Warm wild rice pilaf with cranberries, pecans and goat cheese is a delicious combination of flavors and textures - perfect for holiday dinners or an anytime side dish!
I can’t believe we’re less than a week to Christmas - how did that happen?!
I swear we just had Thanksgiving. The holidays always seem to fly by. Then again, I know these next two weeks with the kids home will also feel rather long… 😂
We had a lot of family time this past weekend. My in-laws were here for a visit, we went for a short visit to see my husband’s cousin, then my brother and his family came up for a quick visit so we saw them over at my parent’s house, along with my cousin and her family. Makes my heart happy!
Also makes our daily dinners a bit harder to keep up with. So when we’ve got so much going on and the kiddos are around all day, I try to keep our meals simple.
Today’s warm wild rice pilaf with cranberries, pecans and goat cheese is a yummy way to jazz up a rice side dish without much extra effort.
And it smells seriously delicious as it’s cooking - the aromatics of the onion and garlic and the mixed rice grains with the chicken broth. You’ll be excited for this to hurry up and be ready!
This easy side dish also has a great mix of flavors and textures - the tender wild rice grains mixed with sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pecans and creamy goat cheeses crumbles that slightly melt into the hot rice.
Good eats, you guys!👌
And you know I love some toppings, so I usually serve this with some parsley and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar - I think it adds a hit of freshness and brings out all the flavors.
It's gluten free, too, so it's great if you've got friends or family with dietary restrictions.
Notes on wild rice pilaf with cranberries:
- I like to drizzle my rice salad with a little balsamic vinegar. Gives it a shot of sweetness and tartness. A squeeze of lemon juice would be lovely, too, but neither are necessary.
- I also like to garnish this salad with parsley - a great addition if you have some on hand.
- I’ve used both pecans and walnuts before for this recipe - it’s delicious both ways. You could also try substituting your favorite nut.
- I like to lightly toast my nuts in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat for just a few minutes to help bring out their great nutty flavor. It’s not necessary but it really does help enhance the taste.
- I’ve made this with ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, in place of the goat cheese, and that was delicious too. Lots of ways to make it your own!
Three cheers for easy, festive, delicious side dishes for your holiday table!
By the way… I’ve also got another wild rice recipe coming up on Wednesday so be sure to check back for it.
You can sign up for my free e-newsletter so you never miss a recipe. You’ll also get my free e-cookbook with 10 healthy weeknight dinners as a thank-you for subscribing. 😊
Happy holidays, friends!
P.S. Check out these other delicious wild rice recipes:
- Curried wild rice salad with raisins and pecans
- Easy wild rice sausage and kale bowl
- Wild rice salad with mango and cilantro
- One pot wild rice with turkey sausage and broccoli
- Healthy creamy chicken and wild rice soup
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- salt and pepper, to taste
For serving (optional):
- Fresh chopped parsley, squeeze of lemon juice or drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
- Add rice and stir to coat in the oils and onions, about 30 seconds.
- Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook 13-15 minutes, until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.
- Stir in dried cranberries, chopped nuts and crumbled goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
You can use walnuts or pecans for this recipe. I like to lightly toast mine in a small saute pan for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat to help bring out their nutty flavor.
I have substituted ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese for the goat cheese and that was delicious as well.
I like to drizzle my rice salad with a little balsamic vinegar. Gives it a shot of sweetness and tartness. A squeeze of lemon juice would be lovely, too, but neither are necessary.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 623mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 15g