HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


How can I make wild rice less boring?

I am trying to think of a side dish to bring to a potluck tomorrow. (The main course will be pork chops.)

Most of the recipes I'm seeing have wild rice, mushrooms and onion. Maybe some herbs. And that just isn't sounding all that exciting.

Does anyone have any other thoughts?

I have a good amount of wild rices in the pantry.

Also, maybe some non-potluck ideas for me, since I do have a good amount of it and would like to put it to some good uses.

(Oh - have to contend with a food allergy to bell peppers, so leave those out of the equation. Know that makes it harder.)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I like this:
    Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pecan Dressing

    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    2 large celery ribs, finely chopped
    2 cups wild rice, well rinsed
    5 cups homemade turkey broth or canned chicken broth
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    ½ teaspoon savory
    1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

    Put water and sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat to simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and cook just until all the cranberries are popped, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook; you want the cranberries to stay relatively whole. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a medium-size bowl, leaving the cranberry syrup in the saucepan. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add wild rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, salt, thyme and pepper. Heat to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender but pleasantly chewy, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain the wild rice of excess cooking liquid, if necessary. Add the wild rice mixture and the toasted pecans to the cranberries. Toss to mix well. To bake separately, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place in a buttered 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake, covered, until heated through, 30 to 40 minutes.

    I also like just plain wild rice cooked with stock, and throwing in smoe good-quality feta in while it's still nice and hot. Serve immediately (or allow to reheat a bit) so that the cheese is still soft and a little melty.

    9 Replies
    1. re: IndyGirl

      indy grl, i was thinking cranberries, too -- and your recipe looks fabulous!

      1. re: IndyGirl

        IndyGirl -- Thanks for this recipe. I'm making it now.

        Quick question. Do I use the cranberry syrup in this recipe?

        Or just save it for another use?


        1. re: karykat

          I am sorry I didn't see this earlier. Honestly ,it's been a couple of years since I made this but I don't think I used the syrup. Please let me know how it turns out!! I love it as a vegetarian side dish for Thanksgiving especially.

          1. re: IndyGirl

            Your recipe turned out great. I have a little left over which I'm looking forward to for lunch.

            I didn't use the syrup. I think it would be good over ice cream or yogurt.

            I think that cooking the rice in chicken stock made all the difference. Really added to the flavor.

        2. re: IndyGirl

          There's a cranberry wild rice salad they make at a market near my inlaws' place that is delicious. Sounds a lot like the one above except it also has some fresh mango pieces in it...the dressing also tastes a bit tropical/citrus-y (though it may just be the mango juices), and I'm not sure that the herb they use is thyme. But the salad is super delicious and I pig out on it every time I'm at my inlaws.

          1. re: yanz

            years ago i had a smoked turkey and wild rice salad with cranberries from whole foods' deli section. it was fantastic; i wish that i had that recipe.

            1. re: yanz

              Coincidentally, I ran across this wild rice and smoked chicken recipe on Epicurious about a week ago. It calls for mango chutney and coriander. I passed over it because I was looking for something to do with regular roasted chicken...


              I see it calls for golden raisins. It might be interesting to sub cranberries and see what you get.


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                dairy queen, i'm going to try that. thanks.

                the creamy dressing is what i recall. the recipe reminds me of the "chicken salad fit for a queen" chicken salad recipe with the curry powder, soy, mayo, grapes, almonds and served with pineapple: fruity, savory, creamy, spice-complex.

          2. Cook the wild rice in chicken or beef stock. In a separate pan, brown a mirepoix. Toss with the rice and add a few T of sherry. Easy and good.

            1. I would take this wild rice and coat cheese stuffing (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...) and use it as a base for what I would do. Since it was devised to go with turkey, adding some roasted chicken or turkey seems like a reasonable variation.

              1. I don't like wild rice much but had a delicious version recently (made by a caterer, no less!) that included white rice and barley, plus slivered almonds. Really worthy and I think you could wing it on the proportions.

                1. I got this from a magazine a couple of years ago, and it is really yum -- I've brought it to picnics, so I know it keeps well. Not predominantly wild rice, and you'll need 3 pots if you do it according to the recipe, but tasty!

                  1 cup short-grain brown rice
                  3/4 cup wild rice
                  1/4 cup olive oil
                  2 Tbsp. orange juice
                  2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
                  1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
                  1/2 cup raisins
                  Freshly ground pepper
                  1/4 cup sliced green onions
                  2 Tbsp. chopped dill
                  1 Tbsp. choped mint
                  2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
                  2 naval oranges, peeled and with pith removed, cut into segments then 1/2" pieces

                  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
                  2. Spread rice on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 mins. or until fragrant.
                  3. Bring 2 pots of salted water to a boil and add brown rice to one, wild to the other. Boil until tender but not exploded (brown rice about 25 mins, wild can vary greatly so start checking after 20). Drain both and spread out on the baking sheet to cool.
                  4. Combine oil, orange juice, wine vinegar, garlic, and raisins in a small pot. Bring just to a boil then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Season with S&P to taste, and drizzle dressing over rice on baking sheet. Add onions, herbs, and oranges, and toss gently to combine. Transfer to serving bowl. Serve at room temperature, checking seasoning right before serving.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: megjp

                    that sounds good too!

                    i love wild rice pilafs. the fruit component is a great complementary flavor.

                  2. I often make a pot of soup that is the same but or the starch: browned diced kielbasa, chopped onions stirred in to deglaze, add chicken broth and apple cider, chopped cabbage, a chopped peeled firm apple, sliced carrot, caraway, and white beans, barley, or wild rice. The starches cook for a half hour before the cabbage, apple, and carrot go in since they need less time. I usually splash in a little balsamic vinegar off-heat once the soup is finished. The wild rice does not need to be fully tender when taken off heat since there is carryover cooking as the 3-qts of soup cool. None of this is measured so I can't be more specific.

                    1. I would keep it simple; andouille sausage, onion, mushroom and seasoning. It's a side dish. Why use as many ingredients in it as for a main course?

                      1. I have a recipe for a wild rice casserole made w/ hot sausage and ground beef, if you'd like.

                        1. This is one of the most delicious things I've ever made and I don't even like wild rice, usually (Mr. Minnesota-Born loves it):

                          From CI More Best Recipes (the red/orange big fat book)

                          1 1/2 c wild rice, rinsed

                          1/2 oz dried porcini, rinsed and minced

                          3 tb butter

                          1 med onion, minced (I used the white and light green part of a leek about 3/4 in in dia, out of onions)

                          1/2 tsp thyme (I used a bay leaf instead, no thyme and not that crazy about anyway)

                          1/2 tsp salt

                          3 c water or chicken stock (I used water + Knorr stock cube, didn't add salt)

                          Oven at 375

                          Spread rice in bottom of glass (or pottery) baking dish

                          In medium saucepan cook onion in butter until slightly browned

                          Add porcini, herb, salt, cook until fragrant

                          COVER and bring to full boil

                          Pour over rice

                          Cover with double thickness of aluminum foil

                          Bake 70-80 mins

                          Let stand 10 mins before serving

                          Rice is tender but intact, not "blossomed".

                          1. like most grains, wild rice is better when lightly toasted before boiling.

                            1. I love this wild rice with roasted peppers and toasted almonds from epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Bell peppers are a no-can-do. But the rest of this looks good to me.


                                1. re: karykat

                                  Sorry about that. I even read that in your OP!


                              2. Thanks for all these ideas. I do have a good supply of wr to use and these will give me some good things to try.

                                magiesmom -- you mentioned toasting the rice first a bit. When I pulled out my bag of wild rice, it said "roasted wild rice." That caught my attention -- maybe part of the normal protocol for processing wild rice? But I think the toasting you're talking about is different -- a separate step like making a pilaf.