Wild Rice Stuffing is a great alternative to traditional bread stuffing. Wild rice, roasted butternut squash, sweet apples, fresh herbs, dried cranberries, pecans and pepitas all come together in this flavorful holiday side dish!
There’s no denying that Thanksgiving dinner is probably the biggest carbfest of the year. Aside from the turkey and maybe a salad it’s pretty much carbs that are the star of the day, from appetizers all the way to dessert.
You have the usual suspects. Mashed potatoes or better yet, skinny cheesy potato casserole. Rolls. I absolutely love these rosemary sea salt sweet potato rolls. Sweet potato casserole or something a little lighter like these cinnamon maple mashed sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Then finish the meal off with a slice of caramel apple crumb pie or a creamy pumpkin pie bar. Carbs are king on Thanksgiving!
This year instead of the usual bread stuffing, I decided I’m going to change things up and add in a different kind of carb. Rice! This Wild Rice Stuffing is has tons of flavor and texture. I could easily make it the bulk of my Thanksgiving dinner, which is great if you have any vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free family or friends that will be joining you this year.
Ingredients For Wild Rice Stuffing
- Wild rice blend
- Low sodium vegetable broth
- Olive oil or butter
- Yellow onion and garlic
- Fresh sage, thyme and rosemary
- Butternut squash
- Dried cranberries
How to Make Wild Rice Stuffing
Start by cooking the wild rice in the vegetable broth. This will take about 45 minutes. While the rice cooks roast the butternut squash and prep the vegetables, apple and fresh herbs.
Once the rice and squash are done cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add in the onion, celery, apple and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 4-5 minutes until they’re tender. Add in the fresh herbs, rice, butternut squash, dried cranberries, pecans and pepitas and stir everything together. Taste for seasoning.
At this point you can serve it or you can stick it in the oven with a lid on or a piece of foil, and bake it for about 20 minutes to continue to heat everything and marry the flavors together.
Tips and FAQ
Time Saving Tips – Roast the butternut squash and cook the wild rice a day or two in advance. These take the longest to cook and will save you quite a bit of time the day you plan to serve it. You can also chop the celery and onion a day or two in advance if you’re strapped for time.
Difference between wild rice and wild rice blend? Wild rice is a longer and darker (almost black) grain that with a nuttier flavor and texture. Wild rice blend is generally a combination of the wild rice and brown rice. Red rice and black rice can also be found in some brands.
Can I make the wild rice stuffing ahead of time? Yes, but I suggest leaving out the pecans and pepitas as they will lose they’re crunchy texture. Stir them in when you reheat it on the stove or bake it in the oven.
Can I freeze the stuffing? Yes. Make sure everything is completely cooled before doing so. Again, I recommend leaving out the pecans and pepitas and stirring them in when you’re ready to reheat.
Can I put the stuffing inside the turkey while it’s roasting? I don’t advise doing this primarily as a food safety precaution. You will also likely have overcooked rice and vegetables since the turkey takes much longer to cook.
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice blend
- 18 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 apple, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Rinse the wild rice blend and add it to the broth along with a big pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and cook for 45-50 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- While the rice is cooking, roast the butternut squash and prep the remaining ingredients.
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, apple, salt and pepper to the skillet and sauté until they're tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the rice, roasted butternut squash, herbs, dried cranberries, pecans and pepitas into the skillet and stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Cover with a lid and bake in the over for 20 minutes at 350° F. This step is optional and can be skipped if you'd prefer to just serve it immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 73mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g