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Wild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots and Pecans

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This Wild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots is a delicious and versatile side dish or vegetarian main dish for any occasion, but it is especially delightful during the holidays! Simple to make in 3 easy steps, it’s a wonderful and healthy recipe you’ll love to serve your guests!

Horizontal view ofWild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots and Pecans on a white platter.

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While I’m calling this recipe a Wild Rice Pilaf, it could also be called a mixed-grain pilaf as it uses both wild rice and barley as the grain base. With beautiful flavors in the carrots, mushrooms, and peppers toss with the grains.

If you are looking for a healthy side dish that’s packed with good-for-you ingredients and delicious flavor, I think you’ll love this one as much as I do! It’s festive and delicious for your holiday table, yet easy enough for everyday dishes as well! Topped with fresh herbs and toasted pecans, it’s a delightful combination of flavors and textures. And pretty, too– and that’s a really good thing!

Why I Love This Wild Rice Pilaf

Here are a few reasons I absolutely love this healthy mixed grain pilaf. While the ingredients are simple and earthy, it’s a dish I can’t stop thinking about!

  • An Easy Side – While there are a couple of steps, this wild rice pilaf is an incredibly easy recipe to make for weeknights yet delicious enough to be served with a holiday main dish– like Easy Self Basting Roast Turkey Recipe with Citrus and Herbs.
  • Delightful Savory Flavors – This wild rice and barley pilaf is recipe is packed with earthy flavors as well as the bright flavors of fresh herbs.
  • Brilliant Colors – From the red of the peppers to the dark brown of mushrooms and wild rice, to pops of colors from the carrots (I’m using rainbow carrots for even more color) and the fresh herbs. It’s a kaleidoscope of holiday colors that you can be proud to bring to your table.
  • Make Ahead Friendly – The entire dish can be made ahead, reheated, and assembled just before serving.
Top view of Wild Rice Pilaf and Maple Glazed Carrots ingredients on a round wood board.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots Ingredients

Measurements for the ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here is a list of what you need.

  • Vegetable broth for cooking the grains
  • Grains: Dry wild rice and hulled barley
  • Aromatics: leek (a small onion can be substituted), garlic, and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary.
  • Vegetables: Carrots (I love to use rainbow carrots when available for additional color), sliced mushrooms like button, cremini, oyster, or shitake, and jarred and sliced roasted red bell pepper.
  • Chopped toasted pecans

Pearl Barley vs Hulled Barley

This recipe calls for hulled barley. You may wonder the difference between hulled barley and a common pantry ingredient, pearl barley.

The difference between the two is in the processing of the grains. Hulled barley comprises grains with only their outer husks removed and is darker. Pearl barley have both their outer husks and bran layers removed.

For this reason, pearl barley is not considered a whole grain, whereas hulled barley is regarded as a whole grain. Whole grain barley is a good source of fiber and contains proteinmagnesium, and iron!

Most often, whole-grain barley and pearl barley can be substituted in recipes. The only difference is the cooking time. If you want to substitute pearl barley in this recipe, reduce the cooking time.

Top view of Wild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots on a white oval platter.

How to Make Mixed Grain Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots

There are a couple of different elements or steps to making this delicious and healthy dish. But don’t let that keep you from making it. It’s really simple, tasty, and even pretty!

3 Steps to Making Mixed Grain Pilaf

  1. Cook the grains and wild rice
  2. Pan-sear glazed carrots in nonstick skillet
  3. Saute mushrooms (I like to use the same skillet) and reheat grains together.

Step 1: Cooking the grains and rice

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add wild rice and barley, and then return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until tender; about 40-50 minutes. Drain excess liquid (or reserve 1/4 cup for cooking the carrots). If using pearl barley, adjust the cooking time.

My markets did not have hulled barley available today so I used pearl barley and it was soft at about 40 minutes.

Step 2: Cook the maple glazed carrots

Combine carrots, 1/4 cup water (or additional broth), herbs, and maple syrup in a large nonstick skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook 3 minutes more, or until liquid is reduced and carrots are glazed.

Because I like to use the same skillet, I remove the carrots to a bowl and leave any remaining liquid in the pan.

Step 3: Saute the mushrooms

Saute the mushrooms, leeks, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly browned, adding water as necessary, up to 2 tablespoons, to prevent sticking. Then add roasted red pepper, cooked grains, salt, and pepper, toss together, and heat through.

On a serving platter, spread the grains and mushrooms and top with maple-glazed carrots, fresh herbs, and toasted pecans.

When to Serve Wild Rice Pilaf and Maple Glazed Carrots

I love to serve this dish during the holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. It’s healthy and hardy enough to be a main dish for my vegetarian friends, but also a delightful side alongside Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Side corner view of Wild Rice Pilaf and Maple Glazed Carrots on a white platter with fresh rosemary garnish.

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Horizontal view ofWild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots and Pecans on a white platter.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots and Pecans

This Wild Rice Pilaf with Maple Glazed Carrots is a delicious and versatile side dish or vegetarian main dish for any occasion, but it is especially delightful during the holidays! Simple to make in 3 easy steps, it's a wonderful and healthy recipe you'll love to serve your guests!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dry wild rice
  • 3/4 cup dry barley hulled or pearl
  • 3 cups carrots sliced on bias
  • 2 teaspoons fresh herbs like thyme, parsley or rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms like button, cremini, oyster or shitake
  • 1 small leek white and light green parts, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell pepper sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pecans toasted

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add wild rice and barley and then return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender; about 45 to 50 minutes. Drain excess liquid (or reserve for sauteing the carrots).
  • Combine carrots, 1/4 cup water (or reserved broth), herbs, and maple syrup in a large nonstick skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 3 minutes more until liquid is reduced and carrots are glazed. Transfer to a bowl and leave the remaining liquid in the skillet.
  • In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms, leeks, and garlic over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly browned, adding water as necessary, up to 2 tablespoons, to prevent sticking. Add red pepper, cooked grains, salt and pepper to taste, toss together and heat through.
  • On a serving platter, spread the grains and mushrooms, top with maple glazed carrots, fresh herbs and toasted pecans.

Notes

Storage: This mixed-grain pilaf will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 614mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 11012IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Main Course, Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: wild rice pilaf, maple glazed carrots

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