This wild rice stuffing is packed with butternut squash, dried cherries and fresh herbs. It’s a delicious gluten-free and vegan alternative to traditional stuffing and is the perfect addition to your holiday table.
I can’t believe I’m sharing a Thanksgiving recipe right now. It’s crazy town how fast time flies by. It feels like yesterday we were celebrating the 4th of July. That said, I’m officially accepting that it’s November and time to start preparing for the holidays – first up, Thanksgiving!
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner the sides have always been my favorite part. Well… maybe dessert then the sides because Thanksgiving desserts are seriously the best.
Traditional bread stuffing isn’t my jam, but I can totally get down with some herby, rice stuffing. Probably because it’s similar to grain bowls and grain-based salads, two things I adore.
This particular stuffing is quite lovely because the base is a wild rice blend with five different types of rice, which offers a nutty flavor and a variety in texture. It’s also loaded with fresh herbs, roasted squash and dried cherries for a host of flavors that complement one another.
I teamed up with the Northwest Cherry Growers to create this wild rice stuffing recipe so the dried sweet cherries are the true star here. Not only for their sweet taste but for the nutritional benefits they provide as well. I’m sure you’re aware that cherries are good for you, but did you know that they’re lower on the glycemic index than almost any other fruit as well as a good source of potassium, fiber, antioxidants and melatonin? Studies have shown that cherries may help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and their anti-inflammatory properties can help control arthritis and gout.
Prepare butternut squash: To start, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Chop your butternut squash into chunks and place them on a baking sheet with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss to combine. Roast the butternut squash for about 30 minutes (tossing about 15 minutes through) or until the chunks are fork-tender.
Cook rice: While the squash is roasting, cook the rice. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion and garlic to the pan and add sea salt and pepper. Sauté together for about 10 minutes. Add the wild rice, broth, bay leaf, and half of the sage and thyme and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
Serve: Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from heat and remove the bay leaf. Let the rice cool for about 5 minutes then stir in cherries, roasted squash and reserved sage and thyme. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed and enjoy!
If you’re in the middle of planning your Thanksgiving menu this year, let me inspire you! I highly recommend skipping the traditional bread stuffing and trying this wild rice stuffing instead. I think you and your family will love it! Serve alongside:
This recipe is great for making ahead of time to free up prep-time for your holiday meal! Just prepare as instructed and then keep covered in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, warm in the oven at 350ºF for 10-20 minutes or until the rice is warm.
Leftovers (if there are any!) will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.