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Wild Rice Pilaf With Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans [Vegan]

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When I saw a recipe for a colorful rice pilaf with butternut squash, cranberries, and pecans on A Communal Table, I knew it was destined for my Thanksgiving menu. When I made a batch for my pre-Thanksgiving run-through, I discovered that it’s even better than I had hoped, garnering a lot of “wows” from my trusty tasters.

I made a few tweaks, most importantly using all wild rice rather than a wild rice mix, which has just a bit of wild rice, and generally not even the real thing at that. For truly wild rice, look for the stuff harvested by hand from lakes in Minnesota and Canada. It’s a big cut above the cultivated variety (which may also be produced in Minnesota, so the state isn’t the only criteria here.)

The dressing used here is a revelation, and I give all the credit to A Communal Table. With lemon and orange juices, fresh ginger and spices, it provides a shock of flavor. I think I’ll be finding many other uses for it.

And in case you haven’t noticed, this pilaf is 100 percent guilt-free. Wild rice (which is actually a grass) is vegan, gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

I prefer this served as a warm pilaf, although it also makes a delicious salad if you want to prepare it in advance (be sure to bring it to at least room temperature before serving).

Wild Rice Pilaf With Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans [Vegan]

This Recipe is :

Dairy Free Vegan




  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups wild rice, rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or half water, half stock)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional but good!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on two baking sheets. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes (check earlier if your pieces are very small).
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the warm water and vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, orange juice, lemon juice and fresh ginger.
  6. Place the wild rice and stock in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until some of the grains start to split. The rice should still be quite chewy. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.
  7. Add the onions and garlic, cranberries, parsley, pecans and dressing to the wild rice and stir. Gently mix in the roasted squash. Serve warm if possible, or at room temperature.





Cathy Elton is a Brooklyn–based writer who has the rare blog that focuses specifically on heart-healthy food. She came to this subject the hard way, as a result of finding out she had hereditary heart disease in her 40s. But she turned her health problem into a cooking challenge and developed a heart-healthy vegetarian cooking style that’s still spicy, satisfying and adventurous. She shares her original recipes on What Would Cathy Eat?



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11 comments on “Wild Rice Pilaf With Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans [Vegan]”

Click to add comment
Allison Ratzman
10 Months Ago

Made this for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday - so colorful and delicious!

Emma Cady
10 Months Ago

Noel Parent

Carlos Avalos
10 Months Ago

Next year!

D'Angelo Andama
10 Months Ago

Jenelle Suzanne McCulloch

Cindy Smith Alsabook
10 Months Ago

Andrea Ward..yum

Magda Amor
10 Months Ago

Magda Amor
10 Months Ago

Julie Reisinger
10 Months Ago

My favorite side dish

1 Years Ago


21 Nov 2016


4 Years Ago

Is the rice amount correct? That is 8 cups of cooked wild rice? Seems a lot for 8 servings.


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