Fall Wild Rice Pilaf

Easy Meals

This fall wild rice pilaf is a delicious way to celebrate National Rice Month and enjoy the benefits of in-season fruits and veggies like apples, squash, kale and cauliflower. Dressed with a pumpkin vinaigrette, it’s flavorful, packed with nutrition and delicious!

One of my favorite things about fall (aside from pumpkin everything!) is the beautiful and delicious produce that’s in season. This fall wild rice pilaf has it all — crispy apples, sweet squash and hearty kale all at the peak of freshness. So flavorful and bursting with nutrition!

This fall wild rice pilaf embodies all of those wonderful things about fall fruits and veggies along with a base of wild rice, creating a hearty and nutritious grain bowl that’s just as delicious for leftovers the next day!

fall wild rice pilaf

It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and whole grains thanks to theU.S.-grown wild rice, fruits, veggies and beans it’s made with! Rice is the most popular grain globally and the primary dietary staple for more than half the world’s population.

This tiny but mighty U.S.-grown grain is nutrient-rich, supplying energy, complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, beneficial antioxidants and more than 15 vitamins and minerals.

Wild rice is grown in areas of the USA such as California, Oregon, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Fun fact: Wild rice is not technically a rice but is a semi-aquatic grass native to North America.

Definitely a pantry staple of mine, I love finding different ways to “dress up” wild rice and brown rice in different ways depending on the season and what I produce I have on hand. If you love fall as much as I do, I know you’ll love this fall wild rice pilaf, that would also make for a great Thanksgiving side dish!

Wild rice nutrition

Brown, wild, black, red and purple rice are 100% whole grain varieties. Research shows that eating whole grains can help reduce heart disease, may reduce the risk of certain cancers and may aid in weight maintenance.

Rice is a nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrate that the body slowly digests to help you stay energized throughout the day. Plus, research shows that eating rice increases levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, which helps boost mood and keeps appetite in check. I’ll definitely take that mood boost as we head into the colder months with less sunshine!

As you may know, rice and beans are traditionally eaten together and here’s why it’s more than just a delicious combination. When eaten together, rice and beans provide all essential amino acids and deliver complete high-quality plant-based protein. Nutrition power couple!

Is all rice gluten free?

Yes, rice is naturally gluten-free, highly digestible and the least allergenic of all grains. It’s a great option for people with Celiac disease or who choose to follow a gluten free diet.

Ingredients for fall wild rice pilaf

  • Wild rice
  • Delicata squash
  • Lacinato kalecurly kale would also work in this recipe, however I like the texture of lacinato kale better!
  • Butternut squash — fresh or frozen would work here.
  • Chickpeas
  • Apples
  • Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
fall harvest bowl with squash, apples, delicata squash, kale, cauliflower, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and wild rice
fall wild rice pilaf

Fall Wild Rice Pilaf

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
This fall wild rice pilaf is a delicious way to enjoy the benefits of in-season fruits and veggies like apples, squash, kale and cauliflower. Dressed with a pumpkin vinaigrette, it’s flavorful, packed with nutrition and delicious! 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 -5 servings


  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 delicata squash cut into half moons with the seeds removed
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup butternut squash cubed
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ½ cup lacinato kale de steamed and slightly massaged
  • 1 cup chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium-sized apples chopped
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • cup shredded parmesan

For the pumpkin vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt pepper and red pepper flakes


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss the delicata squash, cauliflower, and butternut squash with the avocado oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • In the meantime, cook the wild rice according to package directions on the stove or in a rice cooker.
  • Prepare the apples, chickpeas and kale. Slightly massaging the kale with a little bit of oil so that it softens. Next, prepare the pumpkin vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Once the rice has cooked and the veggies have roasted, toss everything together, topping with pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese last followed by the vinaigrette and enjoy! 
Keyword fall wildrice pilaf

The blog post is in partnership with the US Rice Federation. All opinions are my own and I’m proud to partner with brands and organizations that share my mission of making healthy food more accessible to everyone.

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wild rice pilaf with squash, kale, cauliflower, and pumpkin seeds
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