This Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf will make a delicious new side dish for your holiday dinner! The spinach rice makes a hearty base for the slightly sweet cranberries and pears. With the little red and green, it really does make the perfect Christmas side dish recipe!
Delicious Cranberry Rice Pilaf with Spinach, Pears and Pecans for your next holiday dinner or potluck!
Minute Rice is one of those things you will always find in my pantry because it’s such an easy side dish for us to cook up and makes a great addition to soups, casseroles and more. So when creating a new side dish for the holiday season, it was an easy decision to turn to Minute Rice as the base, and I’m glad I did. This rice pilaf recipe is festive in color and full of big flavors!
The first time I shared this Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf, I shared it at a local blogger party! We all created rice recipes to share with the group, and it was so fun to see the diversity. We had an appetizer recipe, a soup recipe, a couple main dish recipes, a couple side dish recipes, AND a couple dessert recipes. Plus I made a batch of Coconut Horchata which is a creamy, dairy drink made from rice! It’s perfect for adding to your coffee! I bet you didn’t realize how versatile rice really can be.
I know you think I would say this Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf either way but it really was amazing! It has a light, fruity flavor with the inclusion of pear, including pear juice to cook the rice, and dried cranberries. Plus, I added in pecans which gave the dish a nice subtle crunch. The dish can easily be made nut free, though, as I regularly do when making the recipe for my family because of allergies. My favorite part though is the hint of red and green in the dish that makes it a little more festive as a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish!
I could have easily used white rice, brown rice, or wild rice in this Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf, but I decided to use the Multi-Grain Medley because it’s a great blend of 4 gluten free grains – brown rice, Thai red rice, wild rice and quinoa. It has a slightly nutty flavor that I think brings a lot of richness to a dish like this. Plus, it cooks in only 10 minutes which is always a win for me!
The best part? You can really enhance the flavor of the rice by substituting the water for a fruit juice or broth. In this case, I cooked the rice with pear juice! Next time you whip up a rice side dish, you should really give it a try!
As a side note, the rice pilaf also makes really tasty leftovers! We actually heated it up for dinner with friends the next night in the oven with foil over top, and they all loved it!
You Might Also Like These Other Holiday Side Dishes:
- Garlic Herbed Skillet Potatoes
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Apples
- Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic Butter Sauce
- Pomegranate Pecan Brussel Sprouts
Are You Ready to Make a Batch of Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf?!
- 1.5 cups Minute Rice of your choice
- 1 3/4 cups pear juice, substitute for the water exactly
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 pear, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
- 1 cups chopped pecans
- 2 cups spinach, chopped into strips
- In a large non-stick pot, prepare rice following the instructions and substituting the water for the pear juice.
- In a large skillet, melt butter and add chopped onions. Cooked for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and pecans for another few minutes, stirring often. Lastly add pear in for a couple minutes, stirring often. Then, remove from heat.
- Add rice, cranberries and seasoning - stir well.
- Serve right away or put in oven on low to keep warm until ready!