This tasty Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf is a celebration of colors and flavors. It's complementary to a myriad of entrees, making it the ideal addition to your weekday or holiday table.
Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf Recipe
When looking for a way to elevate your side dish menu, this rice pilaf is a delicious option. The combination of apples and cranberries makes it a natural fit for your fall menu, but delicious enough to enjoy year-round. It goes perfectly, with chicken and turkey as well as salmon. While it does require some chopping, it's not a difficult dish, and one that cook's of all skill levels can master.
How to Make the Best Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf Recipe
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf: Wild and brown rice blend, chicken stock, Granny Smith apples, chopped pecans, butter, shallots, garlic, salt, black pepper, dried cranberries, parsley, fresh thyme and tarragon.
- Kitchen gadgets you'll need: A large skillet, sharp knife and cutting board, measuring cups and spoons. a sheet pan to toast the pecans, an apple peeler or a vegetable peeler and a large spoon for mixing everything together.
- This recipe uses brown rice for it's nutty flavor and texture. It combines beautifully with the apples and cranberries. Should you prefer, you could adapt using a white wild rice blend. When doing so, please follow the package directions for how long to cook as it will take less time than brown rice. You may also need to adapt the amount of chicken stock.
- It's well worth the small amount of effort that it takes to toast the pecans for the incredible flavor that they bring to the dish. They could also be toasted in the oven. See below in the next section for the how-to instructions for roasting nuts in the oven.
- This rice pilaf recipe can be prepared in advance and reheated in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. When doing so, have extra chicken stock handy to add liquid to the rice if needed, to prevent it from drying out.
- The cranberries used in this recipe can be found with the other dried fruits in most grocery stores. Dried cherries also work well in this dish.
- You can serve this rice with oven roasted turkey, lemon rosemary chicken or my recipe for air fryer salmon.
- Store leftover Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave in single servings or in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a splash of chicken stock for moisture.
How to Toast Pecans in the Oven
When baking, it's normal practice for me to toast the nuts I'm using in a recipe. Whether it's pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts or almonds, the roasting process enhances the flavor. Since this recipe is made on the stovetop, I opted to toast the nuts in a skillet. If you're planning to prep some of the ingredients in advance, you can also toast the nuts easily in the oven. It's super simple, here's what you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spread the pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan.
- Roast for 6-8 minutes just until lightly golden and fragrant.
- Set aside to cool.
- Depending on the size of the nuts you're roasting, the baking time should be adjusted. Whole nuts or large pieces will take slightly longer and finely chopped nuts will take less time. Adjust accordingly.
More Easy Rice Recipes to Make
Rice is always a welcome addition to the menu. Other mouthwatering ways to include rice as a side dish:
- Cajun Dirty Rice can be served as a side dish with grilled chicken, pork or even a bowl of pinto beans.
- Teriyaki Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Peas will enhance all of your favorite Asian inspired entrees.
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice is for those watching their carbs at your dinner table.
- Italian Sausage Rice Pilaf is a riff on Cajun dirty rice that's delish with Italian seasoned chicken or steak.
- Mexican Rice from Cooking Classy.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf
- 2 cups wild and brown rice blend
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans toasted
- ½ cup salted butter
- 3 large shallots finely diced (or one medium red onion)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 medium Granny Smith Apples cored and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoon flat leaf parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- 2 teaspoon fresh tarragon chopped
- Place wild rice blend and stock into a 3 quart saucepan. Bring the rice and broth to a boil, then immediately lower heat to simmer and cover. Simmer covered for 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Do not remove the lid during cooking time. (Alternately, using a rice cooker, add wild rice blend and stock to the cooker. Stir and turn on to cook.)
- To toast pecans: Place a 12 inch skillet on the stovetop. Turn heat to medium-high. Add pecans in a single layer. Let sit for a few seconds, then stir toasting for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Five minutes before rice is done, melt butter in same 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Once it begins to melt, add shallots keeping heat on medium-high. Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until translucent and beginning to brown. Add garlic, salt and pepper cooking for 1 minute longer.
- To the skillet add apple and cranberries. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add cooked rice and pecans back to the pan. (Reserve some pecans for garnishing, if desired)
- Turn off heat add 1 tablespoon parsley, thyme and tarragon. Mix well.
- Serve immediately garnished with reserved parsley and pecans, if desired.
- This recipe uses brown rice for it's nutty texture. It combines beautifully with the apples and cranberries. Should you prefer, you could adapt using a white wild rice blend. When doing so, please follow the package directions for how long to cook as it will take less time than brown rice. You may also need to adapt the amount of chicken stock.