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Wild Rice, Fruit, and Pecan Stuffing

Wild Rice, Fruit, and Pecan Stuffing

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Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without needing to loosen your belt—this wild rice and pecan stuffing recipe contains no bread.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup (about 3 oz.) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 1/2 oz.) golden raisins
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (about 4 oz.) fresh cranberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced small celery stalks (from celery heart)
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves from celery heart, coarsely chopped

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped celery and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and almost translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wild rice; stir for 1 minute. Add broth, bay leaf, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 1/2 cups water; increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue cooking, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 20–40 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Spread out pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.

  • DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store nuts airtight at room temperature. Let stuffing cool, then cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat, adding water by tablespoons if too dry, before continuing.

  • Discard bay leaf. Stir in dried cranberries, apricots, and raisins. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

  • Season rice to taste with salt and pepper. Fold pecans, sliced cranberries, and sliced celery into mixture. Garnish with celery leaves.

,Photos by Christopher TestaniReviews Section




  • 1 medium yellow onion , 8 oz, small dice
  • 3 celery stalks , 6 oz, small dice
  • 2-1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced , 8 oz


Protein & Fat


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh sage , or 1 Tbsp dried
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme , or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp salt


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Katie Gates

Hi, I'm Katie! I loooove food but am a lazy cook. I share healthy, delicious, plant-powered meals that require little effort without compromising on flavor. Whether it’s for my yummy, wholesome recipes, meal plans, or inspiration on your journey toward peaceful eating and self-love, I’m so happy you’re here!

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Hi, I’m Katie!

I loooove food but am a lazy cook. I share meals that require little effort without compromising on flavor.

Most recipes on my site are plant-based and free of sugar and flour.

My goal is to help you love your food, feel fantastic, and also to make you obsessed with buddha bowls.

I’m also co-host and co-founder of the Conscious Eating Community for building empowered, peaceful relationships with food and our bodies.

Wild Rice Recipes

It’s the only way to describe California Wild Rice.

Extraordinary Taste The smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture of wild rice complement dishes of all kinds. Pair with fruits, nuts, meats, poultry and fish.

Extraordinary Versatility From appetizers to yeast breads, wild rice adds flavor and interest to stuffing, soups, salads, stews, breads, muffins, pancakes and desserts. It’s delicious hot, warm or chilled.

Extraordinary Tradition Wild rice was an important food staple for several Native American tribes (for hundreds of years). Now it’s a favorite with all good-food lovers.

Extraordinary Abundance Thanks to modern cultivating and harvesting techniques in California, overall production has increased and wild rice is affordable and abundant.

Extraordinary Goodness Wild rice is a low-fat, natural food with no additives or preservatives. It’s a great source of fiber and is high in vitamin B and antioxidant vitamin E.

What’s The Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

Traditional, modern or just different. Every Thanksgiving the age-old debate arises……..“stuffing or dressing”? Both terms are used to describe a traditional Thanksgiving side dish, a moist bread (or rice), seasoned with herbs and vegetables. Many will argue that stuffing is cooked inside a turkey, while dressing is cooked alongside the bird. But, in most homes and cookbooks, the words are interchangeable…… although stuffing seems to be more prevalent in the south and east.

I don’t care what you call it…………as long as it’s delicious!

Stuffings and dressings can be prepared in many ways. This recipe is not a traditional bread stuffing that you usually see at Thanksgiving but makes an elegant and delicious side dish. Dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness to the nutty taste of this wild rice stuffing.

This sounds like it will be delicious for Thanksgiving this year. a quick question. It suggests that you can put rice mixture into the cavity of the bird rather than cooking it in casserole dish in oven. Do they mean that you cook the dish first in a Dutch Oven or put rice mixture in bird uncooked and it will cook in bird. Help! please respond if know answer. ASAP.. thanks a bunch!Jo Anne

I chose this recipe as I did not want to make a stuffing with bread. Like other reviewers, I did not follow the recipe exactly and used what I had on hand / what was available in my local grocery store. The changes I made were: Since I did not have enough Wild Rice on hand, I used red and white quinoa to get to the 1 cup measurement. For the brown rice, I used "Lundberg Wild Blend rice" instead, as I didn't have the whole cup of wild rice could not find pure wild rice in my local grocery store. The way I prepared this was I cooked the rice mixture in 4 cups of organic salt free chicken broth (the regular salted would do as well) and separately sauteed the vegetable mixture in a half stick of salted butter in a skillet. I used a whole apple, dried low sugar cranberries and nixed the dried apricots. Like another reviewer suggested, I added some poultry seasoning (Szeged) to the sauteed vegetables before adding the cooked rice mixture. This had a great flavor and I received lots of compliments during our Christmas dinner. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Sides: Wild Rice with Dried Fruit and Pecans

This rice dish is a hearty and flavorful accompaniment to pork, poultry and game. It’s a great addition to the Thanksgiving table, where you might be tempted to call it a stuffing. Dried apricots, cranberries and pecans stud the rice, adding substance, sweetness and festive color. Whether you use it to stuff a bird or simply serve in a bowl as a side, this is a pretty autumn dish. Feel free to mix up the fruit and nuts, substituting raisins, chopped prunes, dried figs, walnuts or hazelnuts. For a vegetarian option, substitute vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock.

Wild Rice with Dried Fruit and Pecans

Use all wild rice or a blend of rice. A blend of wild rice, brown rice and red rice is pictured. Serves 6.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 ½ cups wild rice or wild rice blend
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
½ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, thyme, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is just tender but still firm, about 45 minutes. Add the dried fruit and pecans. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm.

Wild rice stuffing recipes have year-round appeal

Q: I have lost my copy of a Thanksgiving issue. 1990-1991? It was a Thanksgiving menu. It was recommended as different from the traditional turkey dinner. The stuffing had nuts and dried fruit. The sweet potatoes had slices of cheddar cheese and the cranberry sauce had onions, etc.! I think it was the center section of the issue that week. I' m sure everyone would enjoy seeing and trying these recipes again. Would appreciate your help.

—Betty Thomas Stork, Crystal Lake

A: Sorry, I had no luck finding these recipes in the Tribune archives. Maybe readers have a copy of these recipes they can share?

In the meantime, I focused on the idea of a non-traditional stuffing because I think it's a dish you can serve all year and not just with turkey. Pair one of the wild rice stuffings below with chicken, duck, quail or, maybe, even a crown pork roast or a whole fish. You could even make and bake the stuffing in a casserole dish, or hollowed-out bell peppers or zucchini. You may end up with leftovers, yes, because the scale of the recipes are designed to fit with turkey but what's wrong with that?

The first recipe comes from the time period you specified. It is a 1990 recipe for a wild rice, cranberry and pecan dressing adapted from "The Turkey Cookbook" by Rick Rodgers.

A few years later, in 1995, the Tribune ran a story by Nancy Ross Ryan featuring a wild rice stuffing recipe from Chef Susan Goss, then of Chicago's Zinfandel restaurant. Unlike Rodgers, Goss used dried fruit in her recipe.

I have not made either recipe but I like the sound of them. I hope you do, too. Both recipes call for toasted nuts. Here's how from Ryan's story: To toast nuts, place them in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Wild rice, cranberry and pecan dressing

Prep: 20 minutes. Cook: 75 to 85 minutes. Makes: About 8 cups

This recipe ran in the Chicago Tribune in 1990. It was adapted from "The Turkey Cookbook" by Rick Rodgers.

1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 large celery ribs, finely chopped

2 cups wild rice, well rinsed

5 cups homemade turkey stock or 5 cups canned chicken broth

1 teaspoon each: salt, dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon each: freshly ground pepper, savory

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

1. Put sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat to simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and cook just until all the cranberries are popped, about 3 minutes. (Do not overcook you want the cranberries to stay relatively whole.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a medium-size bowl, leaving the cranberry syrup in the saucepan.

2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add wild rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, salt, thyme and pepper. Heat to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender but pleasantly chewy, about 45 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. (Drain the wild rice of excess cooking liquid, if necessary.) Add the wild rice mixture and the toasted pecans to the cranberries. Toss to mix well. Use as a turkey stuffing or bake separately.

4. To bake separately, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place in a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake, covered, until heated through, 30 to 40 minutes.

Wild Rice, Pecan, and Dried Fruit Stuffing

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with a fork, until the sausage is brown and no pink remains. Leaving the drippings and sausage in the pan, add the shallots and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Set aside.

3. Place the chicken broth in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the wild rice and 1 tablespoon of the thyme, and again bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the white rice to the saucepan, cover, and simmer for 10 additional minutes. Stir in the sausage mixture and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the liquid is almost absorbed.

5. Stir the dried cherries, cranberries, and raisins into the rice mixture. Cover and simmer for 2 additional minutes.

6. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the stuffing mix, pecans, egg, and remaining thyme until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish, cover, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until heated through. If a crisp top is desired, uncover the dish and bake for 10 additional minutes.

Nutritional Facts:

This Wild Rice, Pecan, and Dried Fruit Stuffing recipe is from the Mrs. Cubbison's Best Stuffing Cookbook Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

Vegan Holiday Dinner Ideas + A New Recipe

Eating vegetarian, vegan, or other special diet can be challenging, especially around the holidays. It doesn’t help matters when “Uncle Joe” is ranting and raving about the lack of turkey on your plate either! Obviously, many traditional holiday foods are based around animal products, but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat dry lettuce all weekend. Even if you are a meat eater, you can still bring along a vegan dish to impress your family as well. And who knows, once you get your feet wet, you just might find yourself hosting your very own vegan holiday dinner!

When I first became a vegan in 2009, I told my family that I’d love to bring a couple vegan dishes to contribute. Not only is the host/hostess usually eager to have help, but it assures me that I won’t go hungry during a meal that should be fun and celebratory. It also lets the cook know that I don’t expect them to spend hours trying to figure out what to make me. Plus, it’s always fun for me to surprise others with just how delicious vegan recipes can be. Well two years and many vegan recipes later, they aren’t so surprised anymore, but I guess that’s a good thing.

On Sundays, I love to cook a big hearty meal and this is even more true during Fall and Winter as the temperatures drop and the evenings darken. This weekend, I used Sunday’s meal to try a new holiday recipe that I could share with you. The recipe is a stunning rice pilaf that would make a great addition to any holiday meal. My inspiration came from a “wild rice stuffing” recipe in Bon Appetit, but I don’t like to call it stuffing because 1) it’s more like a hearty rice pilaf, and 2) I’m not stuffing anything, unless of course you count stuffing this dish in my pie hole. Yes, come to think of it I did a lot of stuffing this weekend.

I’ve never made a rice pilaf quite like this. It’s luxurious tasting while being deceptively healthy and low in oil. The dish only uses 1 tablespoon of olive oil, yet tastes incredibly rich and buttery. Not to mention, it’s packed with antioxidants and other nutrients including cranberries, dried apricots, pecans, and more.

I’ve been looking for a dish like this that I could make for my own holiday dinner and I’m happy to report that I will certainly be making this again at Christmas! I hope you enjoy it too.

Cranberry, Apricot and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf (GF + vegan)

Stuffing need not apply, this wild rice pilaf is a show stopper! Bring to your holiday dinner to dazzle and impress the toughest critics. The beauty of this dish is that it looks like it is much more time-consuming than it really is. The addition of fresh cranberries adds a very light tartness to the dish that balances out the sweetness from the dried fruit very well. It can also be made a day in advance to help save you time. If making in advance, be sure to leave out the pecans until just before serving and reheat in the skillet.

Yield: 4.5-5 cups

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 cups chopped celery + 1/2 cup, divided
  • 1 heaping cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 & 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (be sure to use gluten-free if required)
  • 1 & 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4-1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) + black pepper as desired
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 325F and toast the pecans for about 7-8 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Sautee onion, oil, and garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 1.5 cups chopped celery and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

3. Add wild rice, broth, bay leaf, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low-medium and then cover with lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once half way through.

4. After 30 minutes, uncover, stir, and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Note that wild rice cooking times can vary a lot so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

5. Remove bay leaf and stir in the dried fruit. Season to taste and stir in the sliced fresh cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped raw celery. Stir in toasted pecans.

Note: Dish can be made 1 day in advance. Do not add pecans until just before serving. Allow to cool then place in an air tight container in the fridge. Reheat in a skillet just before serving and stir in pecans.

I served dinner with my Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf, steamed carrots (mixed with a bit of Earth Balance, Herbamare, pepper, and sage), maple cornbread muffins (working on the recipe), and High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Vegan Gravy.

I also finally perfected my Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe last week after working on it since late September. Oh, it’s good and well worth the wait. :)

I will share this recipe soon, complete with a step-by-step tutorial on making a perfect lattice pie crust.

Need less to say, we’re going to eat very well this week. Anyone want to come over for leftovers?

This Ain’t Grandmas Sweet Potato Casserole is one of my favs (this picture does not do it justice). You can prepare it (without cooking) the day before (and place in the fridge), bring to room temperature, and cook it 45 mins before dinner is served.

Now hopefully you can keep your cool, have fun, and give thanks for all your blessings this holiday season.

Stay tuned for a few more holiday dishes coming up! In addition to the pie recipe, I have a few other things planned (maybe a festive harvest salad, a drink, and another fruity side dish) so hopefully they turn out!

What is your biggest hurdle with holiday dinners? Eating healthy? Being veg or gluten-free, etc? Getting along with “Uncle Joe”?

Baked Acorn Squash With Wild Rice, Pecan, and Cranberry Stuffing Recipe

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove seeds from acorn squash: using a sharp chef's knife, trim away a small flat slice from the bottom of each squash so it sits flat. Then, cut off the top 1/2" of each squash, exposing the seeds. Use a tablespoon to scrape out seeds and fibers. Place squash on a baking sheet, season lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle each squash with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove from oven.

In the meantime, prepare the stuffing: heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion sweats but does not brown, about 4 minutes. Add cooked wild rice and cooked white rice to the skillet and stir to combine. Add chopped pecans, dried cranberries and ricotta salata and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff each acorn squash with about 1/4 of stuffing mixture, packing stuffing into squash cavity and mounding it slightly. Drizzle each squash with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and bake until squash is tender and stuffing browns slightly, about 40 minutes.

Watch the video: Film 4. Laurits dyrker kæmpe-græskar. Micki Cheng. GoCook by Coop (August 2022).