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4.8 from 5 votes

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf

When I think of fall, I think of this Butternut Squash, Cranberry and Wild Rice Pilaf. Earthy, sweet and a little tart, it is the perfect side dish for roast turkey, pork or chicken... or as a vegetarian main dish, or for lunch the next day!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 395kcal


  • 1 cup wild rice mix
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ cups butternut squash cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large onion cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • ¼ cup minced italian parsley
  • 1 cup citrus dressing
  • Citrus Dressing:
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼. teaspoon cardamon
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. honey OR agave nectar
  • ¼ lemon olive oil or ¼ cup olive oil with zest from 1 lemon


  • Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray.
  • Add the butternut squash and toss with 1 Tbsp. canola oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast squash for 20 - 25 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized.
  • Remove from oven.
  • While squash is roasting, combine the stock and rice in a large saucepan.
  • Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • While rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the 2 Tbsp. of canola oil. Add the chopped onions and saute for about 6 minutes until translucent.
  • Reduce heat and continue to cook onions until slightly caramelized. Remove onions from the pan and set aside.
  • Add pecans to saute pan and cook over medium heat, until toasted - watch closely so they don't burn!.
  • Add the cooked rice, butternut squash, onions and dried cranberries.
  • Drizzle with ¼ cup of the citrus dressing.
  • Stir. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if needed.
  • Garnish with minced parsley if desired. Serve!
  • Citrus Dressing:
  • Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.


  • I have used Lundberg, Trader Joe's,  and  NearEast Wild rice blends in this dish and they all worked beautifully. 
  • If making this ahead of time to eat over 2 - 3 days, only add enough pecans for the amount you are serving. If the pecans are left in the pilaf, they will get soft due to the moisture! 
  • Depending upon the size of your butternut squash, you will probably have extra squash. This recipe is pretty flexible and if you like butternut squash you can certainly add more to the recipe! 


Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 320mg | Potassium: 408mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 4130IU | Vitamin C: 21.4mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1.8mg