Perfect Fall Side Dish: Hazelnut Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf

Perfect Fall Side Dish: Hazelnut Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf

I am not the hugest fan of stuffing, I know sacrilege. So I’ve been trying to think of a good substitute for Thanksgiving dinner that was also healthy. I did some experimenting and came up with this Hazelnut Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf. I think it is definitely going on the Thanksgiving table this year.

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The perfect fall side dish or substitute for Thanksgiving stuffing!Click To Tweet

Hazelnut Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf


  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 cup wild or black rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth or bone broth
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped*
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened**
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of one orange

How to Make Wild Rice Pilaf

Melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion until translucent & softened, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 – 60 seconds. Add both types of rice, parsley & oregano. Stir and toast for about 1 minute. Stir in broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45-60 minutes until rice is tender, do not stir. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes.

~ After you have toasted the rice you could finish it in a rice cooker instead of using the stove-top.

While rice is resting toast hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Stirring often, until nice and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add cranberries, mustard, zest & juice. Heat for another 1-2 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork and drain any extra liquid from the rice. Stir in hazelnuts and cranberry mixture. Serve and enjoy. This makes a great wild rice pilaf for a crowd.

* I choose hazelnuts because they were a little more festive but I think pecans or walnuts would be tasty too.

** I think dried cherries would be really good in this.


Tell me your thoughts are you a stuffing fan or not so much? Do you make something to replace the stuffing or just go without?

I do have to say my father-in-law makes a stuffing that I am willing to have a small spoonful of, so his must be amazing if I’ll eat it 😉 .


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I hope you have a Happy  Thanksgiving!!


Healthy Hazelnut Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf, perfect to make for Thanksgiving dinner






  • Sounds wonderful! By the way, loved the pear and cabbage salad Summer. Cranberries have always been a favorite of mine so look forward to giving this a try. 🙂

    • admin says:

      😀 That makes me happy. I’m glad you liked the salad.

  • Looks and sounds delicious. May have to ask the family if they are up for trying this on Thanksgiving – especially since we have gluten-free guests.

    • admin says:

      That is great, it would work really well as a gluten-free sub for stuffing.

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