Vegan Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe (Easy Side Dish)

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Last Updated on July 9, 2022 by Chef Mireille

If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy vegan side dish, this Wild Rice Pilaf recipe is a great option. It’s easy to make and can be served with any main course. Plus, it’s packed with nutrients and flavor. So give it a try the next time you’re in the mood for something new!

This vegan side dish is the perfect addition to any holiday table that everyone – both vegans and carnivores alike can enjoy. Whether it’s the table for Easter, Christmas or Ramadan, no one can say no to this healthy and tasty bowl of deliciousness. This Wild Rice Pilaf recipe is perfect for both holidays and easy weekday meals!

bowl of wild rice pilaf

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Side dishes are usually the afterthought. If you are planning a traditional meal that includes the basics of meat, vegetable, and starch, the meat dish is usually the star and gets most of the attention. Many times the side dishes just end up being plain steamed rice or roasted potatoes.

This Homemade wild rice is also way better than the wild rice blend you see on supermarket shelves. Those often include a seasoning packet that has more salt than anything else. So reduce your sodium intake for the day with this homemade version of Wild Rice Pilaf.

This is an easy way to make rice a lot more interesting. You can add whatever vegetables you have that need to be used up. I used broccoli and bell pepper because that is what was in my fridge that needed to be utilized.

I really try to practice no waste, so you can easily add whatever veggies happen to be in your refrigerator or leftover cooked veggies.

This fluffy rice with vegetables is a healthy side dish that’s gluten free and vegan – what can be better! It will be a welcome addition to your dinner table.

Another great thing about this Wild Rice Pilaf is that it can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. For this reason, it’s also makes a delicious side dish for summer picnics and barbecues as it can easily be left out for several hours.

You know I’m always encouraging you to Travel Your Tastebuds and explore different cuisines. Due to the simple ingredients in this Wild Rice Side Dish recipe, it can be adapted by adding cuisine relevant spices so that you can enjoy it with just about any meal – Middle Eastern, Latin, African, Greek or Caribbean.

Add some Peri Peri or Berbere Spice Mix and you have transferred this simple Wild Rice Pilaf into a new recipe!

Before we get to the recipe, did you know that wild rice is actually not a rice? So what exactly is wild rice?

Let’s learn all about it and what health benefits it provides!

Health Benefits of Wild Rice

What is wild rice?

Wild rice is actually an aquatic grass that grows in shallow waters along lakes and streams. It is native to North America, where there are three native species.

Northern Wild Rice, the most abundant species, has historically grown in the Great Lakes Area, the Dakotas and parts of Ontario and Manitoba, in Canada. Another varietal species grows in Florida and another one in Texas.

There is also a fourth species grown in China, but there the plant stem is eaten as a vegetable.

It has always been a common food with Native Americans. Several Native American tribes including the Ojibwa tribe consider it a sacred food. They call in mannomin, which means harvesting berry.

Due to it’s nutritional value and taste, it became popular in the late 20th century. In order to keep up with the increased demands, wild rice is not harvested from paddy’s in Minnesota and California.

Native Americans continue to harvest the wild rice that grows wild.

Benefits of Eating Wild Rice

Wild Rice is a healthy low fat food. It’s high in manganese – an anti oxidant which keeps your cells healthy and contributes to a healthy metabolism. It’s also a good source of iron and B vitamins.

It’s a low calorie food with a healthy mix of protein and fiber.

It’s also gluten free, so good for people on a restricted diet and even those with Celiac’s disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to cook the wild rice separately?

Wild rice takes longer to cook than white rice so if you cook them in the pot together, the wild rice will still be half raw by the time the white rice has completed cooking.

Is wild rice healthier than brown rice?

Actually, wild rice is a misnomer as it is actually not a rice at all, but a grass species. It has about 30% fewer calories than brown rice and 40% more protein as well as more fiber and potassium.

So yes, wild rice is healthier than brown rice, in my opinion.

Do I have to soak wild rice prior to cooking?

Technically no, however, the cooking time will be reduced if you soak it first.

In this recipe, the rice is first preboiled and then finished cooking in the pilaf. If you presoak your wild rice for 4 hours, the 30 minutes will cook the wild rice completely.

Variations

  • Although this version only has broccoli and bell pepper, just about any other vegetables can be added like butternut squash, roasted brussels sprouts, mushrooms, green beans or summer squash. You can also use leftover previously cooked vegetables.
  • Pomegranate adds a tart-sweet flavor which can easily be substituted with dried cranberries.
  • If you have leftover cooked rice, you can just saute the vegetables and add everything else together.
  • To make this even healthier, you can switch out the white rice with brown rice or other grains like wheat berries, barley, quinoa or millet.
  • If you’re not Vegetarian, you can use chicken broth or beef broth instead for more flavor.
  • You can easily turn it into a complete meal by adding grilled chicken or mushrooms (for Vegetarians).

So let’s check the pantry for everything we need for this Easy Wild Rice Pilaf! It only takes a few ingredients!

Ingredients

Ingredient photos and labels for wild rice pilaf recipe
  • wild rice
  • oil
  • garlic cloves
  • bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • long grain rice
  • salt 
  • pomegranate seeds
  • vegetable broth

Have you tried instacart yet? It’s how I get all of my fresh grocery items delivered within 2 hours!

How to Cook Wild Rice Pilaf

  • Boil the wild rice until almost done.
  • In a large pot, saute your veggies.
  • Add the pre cooked wild rice and the white rice.
  • Simmer until cooked.
  • Add your pomegranate seeds and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Serve warm, however it can also be served at room temperature.

This is such a flavorful wild rice dish that everyone will love it!

White and Wild Rice Pilaf in a white bowl

TO REMEMBER

Always fluff your rice with a fork. A spoon will crush the rice and make it stick together.

What goes with Wild Rice Pilaf

  • If you’re Vegetarian, you can complete the meal with some fried tofu or beans like this Itakiet Stew.

If you’re a meat eater, you can enjoy this with Chimichurri Lamb Chops or Persian Roast Chicken.

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bowl of wild rice pilaf
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Wild Rice Pilaf

Wild Rice Pilaf is an easy side dish to go with any meal. Perfect accompaniment to holiday meals or every day meals.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Continental, Indian
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 236kcal

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup wild rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 1 stalk chopped broccoli both stem and florets
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups rice
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions

  • In a large pot of boiling water add wild rice and boil for 30 minutes.
  • In a large pot, heat oil.
  • Add garlic, bell pepper and broccoli. Saute for a few minutes until vegetables are softened.
  • Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add rice, wild rice and salt. Give it a quick stir to combine.
  • Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork.
  • Add pomegranate seeds and black pepper.
  • Adjust salt as needed.

Notes

You can add any variety of vegetables you happen to have about.
This recipe can also be easily adapted to the Instant Pot, using IP wild rice and long grain rice cooking times.

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 942IU | Vitamin C: 88mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!

Need more culinary inspiration? Check out the Recipe Index with over 1500 Recipes from Around the World with lots of Vegetarian 🥕🍆🍅and Gluten Free Recipes!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Looks absolutely delicious. I have tasted wild rice salad and now this pulao is next dish that I will try. You have shared all the tips and recipe so clearly. Maybe I will make it next month when I visit my kids in USA. So the whole family can enjoy it.

  2. 5 stars
    I have heard a lot about wild rice but never tasted it. The wild rice pilaf looks so delicious and filling. Love it Mir.

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