for extra flavor. While the rice cooks, aromatics like onion, celery, and apples are sautéed in butter until tender. Next comes the cozy mix of seasonings including sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Once the cooked rice is combined with the aromatics and herbs, it’s finished off with a little extra flavor and texture from walnuts, dried cranberries, and parsley. So much fall flavor in every bite!
What is “Wild Rice Blend”?
I used a bagged “wild rice blend” as the base for this recipe. It’s a colorful blend of different varieties of rice, including wild rice. I used Lundberg brand, which you can find in many major grocery stores, but I was also pleasantly surprised to see ALDI had its own version this year (check the step by step photos below the recipe to see a photo). You can use any brand rice blend for this recipe, just follow the cooking instructions on the package and replace the water with vegetable broth.
What to Serve with Wild Rice Pilaf
This pilaf is the perfect side dish to any roasted meat. I especially like this in the fall and winter months, since it highlights flavors of the season like apples, walnuts, and cranberries. Try serving it alongside Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Cider Roasted Turkey Breast, Apple Spice Pork Chops, or Herb Roasted Chicken Breast. Or, of course, you could serve it as I originally did inside a roasted acorn squash!
Wild Rice Pilaf
- 1/2 cup wild rice blend* ($0.07)
- 1 cup vegetable broth ($0.13)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.22)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.28)
- 3 ribs celery ($0.64)
- 1 apple ($0.41)
- 1/2 tsp dried sage ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts ($0.30)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries ($0.44)
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley ($0.10)
- Add the wild rice blend and vegetable broth to a saucepot. Place a lid on top and turn the heat on to medium-high. Allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or for the amount of time directed on the package.*
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the pilaf. Dice the onion, celery, and apple.
- Add the onion to a large skillet with the butter and sauté over medium heat until softened.
- Add the apples, celery, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper to the skillet with the onions and continue to sauté for about five minutes more, or just until the apples and celery begin to soften (they should still have some bite).
- When the rice has finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the apples, celery, and onion. Also add the chopped walnuts, cranberries, and chopped parsley. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
- Taste the pilaf and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking. Serve hot.
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How to Make Wild Rice Pilaf – Step by Step Photos
I used the Lundberg wild rice blend on the left since I actually still had some leftover from last year, but I bought some of the ALDI wild rice blend on the right just to show you another option. Whatever brand you use, make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the back but substitute vegetable broth for the water it recommends. Cooking time can vary depending on the brand.
Add ½ cup of the wild rice blend to a small sauce pot with 1 cup vegetable broth. Place a lid on the pot and heat over medium-high. Allow it to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 45 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the pilaf. Dice one yellow onion, 3 ribs of celery, and one apple.
Add the diced onion to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the onion has softened.
Add the chopped apples and celery to the skillet along with ½ tsp dried sage, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Continue to sauté over medium until the apples and celery just begin to soften.
When the rice has finished cooking, add it to the skillet along with ¼ cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup dried cranberries, and a tablespoon of chopped parsley.
Fold the ingredients together until everything is combined. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Serve hot!