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This Wild Rice Pilaf Stuffing is an amazing side dish recipe that’s easy to make, delicious, and full of texture and flavor. A hearty and filling vegetarian or vegan meal option to be enjoyed for a meatless meal.

wild rice stuffing with squash, walnuts, and cranberries, on a square white plate
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Here is a Vegan-friendly Wild rice stuffing recipe you can make that everyone can enjoy without all the fillers. An easy side dish recipe that’s colorful, healthy, full of flavor, and a perfect holiday side dish or stuffing recipe. The dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness to this wild rice Pilaf.

The texture is also just perfect from the crunchy texture of the walnuts to the soft texture of the roasted butternut squash and onions. You may enjoy this wild rice recipe as is as a meatless meal or you may have it as one of your holiday side dishes or main dish.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Packed with flavor! Rice has never tasted so good, sweet cranberries marry up with creamy squash and crunchy walnuts, all nesting in a bed of wild rice -yum!
  • A hearty side or a tasty main. This is a filling side dish but can also be a substantial main, it will satisfy vegetarians and omnivores alike!
  • A perfect holiday side. This rice dish is colorful, bursting with cranberries, autumn squash, and warming spices. It’s a great Thanksgiving side dish.
close up of a healthy wild rice pilaf with squash and walnuts on a white plate

ingredients you will need

  • Veggies: Onion and butternut squash.
  • Spices: Ground clove and cinnamon.
  • Rice: Mixed wild rice blend and basmati rice.
  • Stock: Chicken broth or vegetable broth. Use vegetable broth for a vegan-option.
  • Walnuts: Raw, or you may use almonds or other nuts of your choice like chopped pecans.
  • Cranberries: use dried or you may swap this with raisins
  • Olive Oil: or use avocado oil
  • Parsley: Fresh is best for taste and a pop of color. or top it with some fresh herbs
  • Salt and Pepper

How to make Wild Rice Stuffing

Heat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the squash and onion to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper, then thoroughly mix to coat.

chopped butternut squash and onions with herbs in a bowl

Bake for 20 minutes, tossing once around the 10-minute mark. Add in the walnuts and continue baking for 5 minutes more, or until walnuts are golden and squash starts to show charred bits at the tips and edges. While the veggies are roasting, cook rice.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add rice and broth, season with some salt and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Stir well and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

rice and squash mix with onions, walnut and raisins placed on a sheet pan with blue spoon on pan

When veggies are done, allow to chill, then spread the cooked rice onto the tray with roasted veggies and sprinkle with cranberries. Mix well to combine.

Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle generously with fresh chopped parsley.

sheet pan with rice stuffing on pan and a blue plastic spoon in the rice stuffing

Wild Rice Nutrition

Wild rice is recognized as whole grain and contains about three times more fiber and significantly more protein than white rice, making it a more filling choice.

One cup of raw wild rice contains 571 calories, 1.7g of fat, 120g of total carbs, and 24g of protein. Alternatively, one cup of cooked wild rice has 166 calories, 35g of total carbs, 7g of protein, and 0.6g of fat.

Frequently asked questions

What is wild rice?

Even though it is called wild “rice”. It is not rice and it is the seed of an aquatic grass that resembles rice. They have a strong nutty and earthy flavor, with a chewy texture, and are pricier than rice. They are high in protein, fiber, and nutrients. It is a type of grain that will take about 45-60 minutes to cook, so it is best to cook them in large batches and then freeze some for later use.

How long to cook wild rice?

Wild rice is naturally gluten-free. They are sometimes mixed in with other types of rice so make sure to check the packaging to make sure other ingredients added do not contain wheat or gluten.

Is wild rice gluten-free?

Wild rice is naturally gluten-free. They are sometimes mixed in with other types of rice so make sure to check the packaging to make sure other ingredients added do not contain wheat or gluten.

Is wild rice a grain?

Wild rice is a type of grain and not rice. Derived from the seed of aquatic grass, there are 4 different species of wild rice. 3 of which are found in North America where they are harvested as grain, Whereas the fourth type is found in Asia and is harvested as a vegetable.

close up rice and butternut squash stuffing on a plate with walnuts and and dried cranberries

How to cook wild rice

For every one cup of wild rice, you will need 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. You may also just follow the package directions.

  • Rinse the wild rice with cold water.
  • Place in a saucepan with water and salt and bring to boil over high heat
  • Cover the pan and lower the heat to a low setting
  • Allow it to slowly cook and simmer for 40-60 minutes.
  • Rice cracks open and curls when fully cooked
  • Strain the rice and fluff before serving.
stuffing made with wild rice, butternut squash, cranberries, walnuts, on a plate

Wild rice water ratio

For every one cup of raw wild rice, you will need 3 cups of water. Wild rice takes much longer to cook so you need to give it enough water and time to cook slowly. Also, if you are ever unsure follow the package directions in the back.

Wild rice benefits

We will talk about a few basic benefits of wild rice.

  • They are high in antioxidants, which may help prevent or reduce the risk of diseases.
  • High in fiber and protein
  • Consuming 6 servings of grains per week may help reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Improves blood sugar levels, which helps reduce the risk of getting type-2 diabetes
side shot of rice stuffing on a plate with butternut squash, walnuts, and craisins

recipe notes and tips

  • Use a wild rice blend that includes several varieties of rice. This allows the dish to have a texture balance of fluffiness, tenderness, and a slight chewiness. Rinse the rice well.
  • Since there are different brands of wild rice blends, be sure to cook according to your package instructions, veering towards the tender side. If the rice seems a bit too firm after cooking, mix in just enough extra broth to moisten all the rice and cover/simmer for 10 more minutes or until tender but not overly cooked.
  • Add some freshly shaved Brussels sprouts to this rice pilaf recipe; you can use a bag of pre-shaved fresh Brussels sprouts if your grocery store carries it. If not, it’s simple to slice your own.
  • If reheating after a night in the fridge, sprinkle with a bit of broth evenly over the top just prior to reheating, which ensures that rice stays moist.
  • You can store this wild rice pilaf covered in your refrigerator for up to a day, just heat it through when ready to serve.
close view of rice stuffing with diced butternut squash and craisins

More side dish recipes

side view of a white plate with wild rice and butternut squash stuffing

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Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe

By: Rena
Servings: 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
squash and rice stuffing
Easy and tasty holiday stuffing made with wild rice, butternut squash, walnuts, and cranberries. Perfect for any occasion and serves as a perfect side dish recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Butternut Squash, one-half butternut squash
  • 1 Large White Onion, diced
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Clove
  • 1 Cup Mixed Wild and basmati rice
  • 2 Cups Vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the squash and onion to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper, then thoroughly mix to coat.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, tossing once around the 10-minute mark. Add in the walnuts and continue baking for 5 minutes more, or until the walnuts are golden and the squash starts to show charred bits at the tips and edges.
  • While the veggies are roasting, cook rice. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add rice and broth, season with some salt, and add the remaining tablespoon of oil.
  • Stir well and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Allow it to chill until the veggies are done.
  • Spread the cooked rice onto the tray with roasted veggies and sprinkle with cranberries. Mix well to combine.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle generously with fresh chopped parsley.

Notes

For storage:
  • You can store it covered in your refrigerator for up to 2 days, just heat through when ready to serve.
  • Use a wild rice blend that includes several varieties of rice. This allows the dish to have a texture balance of fluffiness, tenderness, and a slight chewiness.
  • Since there are different brands of wild rice blends, be sure to cook according to your package instructions, veering towards the tender side. If the rice seems a bit too firm after cooking, mix in just enough extra broth to moisten all the rice and cover/simmer for 10 more minutes or until tender but not overly cooked.
  • Add some freshly shaved Brussels sprouts in this rice pilaf recipe; you can use a bag of pre-shaved fresh Brussels sprouts if your grocery store carries it. If not, it’s simple to slice your own.
  • If reheating after a night in the fridge, sprinkle with a bit of broth evenly over the top just before reheating, which ensures that rice stays moist.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 8gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 321mgPotassium: 472mgFiber: 6gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 6923IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

Author

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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