Gluten Free Butternut Squash Wild Rice Stuffing with Pears and Pecans

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

During the holidays, it's easy to fall into the habit of eating a lot of high-carb side dishes and high-sugar desserts. Since I eat a gluten-free diet, I try to stick to dishes that are healthful, easy to prepare and feed plenty of guests.

For this reason, skipping the bread-based stuffing recipes and sticking to wild rice stuffing that’s full of flavorful, healthful ingredients has been my go-to over the last few years.

Generally, I find wild rice side dishes are great for entertaining guests. Most people I know adore rice in any form, and it can be made in bulk for optimal sharing. From a health standpoint, wild rice is a marvelous slow-burning carbohydrate, which helps complete your meal in a filling, comforting, yet nutritious way.

When it comes to holiday stuffing (or “dressing” as some folks call it), I love adding diced butternut squash (or sweet potato or beets), pecans (or walnuts), pears (or apple), dried cranberries, dried and fresh herbs, and just a touch of orange zest and cinnamon. All of these flavors together turn out warm, rich and inviting — you’d never know the recipe is filled with only healthy ingredients.

Personally, when I prepare Thanksgiving turkey, I rarely stuff the turkey and leave the “stuffing” or “dressing” on the side. You can definitely use this recipe as turkey stuffing or do as I do and leave it as a side dish. Whatever you choose, your guests will surely love the fall flavors and will be delighted to consume a dish that’s equal-parts delicious and nutritious.

While the preparation is simple, this recipe does take awhile, so be prepared to set aside a chunk of time to complete it. All you need to do is sauté the vegetables in a large oven-safe pot that has a lid (I used my cast-iron Dutch oven), add the rice and remaining ingredients, allow it to simmer on the stovetop, then finish it off in the oven to get a crispy top and flavor-infused dish.

When all is said and done, this crowd-pleasing dish feeds 6-10 people (depending on portion size) and can easily be a staple in your house throughout the fall and winter. Enjoy this wild rice stuffing for any of your holiday gatherings.

40 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Serves: 4 | Yields: 8 servings
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups Private Selection™ wild rice
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. Kroger Dried Oregano
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 4 cups water (or broth)
  • 1 cup Kroger Raw Pecan Pieces
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  1. Place dry wild rice in a bowl and fill with water. Soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, onion and butternut squash to a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chopped pear, garlic, rice, sea salt, oregano and cinnamon and stir, then sauté 3 minutes.
  4. Add the dried cranberries, water and orange zest, and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, cook 40-50 minutes, until much of the water has been absorbed.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Uncover the pot, place on the center rack of the oven and bake 10-20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed and top is crispy.
  6. Remove from pot from the oven and stir in chopped pecans and fresh parsley. Taste the stuffing and add salt to taste.
  7. Serve alongside your holiday entree or use as turkey stuffing.

View Party Plan: Thanksgiving Feast