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Overhead view of a saucepan of Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, Kale, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans

Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash

  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 cups pilaf 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Wild Rice Pilaf is a hearty, filling side dish that’s perfect for the holidays! (Gluten-Free + Vegan)




  • 1 cup wild rice blend (I like Lundberg Wild Rice + Brown Rice Blend)
  • Water per your package instructions (For Lundberg, it’s 1 3/4 cup water)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 3 cups shredded kale (tough stems and ribs removed and cut or torn into thin ribbons)
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Balsamic dressing (recipe below)


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 12 tsp. Dijon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper


  1. Cook your wild rice blend according to your package instructions. (For me, I rinse the rice in a sieve, then add to my saucepan. Add 1 3/4 cup water (or broth), and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand an additional 10 minutes.
  2. When the rice is about 15 minutes away from being finished, start cooking your squash. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add squash and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook 10-12 minutes, or until squash is softened and turning golden on the sides.
  3. Add kale and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until kale has wilted down. Remove from the heat.
  4. When the rice is finished cooking, add the squash/kale mixture to the rice. Add pecans and cranberries.
  5. Add dressing a little at a time, until you’ve reached your desired amount (I almost always add all of the dressing. You may prefer less.)
  6. Stir with a fork to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Wild rice pilaf, butternut squash wild rice pilaf, wild rice squash salad, wild rice squash pilaf