Pecan Rice Pilaf
Packed with pecans, dried cranberries and carrots, this Pecan Rice Pilaf is a flavorful side dish for any season!
What exactly is a pilaf? I mean I’ve heard the term ‘rice pilaf’ for years, but I admit that I didn’t actually know what a pilaf was. Recently, I was flipping through my mom’s old recipe book, and I stumbled across this Pecan Rice Pilaf recipe. Hmmm…pilaf. A quick check of my phone confirmed that rice pilaf is indeed different from ‘regular’ rice.
The primary difference is when the broth gets added. When making ‘regular’ rice dishes, the rice gets cooked in broth or water. When making rice pilaf, the uncooked rice gets sautéed with other ingredients before the broth gets added. This extra step adds a ton of flavor! In fact, I might only make rice pilaf from now on.
Pecan Rice Pilaf
This Pecan Rice Pilaf is a delicious combination of ingredients. The pecans add a noticeable nuttiness while the carrots and dried cranberries add a sweetness. Throw in some seasonings (and the extra flavor of the slightly toasted rice), and you’ve got one heck of a side dish!
We served this for dinner recently, and Laura pointed out that this is a side dish that could be served at any time of the year. This Pecan Rice Pilaf would be a great partner with grilled meats in the summer. The toasted pecans bring a noticeable fall flavor to this dish, and the dried cranberries add a touch of the holidays. All I know is I loved this recipe, and I seriously contemplated eating a big bowl of this rice pilaf for dinner by itself!
The very first step in making this Pecan Rice Pilaf is to sauté the pecans in melted butter and olive oil. Watch the pecans closely during this step as they can burn quickly. In fact, I got busy chopping the carrots and onions for this recipe, and I almost burned the entire batch of pecans. So don’t make the same mistake I (almost) made!
I made this rice pilaf with traditional long-grain white rice, but you could certainly use other types of rice here, too. Brown rice or wild rice would be excellent substitutions, although you will need to adjust the cooking time (just check the package instructions for whatever type of rice you use).
If you’re hunting for a flavorful (and easy) side dish that’s sure to impress family and friends, then put this Pecan Rice Pilaf on the menu! I have vague memories of my mother making this recipe when I was a kid. I’m glad I stumbled across this dish again, and I’m certain that this will become a new go-to side dish in our house. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!
Did you make this Pecan Rice Pilaf at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Pecan Rice Pilaf
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
- ¼ cup finely diced carrots
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- Using a large saucepan or deep skillet, add butter and olive oil and place over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add pecan halves and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Remove pecans with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
- Add rice and carrots and continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 more minutes.
- Add chicken broth, salt, thyme and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken broth has been absorbed.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in dried cranberries. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Stir in pecans (from above) and chopped parsley.
Looking for more tasty side dish recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:
Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks
Cheesy Butternut Squash Casserole
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will be making this soon can i use vegan butter and vegetable broth i never had pecan rice pilaf before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya
Hey Ramya! Yes, you can absolutely use vegan butter and vegetable broth for this pilaf. It’s delicious, and we love making this as a side dish during the colder months. Enjoy!
Nice. I used to make a lot of pilafs. I guess my husband became anti-carb, so I quit making grain dishes, although he’ll never say no to risotto. Anyway, I love the pecans and cranberries. Although wild rice tastes like sticks to me, a little bit would be good in this as well!
I bet you could do like a 1/2-wild rice, 1/2-white rice (or brown rice) mixture here, Mimi! In fact, I might have to try that next time we make this dish. The pecans + cranberries in this one give it a cold weather vibe that is absolutely delicious!
Sometimes I love the side dishes more than the main dish! This rice pilaf looks like one of those that I’m going to love! You just can’t go wrong with pecans and dried cranberries!
I totally agree with you, Kathy! Everyone focuses on the main dish, but sometimes the real star is the side dish. That’s the case here – this rice pilaf is absolutely fantastic! I truly could eat this by itself as a main dish.
Sounds great! I didn’t know that info about pilaf, so thanks for it.
And now you know the rest of the story…
I’ve never made rice pilaf, but this one with the pecans sounds super delicious, and festive to boot!
Definitely put rice pilaf on the list, Michelle – the extra boost of flavor from toasting the rice is fantastic! (And the pecans + cranberries help, too!)
I must admit David that I’ve tried making a few pilaf curries before but never considered that pilaf could also be a side dish. I like it. And yes I think that this would go well with some BBQ chicken!
Pilaf can indeed be a side dish! In fact, this pilaf is so good that I could eat it by itself as a main dish. The pecans + cranberries really add some fun layers of flavor!
This is genius! I absolutely adore sweet and savoury combos so this rice pilaf is totally calling my name right now. Such a delicious fall dish and definitely needs to happen soon! 🙂
The sweet and savory combination is what makes this rice pilaf so tasty, Dawn! I’m not kidding when I say I could eat this by itself for a meal. Yum!
Nice one, never had used pecan on rice and this gave me a nice idea, we have a similar tasting nut in the Philippines called pili, will try this recipe using that nut instead
Ooo…interesting idea! I’ve never come across pili, but it’s worth giving it a try with rice. This turned out really well!
oh yum i do love a pilaf tho butter and oil are not really on our eating list anymore 🙁 Mr P. has high blood pressure so we are eating carefully but anyways – this sounds wonderful!
Ah – sorry to hear that about Mr. P. Perhaps there’s a way to modify this recipe and still work with the high blood pressure diet? Either way, thanks, Sherry!
The pilaf sounds delicious and has a lovely festive feel to it.
My late mother used to say that sautéing the rice in butter or ghee with other ingredients makes the rice grains fluff well and this way they do not stick to each other 🙂
I totally agree – this rice pilaf recipe does have a festive feel to it. And it’s also delicious! Great tip from your mother about toasting rice in ghee/butter, too. I love cooking rice this way! Thanks, Taruna!
I will never make regular rice again.
Haha – thanks, Ryan! This rice > regular rice for sure.