Wild Rice Pilaf or Stuffing



Again I bring you an idea that is not new but is always worth revisiting.  This is a great fall dish and could be an alternative side at the Thanksgiving table—sweet and savory, hearty and warming, I think you’ll enjoy it.


Wild rice, an aquatic-grass seed native to the Upper Midwest and Canada, sacred to our First Nations cousins, is only distantly related to Asian rice.  It’s high in protein, lysine, fiber, B vitamins and other minerals, and is extremely forgiving when it comes to cooking.  Sometimes I don’t even measure wild rice, I just simmer it in water until it’s done then drain in a colander!



With this dish I often use both wild rice and Asian rice—either white, red or brown.  I like to use long grain white Basmati because it lightens up the pilaf but brown rice would make it heartier.  These Asian rices, however, are not high on the cooking-forgiveness scale.  Because of that, and because wild rice takes longer, I always cook the rices separately.


Long grain rice or short grain rice?

Long grain Asian rices (brown or white) will separate and are easier to ‘fluff’.  Medium and short grains tend to be more sticky and wet.  It all depends what you are looking for—when I make this as a pilaf I use the long grain white rice, when I want it to hold together and be more like ‘stuffing’ I use short grain brown rice.



Just for fun…here are a few gluten-free Thanksgiving recipe links I found through Huffington Post:

How to Carve a Turkey from Huffington Post

Gluten Free Soft Dinner Rolls from Simply Gluten Free

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust (gluten free!) by Cooking on the Weekends

Green Bean Casserole with Caramelized Onion Breadcrumbs (easily converted to gluten free) by Recipe Girl


Happy Thanksgiving! 



I rarely measure when I make this—there is a lot of freedom of what can be added.  This version is heavy on the poultry herbs, but you can take it other directions.  This is a large-ish batch for a group—yielding around 9 cups.


Wild Rice Pilaf or Stuffing

Prep Time:   15-20 minutes   Cook Time:  45 minutes

Combine in a heavy saucepan:

1 cup Wild Rice, uncooked—-yields a little over 3 cups cooked

4 cups Water or Stock

1/2 teaspoon Salt

Cover and simmer until rice is cooked, 35-45 minutes.

When the kernels have popped open, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Drain off any excess liquid. 


In a separate sauce pan, heat:

1 1/2 cups Water or Stock—-or 2 cups water if you are making brown rice

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Canola Oil

Cover and let it come to a boil. 

When it comes to a boil, add:

1 cup White Rice (same measurement for Brown Rice)—-yields approximately 3 cups

Replace the lid.  When the water begins to simmer again, turn down the heat to the lowest setting.

Let cook and   Do.   Not.   Stir.   (white Rice 20 minutes, Brown Rice 40 minutes)

When the rice is done turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. 


While the rices are cooking, saute in a pan:

Olive Oil, Canola Oil or Butter

1 small Onion or Leek, small diced

1 Carrot, small diced

3-4 stalks Celery, small diced

1-2 cups Mushrooms, sliced (optional…since many people are squeamish about mushrooms)

Saute 5 minutes or until the carrots are beginning to soften.

Then stir in:

1/2 cup Stock or Water

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

1 Apple, small diced

1/2 cup Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds or Blanched Almonds

1 teaspoon Sage, dried (more if using fresh)

1 teaspoon Rosemary, dried (more if using fresh)

1/2 teaspoon Thyme (more if using fresh)

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg, grated or ground

Dash of Clove, ground

Salt and Pepper

Remove from heat and add:

1 bunch Fresh Parsley, chopped

Dash of Lemon Juice

Combine the sauteed vegetables with the two cooked rices and mix thoroughly. 

Taste and adjust.

If needed, cover and keep warm in a low oven. 

Serving suggestions:

  • In half of a cooked acorn squash with Pomegranite seeds sprinkled on top
  • A side dish with venison
  • As a side dish with a turkey holiday meal
  • With cooked ground turkey or sausage chopped into it
  • Stuffed into turkey as a stuffing


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