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Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf

This Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf combines the flavors of fall to create a tasty holiday side dish.

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

I’m trying to take in as much of the fall season as I possible can before the bitter cold grey of winter settles in the long haul.

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

The foliage here in Baltimore is at its height of allure, and I can’t help but to stop and stare at the rich, jewel-colored leaves during my morning walks with the pup. The other day I came across a tree comprised of every single color leaf: green, yellow, orange, and red. It was absolutely stunning. If I hadn’t been speeding down the road, I would have stood there for a bit to relish in its beauty (and probably snapped a few photos, too).

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

Fall is by far my favorite season. Like every other season–minus winter–I wish it would slow down and stay a while longer. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Instead, it zooms by like a massive 18-wheeler on the highway, blowing its horn as it passes as if to say, “See ya later sucka!”

I’ll take what I can get and enjoy the moment while it lasts.

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

With fall comes Thanksgiving, aka my favorite holiday of all time! A holiday centered around food without all the stress of having to buy gifts is my kind of holiday. I start planning my menu as soon as November 1st rolls around. I take my time planning every single element of the menu, but my main focus is always the side dishes. Let’s be honest, side dishes are where it’s at and why everyone shows up in the first place. I like to daze and confuse my guests when it comes to the side dishes. I include so many side dishes on the buffet, they don’t know where to start, which is why I like to serve my dinner on those compartmentalized plates they use in the school cafeteria–load it up and pile it on!

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

This Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf is everything you want from a fall side dish. Sweet dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and orange zest get folded in to a pot of fluffy white rice that has been cooked in a combination or white wine, chicken stock, and a healthy drizzle of Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract. What, orange extract isn’t just for chocolate dessert? Heck no! Their bright, citrus-y orange extract is perfect in this savory side dish.

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf

This fall-inspired side dish combines fluffy white rice with toasted pecans, sweet cranberries, and zesty orange.

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups white long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Orange Extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

Directions:

  1. Melt olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven or deep saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with the oil and butter. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the rice is toasted and nutty, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the white wine. Allow the wine to reduce and absorb into the rice, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, thyme, orange extract, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid. 
  4. Fold in the pecans, cranberries, and orange zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
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Disclosure: This recipe was developed for the lovely folks at Nielsen-Massey. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my recipes and site while I work with brands I adore.

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17 Responses to “Cranberry-Orange Rice Pilaf”

  1. #
    1
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious — November 2, 2015 at 9:04 am

    That is absolutely my kind of dish, for Thanksgiving or any dinner actually! So, so lovely, too. 

    Reply

    • Jennie replied November 2nd, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Thank you so much, Dorothy!

      Reply

  2. #
    2
    Heidi @foodiecrush — November 2, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I’m with you, the side dishes are where it’s at! What a unique ingredient combo, I love it!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied November 2nd, 2015 at 10:29 am

      Thank you so much, Heidi! 

      Reply

  3. #
    3
    Julie — November 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Holy Hannah! I keep sitting here staring at this. I love it! Stephie and I would eat the entire bowl and not have a moment’s regret. Just yum! 

    Reply

    • Jennie replied November 3rd, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you so much, Julie! It was gobbled up in no time.

      Reply

  4. #
    4
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — November 2, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Cranberries and orange – my favorite flavor combo of the holidays! Loving this savory dish! So perfect for Thanksgiving! 

    Reply

    • Jennie replied November 3rd, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks, Anna! Cranberry and orange is a favorite of mine, too!

      Reply

  5. #
    5
    Julie — November 4, 2015 at 11:37 am

    This looks like an awesome Thanksgiving side dish!

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons — November 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I like your Thanksgiving style, lady! I wish I could make just a TON of side dishes, but with just 6 of us for dinner, it would probably lead to more leftovers than we could reasonably use up. But, I do throw in one “extra” side dish each year (outside of the classic potatoes/green beans/stuffing, etc). I’m thinking a rice pilaf is sounding pretty good this year. I love the balance of sweet and savory in this one.

    Reply

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    7
    tanya — November 8, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I love fall too, but yes, it seems to only last about a day here!  But if winter is coming then I better stock up on good food!  I love this recipe, the flavors are just perfect! I have to try out that orange extract!

    Reply

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    8
    Susan — November 8, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I just adore NVM extracts, so much good flavor and like you Thanksgiving is all about the sides for me.  I take a tiny bit of turkey and load up on the sides!  I really never thought to serve rice but this pilaf is changing my mind.  It’s simply perfect. 

    Reply

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    9
    Courtney @ NeighborFood — November 11, 2015 at 10:18 am

    This is such a lovely dish–I love all the pops of color! It definitely fits this season’s gorgeous colors. My Thanksgiving table could definitely use this fresh, citrusy side dish!

    Reply

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    10
    Anita at Hungry Couple — November 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I love rice with “stuff” in it, if you know what I mean. And this is definitely the right kind of stuff!

    Reply

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    11
    Erin @ Thanks for Cookin'! — November 15, 2015 at 11:34 am

    YES to everything except compartmentalized plates. How is the gravy supposed to touch everything if it’s in its own little compartment? Hehehe in all seriousness I’m pinning this one!

    Reply

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    12
    Carla — November 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Never would have thought to use NM’s orange extract in a savory side dish! Forget Thanksgiving – I want to eat this rice pilaf every day.

    Reply

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    13
    Lauren @ Healthy Delicious — November 30, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    I love the sound of this. Orange in rice is so brilliant! 

    Reply

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