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Wild and Brown Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries

Wild and Brown Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries

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  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled carrot
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sauté 5 minutes. Add ginger, curry powder, cumin, and garlic; stir 1 minute. Stir in squash and next 4 ingredients. Add 3 3/4 cups water and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cranberries. Cover; let stand until cranberries soften, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap; rewarm in microwave.

Reviews Section

With Thanksgiving upon us, I wanted to combine my two favorite loves – wild rice and butternut squash, to bring you an epic Wild Rice Recipe that still has me drooling.

The wild rice is rich and nutty, the salt and pepper squash is melt-in-your mouth savory, the dried cranberries add pockets of sweetness, the pomegranate seeds add pops of sweet tart crunch, the almonds add bursts of nutty crunch and the feta add a creamy, salty tang. It is a perfectly balanced dance of complimentary flavors and textures – a dance you will savor long after the last bite.

This Wild Rice recipe is delicious served hot off the stove but also fabulous at room temperature and equally delicious the next day, making it fabulous for your holiday table. Although this Wild Rice recipe is loaded with fixings and looks gourmet (more like a wild rice salad), it is super simple to make with very little hands on time.

Spiced Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries

For a delicious rice side dish this holiday season, why not try spiced wild rice pilaf with butternut squash and dried cranberries? This tasty dish calls for fresh ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cranberries and more flavorful ingredients.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 / 2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups 3/4 inch cubes, peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound cubes)
  • 1 cup wildrice
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 sweet apple, peeled, cored, diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Cape Cod Cranberries
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Heat oil, onion and carrot in a deep skillet or saucepan with lid. Cook and stir over medium heat 5 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add ginger, curry powder, cumin and garlic cook and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add squash, rices, apple, cinnamon stick and broth. Bring to a boil cover, reduce heat and simmer until rices are tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Add cranberries. Let stand 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead and held uncovered at room temperature. To serve, cover lightly and reheat in microwave.)
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Spiced Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash & Dried Cranberries

Try this delicious and healthy vegan side dish recipe — perfect for any holiday meal! Since this recipe takes just under an hour to prepare, we recommend making it ahead of time!

Spiced Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash & Dried Cranberries


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups 3/4-inch cubes, peeled butternut squash (about 1 lb. cubes)
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 sweet apple, peeled, cored, diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Cape Cod Cranberries
  • salt and pepper
    1. Heat oil, onion and carrot in a deep skillet or saucepan with lid. Cook and stir over medium heat 5 minutes or until softened.
    2. Add ginger, curry powder, cumin and garlic cook and stir for 1 minute.
    3. Add squash, rices, apple, cinnamon stick and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Let stand 10 minutes.
    5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Nutrients per Serving: Calories 300 Protein 6g Fat 5g (Sat. Fat 0.5g) Carbohydrate 57g Dietary Fiber 5g Cholesterol 5mg Sodium 460mg

    Wild Rice Butternut and Pecan Pilaf

    1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 teaspoons maple syrup
    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/3 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley

    Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick oil spray.

    To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    To make the pilaf: In a medium bowl, combine the butternut squash with the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg, and toss to coat. Drain the squash from the excess liquid and transfer to the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss with a spatula and return to the hot oven for an additional 15 minutes.

    During the last 10 minutes of roasting, add the pecans to the baking sheet with the squash.

    In a large bowl, combine the cooked wild rice, dried cranberries, parsley, squash and pecan mixture, and dressing. Toss to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Wild and Brown Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries - Recipes

    This colorful rice pilaf with butternut squash, cranberries and pecans is perfect for a vegan Thanksgiving. With lemon and orange juices, fresh ginger and spices, the dressing provides a shock of flavor.

    Even better, this pilaf is 100% guilt-free. Wild rice (which is actually a grass) is vegan, gluten free, high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

    I prefer this served as a warm pilaf, although it also makes a delicious salad if you want to prepare it in advance.

    Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

    • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
    • 2 cups wild rice, rinsed
    • 6 cups vegetable stock (or half water, half stock)
    • 1 medium, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup warm water
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on two baking sheets. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes (check earlier if your pieces are very small).
    3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
    4. Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the warm water and vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain.
    5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, orange juice, lemon juice and fresh ginger.
    6. Place the wild rice and stock in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until some of the grains start to split. The rice should still be quite chewy. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.
    7. Add the onions and garlic, cranberries, parsley, pecans and dressing to the wild rice and stir. Gently mix in the roasted squash. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
    Cathy Elton
    Cathy is a Brooklyn-based food blogger who focuses specifically on heart-healthy food. A long-time foodie, she suddenly learned that she has hereditary heart disease. But she turned her health issue into a cooking challenge, and developed a heart-healthy, vegetarian cooking style that’s spicy, satisfying and adventurous. Cathy is on a mission to inspire others to eat the way she does, and shares her recipes on What Would Cathy Eat?

    Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf

    I am slightly giddy over this festive recipe. Once you make it, you’ll completely understand my slight obsession. When I stock up on my favorite whole grains is often when I toss this lustrous dish together. There’s no learning curve to learning how to cook wild rice. Super easy and delicious.

    Just like my Brown Rice Porcini Mushroom Risotto and Warm Farro Panzanella Salad , this rice pilaf with vegetables is pure perfection as a dinner or a side dish . Seriously, the best of both worlds and the tastiest leftovers. Can you even fathom that it’s a one-pot meal too?!

    You can also enjoy this dish cold, warm, or straight out of the pan when it’s piping hot. For me, this depends on the season. I tend to eat it hotter when it’s colder out and vice versa.

    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1/2 cup diced onion
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
    • 1 cup brown rice
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
    • 3 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
    • 2 T chopped parsley
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • salt and pepper to taste

    In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes until soft. Add almonds and cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Add rice, cumin, and oregano and stir to coat.

    Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes. Add squash. Continue cooking for 15 - 20 minutes or until rice is completely cooked and squash is tender. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and cranberries. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    I made a double recipe of this dish and it made so much that it wouldn&rsquot all fit into the serving bowl. We don&rsquot mind leftovers, so when I cook, I like to make a lot at one time. Doubling the recipe did mean that the rice and squash both took longer to cook than the recipe below states. If you double the recipe, you may also find that you need an extra cup of chicken broth.

    The first time I had this dish was when my mom served it at Thanksgiving in 2005. It&rsquos a different from traditional Thanksgiving sides and it looks in a serving dish with orange chunks of butternut squash, burgundy dried cranberries, and a hint of green from the chopped parsley.

    If you are looking for a healthy side dish to serve this fall or for Thanksgiving, give Butternut Squash Rice Pilaf a try.

    Special Diet Notes: Autumn Wild Rice Pilaf

    By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / n0n-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.

    • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • ¾ cup wild rice, rinsed
    • 1 cup black rice, rinsed (can sub brown rice)
    • 2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil or pecan oil
    • ½ large sweet onion, diced
    • 2 cups diced butternut squash
    • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and diced , to taste
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¾ cup chopped pecans
    • ⅓ cup dried currants
    1. Put the stock, water, 1 teaspoon salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add the rice and bring it back to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and half cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.
    2. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes.
    3. Add the butternut squash and cook, stirring often, until the squash is tender and beginning to caramelize at the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    4. Add the apples and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the apples soften.
    5. Season the squash mixture with with the thyme and cinnamon. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the chopped pecans and currants, and cook until the pecans are slightly golden and fragrant. Remove the mixture from heat.
    6. Stir the squash mixture into the cooked rice and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
    7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    What is a Wild Rice Pilaf?

    So what is a pilaf? Pilaf is a rice dish in which rice is cooked with stock (veggie or meat) to bring out the flavor of the rice. In the case of this wild rice pilaf, wild rice is combined with veggie stock (or meat if not vegan or veg) and cooked until rice is fluffy. Typically pilaf is combined with other ingredients such as cranberries, nuts and veggies which in this case is butternut squash and onions. You can also skip the squash and add in cooked mushrooms for a different umami flavor.


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