Easy wild rice pilaf with dried fruit and nuts is the perfect side dish for dinner parties, luncheons, and holiday meals. The classic combination of savory and sweet is ready in less than 45 minutes.
Traditionally, rice pilaf is cooked in broth with aromatics and spices, plus add-ins like fruit, vegetables or nuts. Adding a starchy side dish like this wild rice recipe helps to round out any meal when you’re entertaining.
Why You’ll Love It
- The perfect side dish for dinner parties. Goes well with pork, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish and salmon.
- It’s quick and easy to make. It’s ready in about 40 minutes and you can cook it on the stovetop while you cook the main dish in the oven.
- You can customize it to your liking. You have options when it comes to choosing your ingredients. Choose your rice flavor, choose your favorite dried fruit, and pick the crunchy nuts to add.
Ingredients & Variations
- Long grain & wild rice blend. You can use Uncle Ben’s or any other wild rice blends with seasoning packet included. Use Original flavor.
- Broth. Keep it vegetarian by using vegetable broth, or add some chicken broth, beef broth or bone broth.
- Diced onion and celery. Plus you’ll need olive oil for cooking. These will add so much flavor to the rice.
- Dried fruit. Use any blend of dried fruit or a single type. Raisins or golden raisins, dry cranberries or craisins, dried cherries, diced apricots, papaya, pineapple, figs.
- Nuts. I like to use pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or slivered almonds, lightly toasted.
- Garnish. Top your dish with chopped fresh parsley for presentation.
- I recommend using dried fruit that’s mildly sweet rather than some overly sweet varieties. Raisins, apricots, cherries and cranberries are ideal to balance the savory rice mix.
- Stay away from garlic flavored rice blends as it can be a strange fit with the dried fruit.
- To make this for a dinner party, start boiling the liquid about 40 minutes before you want to eat. That will account for the cooking time of the rice.
How to Make It
There are just 3 simple steps to making fruit and nut wild rice.
- Sauté. Cook the onions and celery in olive oil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook wild rice. Add water, broth and wild rice with seasoning into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Mix. Stir in ground black pepper, dried fruit and nuts, and serve.
What to Serve with Wild Rice Pilaf
It’s so classic you can serve this rice pilaf recipe with almost any protein, as well as any occasion!
- Serve it with slow cooker Turkey for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving.
- It’s delicious with chicken skewers or yummy teriyaki chicken on a stick.
- It’s great with Easter ham along with brussels sprouts.
- A satisfying side for fish or salmon for Dinner parties.
- It’s delicious with lamb chops served with beet and goat cheese salad.
- Make it with baked chicken or curry chicken for a Moroccan theme party
- 2 boxes (6 ounces each) long grain and wild rice mix
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 ¾ cups broths
- 1 ¾ c cups water
- 1 ½ cup dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, pineapple, apricots)
- 1 cup rough chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a medium saucepan, add the oil and heat over medium-low heat; add chopped onion and celery and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and seasoning mix and return to a boil.
- Cover tightly and reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in black pepper, fruit and nuts, and serve.