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Wild Rice Pilaf

This show-stopping cranberry-orange Wild Rice Pilaf is made with seasoned wild rice, juicy clementine oranges, sweet dried cranberries, crisp apples, and more! To amp up the flavor even more, we toss the pilaf in a simple orange-honey vinaigrette. 
Course Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, thanksgiving, Vegetarian
Keyword wild rice pilaf
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 6 -8 as a side
Calories 583kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $4.21


Wild Rice

  • 1 cup wild rice blend (we use Lundberg)
  • 3 and 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon EACH: Fine sea salt, dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: cracked pepper, dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery (~2-3 stalks)
  • 3 clementine, peeled, segmented, and segments halved. Cuties and Halo are two popular brands.
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 large apple Fuji or Honeycrisp
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice optional
  • 1/2 cup pecans coarsely chopped (See Note 1)
  • 3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/3 cup roasted & salted pepitas


  • 2 tablespoons juice from a clementine (plus 1/2 teaspoon zest)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • WILD RICE: Start by thoroughly rinsing the wild rice blend in a fine mesh sieve with cold water until the water runs clear. Meanwhile, add chicken broth, Dijon mustard, butter, salt, parsley, pepper, and dried thyme to a nonstick medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the rinsed rice. Cover and reduce heat to low (just above the lowest low setting). Simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (stir occasionally, returning the pot lid as soon as stirring is done). Add additional broth if needed (if rice has absorbed all the liquid and is still not tender). Check to see if the rice is done at 45 minutes and then every 5-10 minutes after that (my stovetop takes about 50-55 minutes). If the rice is tender, but still has liquid left, drain any additional liquid off. Once tender, remove the pot from the burner, leaving the lid on, and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and then transfer to a large bowl. Cover and chill in the fridge until cooled through.
  • DRESSING: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a Mason jar. Season with salt and pepper (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper). Add the lid to jar and shake to combine. Refrigerate until ready to dress pilaf.
  • PILAF: Prep the ingredients: Cut celery stalks in half width-wise and then thinly slice. Peel the clementines and separate into segments and then cut the segments in half. Finely chop the parsley. Peel (if desired; we leave peel on) the apple and finely chop. Squeeze fresh lemon over all. Coarsely chop pecans. Add everything to the large bowl with the chilled wild rice -- the celery, clementines, parsley, apple, pecans, dried cranberries, and pepitas. Toss gently to combine. Drizzle dressing over everything to your desired preference (you may not want to use all the dressing). Gently toss again and then taste and adjust seasonings; I usually add another 1/4 teaspoon salt here. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. Gently toss again to combine and serve.



Note 1: If desired, toast the pecans before chopping and adding to the pilaf. Spread the (un-chopped) pecans in an even layer in a small, dry (no need to add oil or anything) skillet over medium heat and stir them around a bit until they are fragrant and toasted to your liking. Watch the pecans carefully; they can go from perfectly cooked to burnt in an instant! I like to remove them as soon as they begin to smell fragrant.


Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 751mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1339IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 4mg