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This hearty wild rice pilaf is perfect for every occasion, from holiday dinners to weeknight meals! A savory mix of wild and brown rices is infused with herbs and studded with mushrooms and pecans to make this irresistible side dish.
I love wild rice, but I’ve always found pilafs made with wild rice to be disappointing.
How is that possible? I mean, wild rice is the star of the dish, and it’s always awesome in other dishes like wild rice soup.
I think the problem is that in a pilaf, wild rice can be too much. Too much chewiness, too much intense earthy flavor. It’s kind of heavy. And mouthful after mouthful of almost all wild rice can get boring.
I found the solution: for my pilaf, I mix my wild rice with brown rice. A brown and wild rice pilaf has a much nicer balance of flavors and textures. It’s my secret to making the absolute best wild rice pilaf.
A fifty-fifty blend of wild to brown rice seems to be the magic ratio, and when you add other ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, peas and crunchy pecans, your pilaf is good enough to make a meal of!
- What You’ll Need
- How to Make Wild Rice Pilaf
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Pro Tips
- More Savory Vegan Side Dishes
- Wild Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms & Pecans
What You’ll Need
- Vegan butter. This can usually be found near the regular butter at the supermarket. Look for brands like Earth Balance and Miyokos.
- Vegetable broth. I like Better Than Bouillon in seasoned vegetable flavor.
- Fresh herbs. We’re using thyme and rosemary. Dried herbs can be substituted if you’d like.
- Brown rice. You could substitute white rice if needed, but you’ll need to reduce the simmer time by about half.
- Pecans. Feel free to substitute another type of nut or seed if pecans aren’t your thing. Walnuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds would all be great!
- Cremini mushrooms. White button mushrooms can be substituted if needed.
- White wine. Feel free to omit this for an alcohol-free recipe. If you do use the wine, check with Barnivore to ensure you choose a vegan brand.
- Salt & pepper.
- Frozen peas. Thaw them out before adding them to the dish.
- Fresh parsley.
How to Make Wild Rice Pilaf
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!
Start by melting some vegan butter in a large pot. When the butter just starts to bubble, add an onion and cook it for about 5 minutes, until it softens up. Now add some garlic and cook that for about a minute.
Next, add some broth, herbs, and your wild rice. We’re not adding the brown rice just yet, since wild rice takes a bit longer to cook than brown.
After about 10 minutes of simmering you can add the brown rice. Cover the pot and let everything simmer for 45 minutes or so.
While the rice cooks, toast your pecans and sauté your mushrooms.
Melt some more vegan butter in a skillet and add your pecans. Cook them for about 2 minutes, flipping them occasionally. Be careful! Pecans burn quickly.
Remove the pecans from the skillet and melt a bit more butter. Add the mushrooms in an even layer and cook them for about 5 minutes on each side, until they’re nicely browned and tender. Now pour some wine over the mushrooms and cook them for a few minutes more, until the wine cooks off.
Season your mushrooms with some salt and pepper.
Check on the rice after 45 minutes. When it’s done, you may have some excess water in the pot. If you do, quickly drain the rice using a mesh strainer, and then return it to the pot. Replace the lid and let the rice sit for about 5 minutes. It’ll continue to steam during this time, even though it’s off of the heat.
Stir the mushrooms and pecans into the rice, along with some peas and parsley. Give it a taste-test and add as much salt and pepper as you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this dish gluten-free?
How do the leftovers keep?
- Rice cooking tip: don’t peek! Keep your rice covered until the very end, when it’s time to check whether it’s done. The steam that develops in the pot will help your rice cook, so you don’t want to let it escape.
- A few pointers on cooking mushrooms:
- Don’t rinse them with water to clean them. They’ll suck it up like crazy, which will prevent browning and give you slimy mushrooms. Instead, wipe them clean with a damp cloth.
- Resist the temptation to stir them around while cooking. They need to sit in the skillet, undisturbed for a few minutes on each side in order to brown.
- Don’t crowd them in the skillet. Again, this will prevent browning. Keep them in a relatively even layer and cook them in batches if needed.