Wild Rice Stuffing

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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.

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 usually my jam (although my sourdough stuffing is absolutely delicious!) but I can totally get down with some herby, wild 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.

Wild rice stuffing in a serving bowl.

Why You Need to Try This Recipe

  • It’s gluten-free and vegan!
  • It’s a healthier alternative to traditional stuffing!
  • Packed with loads of flavor and a variety of textures!
Ingredients measured out to make wild rice stuffing: broth, dried sweet cherries, olive oil, salt, pepper, celery, thyme, butternut squash, bay leaf, onion, sage, wild rice blend and garlic.

Here’s What You Need

  • butternut squash – peeled and chopped into small chunks then roasted!
  • olive oil – to sauté the veggies in. You can use whatever oil you prefer, but I recommend olive oil or avocado oil. Butter or vegan butter is a good alternative.
  • garlic, celery and yellow onion – a savory base for the rice.
  • sea salt and pepper – to season.
  • wild rice blend – the star of the show! I love the Lundberg Wild Blend Rice brand.
  • vegetable broth – the liquid to cook the rice in. Cooking the rice in a broth instead of water instantly amps up the flavor of this dish. If you don’t need it to be vegetarian or vegan you can use chicken broth if you prefer. If you don’t have broth on hand water will work, it just won’t add extra flavor!
  • bay leaf, fresh sage and fresh thyme – deliciously harmonious herbs to flavor this dish.
  • dried sweet cherries – adds a delicious hint of sweetness to this recipe and they’re full of antioxidants and nutrients! Dried cranberries are a great substitute. I just recommend grabbing dried fruit that’s fruit-sweetened instead of with cane sugar.
Collage of 9 photos showing the steps to make wild rice stuffing: roasting the butternut squash, sautéing onions and celery, cooking the rice and finally stirring the rice with the squash and dried cherries.

How to Make Wild Rice Stuffing

Prepare butternut squash: To start, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Chop your butternut squash into chunks and place them on a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of 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, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium 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 mixture 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!

A bowl of wild rice stuffing.

Stuffing Variations

  • Swap the grain – if you aren’t a wild rice fan or don’t have any on hand I bet this stuffing would still be delicious with white or brown rice. If you’re looking for a stuffing recipe with quinoa you should try my butternut squash quinoa stuffing recipe.
  • Swap the butternut squash – you could substitute the butternut squash with any hearty winter squash like Acorn squash or Kabocha squash. Sweet potato would be another great alternative.
  • Add nuts – chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans would be delicious in this stuffing recipe!
  • Add veggies – want to add more veggies? Go for it! Carrots or mushrooms would be my top choices.
  • Swap the dried fruit – don’t have dried cherries on hand or can’t find them at the store? Use dried cranberries or dried figs. If you’re looking for a fresh fruit option chopped apples or pomegranate arils would add some freshness and be delicious in this stuffing!
  • Looking for a more traditional stuffing? If you’re like Isaac and prefer more of a traditional stuffing with bread try my sourdough stuffing. It’s so good (and I’m not even a classic stuffing person)!
A bowl of wild rice stuffing.

What to Serve With Wild Rice Stuffing

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 making this stuffing recipe instead. I think you and your family will love it! Serve alongside:

Wild rice stuffing in a pot.

How to Store

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. I haven’t tried freezing it, but I bet this stuffing would freeze well. Just let it cool completely and store it in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the oven.

More Holiday Side Dishes

Be sure to check out the full collection of vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes as well as all of the side dishes on EBF!

Wild Rice Stuffing

5 from 6 votes
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.
Wild rice stuffing in a serving bowl.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil or avocado oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups wild rice blend
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dried sweet cherries
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place butternut squash chunks on a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and toss to combine. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender. Tossing once around the 15 minute mark.
    Cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet.
  • While squash is roasting, cook rice. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion and garlic to the pan; toss and add 1 teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes. Stir in wild rice, broth, 1 Tablespoon sage, 1 teaspoon thyme and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil.
    Wild rice and ingredients in a pot.
  • Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Toss and remove bay leaf, then let the rice cool for about 5 minutes.
    Wild rice simmering in water in a pot.
  • Stir in cherries, roasted squash and reserved sage and thyme. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
    Wild rice stuffing in a pot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cup Calories: 295kcal Carbohydrates: 56g Protein: 5g Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Sodium: 383mg Potassium: 288mg Fiber: 6g Sugar: 13g
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: wild rice stuffing

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    11 comments
    1. Ashley
      November 27, 2019 AT 4:11 pm

      5 stars
      Making this for the 4th time for Thanksgiving! My husband and dad go crazy for this. Thanks for a great recipe!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 29, 2019 AT 5:06 pm

        Oh yay!! This makes me so happy to hear, Ashley! I’m glad it’s a hit with your family. Thank you for coming back to leave a comment and star rating, it means the world to me. <3

    2. Trela Rogerson
      November 18, 2019 AT 8:50 pm

      4 stars
      I just mad this recipe as a test before Thanksgiving 2019 Dinner. It will most definitely be on the menu for Thanksging Dinner. It is yummy. And very seasonal dish. Thank you for the recipe. Trela.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 19, 2019 AT 2:26 pm

        Hey Trela, I’m so happy to hear that you tried and enjoyed this recipe! I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment and star rating. <3

    3. Trela Rogerson
      November 9, 2019 AT 7:46 am

      Is the widrice stuffing freezeable? I like to do a lot of meal prepping. Thanks in advance.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 10, 2019 AT 7:00 pm

        Hey Trela! I haven’t tried freezing it, but it should freeze just fine. Just make sure it’s in an airtight container. 🙂

    4. Karah
      November 28, 2018 AT 12:20 am

      Is the wild rice blend a dry product, canned, or heat and eat?

    5. Amanda
      November 2, 2017 AT 7:27 pm

      This is my kind of stuffing! I just wish I could find dried cherries without added sugar.

      1. Melissa
        November 28, 2017 AT 11:48 am

        Trader Joe’s carries them if you have access to one!

      2. Brittany Mullins
        November 19, 2017 AT 12:22 pm

        Thanks Amanda. Check nuts.com. I just noticed that they have dried cherries without added sugar.

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