Thanksgiving Rice Pilaf Recipe

Are you in the mood for a Thanksgiving rice that gives all the other ones a run for their money? If so, keep reading. This yummy rice pilaf is perfect for fall, and it's a wonderful addition to the biggest meal of the year, thanks to the added cranberries. Recipe developer Miriam Hahn never disappoints when it comes to innovative recipes, and this one is no exception. "Such a yummy recipe. When I was growing up, we always had this rice dish," Hahn says. "It actually went over better than stuffing. I love that it is both savory and sweet and makes such a great side dish."

And the flavors? Well, they're out of this world fantastic. "This dish is very savory. The sage and rosemary just scream fall seasonings, and when you pair this with the cranberries and pomegranates, you get a really good combination," Hahn says. "Sometimes I add mushrooms which is so delicious!"

Go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor and keep reading to find out how to make this tasty rice pilaf. It's going to be just perfect for your next holiday meal!

Gather the ingredients for this rice pilaf

When it comes to the recipe here, you'll probably need to stop by the grocery store, though you may have a few ingredients already waiting for you in your pantry or fridge. Start by grabbing a large leek, and then add red bell pepper and carrots (feel free to get the pre-shredded kind). Dice up the leeks and pepper and, if you've bought whole carrots, take a minute to shred them. In addition, you will also need some fresh sage and rosemary, which you will also chop. You can also use dried sage and rosemary, though be sure to adjust the proportions, as dried herbs can be stronger than their fresh counterparts. To add even more flavor to this dish, be sure to pick up Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves.

You will also need some salt, pepper, wild rice, vegetable broth, and dried cranberries. Finally, snag some fresh pomegranate seeds and parsley for topping. That's everything! 

Cook the broth and leeks

Are you ready to get this cooking party started? If so, grab a frying pan, and first add in the broth. Then, crank the heat up to medium-high. At this time, you can also throw in the diced leeks.

If you can, you really should try to get the fresh green leeks you've seen in the produce section, rather than their closely related cousins, onions. "Leeks are in the onion family and offer lots of health benefits. They have Vitamin K, iron, and manganese, to name a few," Hahn raves. "I love using them because they have a slight sweetness to them and make such a great addition to this dish and also soups!"

Add the other ingredients to the pan

Saute the leeks for 4 to 5 minutes until they are translucent and become fragrant. Then, it's time to add in the other veggies, namely the diced red pepper and shredded carrots. Next, toss in the sage, rosemary, and Italian seasoning. As the spices and herbs begin to cook in the oil, your kitchen will start to smell pretty wonderful.

At this point, you'll also throw in the oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. That's a lot of items, to be sure, so give everything a good stir to make sure that all of the flavors are evenly distributed throughout the mix.

Add the rice, broth, and cranberries

There are still a few more items that you need to add to the mix, though take heart in the fact that you're getting much closer to rice pilaf glory! Start by mixing in the rice with the cooking veggies, which is the bulk of the dish and by far the most filling part. Then, add in the rest of the broth and the cranberries

Bring the mixture to a light boil, and once you see bubbles, lower it to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and set your timer for 15 minutes. Once your timer goes off, remove the lid and test to make sure the rice is done.

Top and serve

Once you've determined that everything is properly cooked, take the rice out of the pan and transfer it into a dish of your choice. Then, top it with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley if desired. And while we highly recommend serving this up for Thanksgiving, Hahn notes that this is great for "any winter meal. You can also make an amazing Buddha bowl with it using fall vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potato, and Brussels sprouts."

This dish is so good that we don't think you will have any leftovers. That said, if you do, fear not. This pilaf "stays great for up to 5 days in a sealed container," Hahn notes. "I reheat in the oven for best results."

Thanksgiving Rice Pilaf Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
This yummy rice pilaf is perfect for fall, and it's a wonderful addition to the biggest meal of the year, thanks to the added cranberries and pomegranates.
Prep Time
Cook Time
rice in a bowl
Total time: 65 minutes
  • 1 large leek, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cup wild rice
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
Optional Ingredients
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Chopped parsley
  1. Pour ¼ cup broth into a large pan and heat to medium-high heat. Add the chopped leeks and saute for 4-5 minutes until they are translucent.
  2. Add the red pepper, carrots, sage, rosemary, Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir.
  3. Add in the rice, the rest of the broth, and the cranberries. Bring to a light boil, then lower to simmer and cover. Cook for 50 minutes. Remove the lid and test the rice to ensure it is done.
  4. Top with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley if desired.
Calories per Serving 203
Total Fat 1.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.7 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Total Sugars 9.7 g
Sodium 423.6 mg
Protein 6.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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