This Pecan Rice Pilaf recipe is an easy Thanksgiving side dish made with flavorful rice and buttery toasted pecans. It’s an easy rice pilaf recipe for fall.

bowl of Pecan Rice Pilaf

This is an easy holiday dinner side dish recipe that is full of flavor. Rice is the perfect side dish for almost any main dish, and this one is perfect for that extra deliciousness you are looking for in holiday dinners. It is also a great vegetarian option, easily customizable to vegan if needed. 

The crunch from the roasted pecans gives an extra kick to this savory dish. We love pecans and use them a lot in dishes like our apple pecan stuffing, endive salad, and broccoli salad. They are always a hit!   

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ingredients for pecan rice pilaf

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Butter– If you wish to make this a vegan dish and not just vegetarian, you can substitute with vegan butter 
  • Onion – We recommend white onion for this dish, but if you wish to add color you can try red onion.
  • White rice – Medium or long grain rice is the best rice for this dish. Basmati rice or jasmine rice are great options.
  • Vegetable broth – You can use any broth you would like, just note that if you use chicken broth or beef broth, it will no longer be vegetarian and will change the flavor of the dish as well.
  • Seasoning – Dried thyme, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Pecans – You can sub with almonds or any other nuts if you like, but the pecan flavor really pairs best in this dish.

Like our butternut squash saffron rice this rice can be completely vegan if you use vegan butter when sautéing the onions.

toasted chopped pecan in a skillet to make Pecan Rice Pilaf

Easy Rice Pilaf Recipe

Step 1 – Sauté pecans – Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pecans and sauté them until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set pecans aside.

sauteed onions in a skillet for Pecan Rice Pilaf

Step 2 – Cook onions – Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes.

how to make Pecan Rice Pilaf

Step 3 – Add other ingredients – Once the onions are done add rice to skillet and stir well. Then add broth, salt, thyme, and pepper. 

Step 4 – Boil – Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover with a pan lid and reduce to a simmer until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

f Pecan Rice Pilaf in a bowl

 Step 5 – Fluff and toss – Once the rice is done remove from the heat and use a fork to fluff the rice. Gently toss the pecans, dried cranberries, golden raisins, and parsley into the mixture. Place the lid back on and set aside, off of the heat for 10 minutes longer before serving.

What is Rice Pilaf

What differs rice pilaf from regular rice is the way it’s cooked. Whereas regular cooked rice is boiled in water with nothing added for flavor, rice pilaf is usually sautéed or toasted in butter or broth with other aromatics and fresh herbs to really give seasoning and taste to each grain.

There are many different ingredients you will find in rice pilaf dishes. Garlic, peas, carrots, currants, and even apricots and raisins are common in rice pilafs.

pecan rice pilaf with dried cranberries and golden raisins

Is Rice Pilaf Healthy?

Rice is an excellent source of fiber. Rice varies in vitamins and fiber amount, so you can research and decide which type is right for you. Adding various seasonings and onions can also up your vitamin intake.

Tips for Making it Ahead of Time

You can simplify your life and save some time if you make the rice in advance. 

Skip toasting the pecans and follow the instructions to cook the rice in the buttery onions and broth. Then let the rice cool completely and store it in airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. It can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.

When you are ready to use it, you can warm the rice by placing it in a skillet with 3/4 cup of water, covering it, and heating it over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. This steams the rice to warm it so it doesn’t dry out. 

While the rice warms you can get the pecans ready. Toast them in a skillet as listed in the instructions. This will bring out their rich flavor. 

When the pecans are ready and the rice is warm you can toss everything together along with the dried cranberries, golden raisins, and a little fresh parsley. 

How to Reheat Rice in the Microwave

It’s easy to reheat rice in the microwave. The key is adding liquid so you don’t dry it out! 

To reheat your rice:

  1. Place it in a microwave safe dish with tablespoons of water for every 1 cup of cooked rice. 
  2. Dampen a paper towel and lay it over the top of your rice. 
  3. Microwave for 2-3 minutes then stop and stir. If it is not heated through, place it back in the microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes. 
bowl of Pecan Rice Pilaf

How to Store It

To store your rice, let it cool completely and then place it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.

To freeze your rice, let it cool completely and then place it in a gallon freezer bag. Gently spread it out so it is flat and then place in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

To reheat frozen rice we suggest using the microwave method described above. Start by warming it for 3-4 minutes in the microwave and then add additional time as needed. 

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Servings: 8
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 45 mins

Pecan Rice Pilaf

This Pecan Rice Pilaf is an easy side dish made with flavorful rice and crunchy pecans. 
bowl of Pecan Rice Pilaf
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Salted butter, substitute with vegan butter if desired
  • 1/2 cup Onion, diced
  • 2 cups Uncooked white rice
  • 3.5 cups Vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1 cup Chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  • Add pecans to a skillet heated over medium heat and saute them until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Set pecans aside.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Once the onions are done add rice to skillet and stir well.
  • Add broth, salt, thyme, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  • Once the rice is done remove from the heat and use a fork to fluff the rice.
  • Gently toss the dried cranberries, golden raisins, pecans and parsley into the mixture. Place the lid back on and let sit (off of the heat) for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 323kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 874mg, Potassium: 167mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 401IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy rice pilaf, pilaf rice recipe, rice pilaf recipe

This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.