Wild Rice and Kale Pilaf

My recipe for "Wild Rice and Kale Pilaf" is a variation of the popular pilaf recipes from around the world. I have used wild rice as the base instead of white rice. Wild rice is actually not rice but the seeds of a variety of grass grown in North America and other countries. The wild rice grains are very hardy with a fibrous outer layer. The taste is also unlike regular rice with an earthy and nutty flavor. Wild rice is gluten-free and very rich in proteins which is a  major health benefit compared to regular rice. My recipe for “Wild rice and Kale pilaf” uses wild rice, kale, green peas, onions, carrots, jalapenos, tomatoes, spices ( Turmeric, red pepper, garam masala OR biryani masala, cumin and coriander powders) ginger-garlic paste, and a topping of roasted nuts and raisins. You may add other vegetables like bell peppers, capsicums, zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts, or asparagus. Mushrooms and sprouted lentils would be a good addition too. I have made wild rice and kale pilaf many times and yet I love it every time. It is a guilt-free and healthier way to enjoy the highly popular pilaf taste. You may store this pilaf in the refrigerator for up to a week or deep freeze it for up to a month ( maybe longer but I have not tried it). Just microwave or reheat the pilaf until it is hot and steamy.  Optional: Enjoy the pilaf with plain or cucumber raita. An easy version of raita can be made with full-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt preferred), grated cucumber, diced tomatoes,  salt, cumin powder, chili powder, and chopped mint.  I hope you will find this recipe helpful and tasty. Please rate this recipe. If you have liked it, please share it with your friends. For more updates on new recipes, please subscribe.
Cooking Method , , ,
Difficulty Intermediate
Cook Time: 57 mins
Servings 4

Wild Rice and Kale Pilaf recipe is inspired by the popular Asian and Mid-eastern recipes, which is Gluten-free and Vegan. The added vegetables, nuts, and spices make it flavorful and healthy.

    To cook wild rice
  • 1 cup Wild Rice
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Vegetables
  • 1 Large red onion (Julienned)
  • 2 Jalapeños (Deseeded)
  • 1 Medium size carrot (Julienned)
  • 2 Firm Tomatoes (Diced)
  • 1 cup Green peas (Fresh / Frozen)
  • 4 cups Kale (Finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro (Finely chopped)
  • Spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chili powder / Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garam masala / Biryani masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • Toppings
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Raisins
  • 1 tablespoon Cashews
  • Other Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon Cooking oil (For frying the vegetables)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cooking Oil / ghee (For frying the nuts)
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato paste (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic paste
  1. Equipment Needed
    • Pressure cooker / electric cooker / Open pan for cooking wild rice
    • Wok or a deep skillet or frying pan to prepare the Pilaf
    • Small pan to fry the nuts
  2. Cooking the wild rice
    • (The ratio of wild rice to water and the time to cook varies depending on the method of cooking - I use wild rice to water ratio as below for different methods of cooking:
      1. Electric cooker - 1:2
      2. Pressure cooker - 1:2.5
      3. Open pan - 1: 4 )
    • My preferred method is an Electric cooker as the water evaporates completely and the nutrients are retained in the rice.

    If you want to cook with an Open pan, the below instructions are useful. 

    • Rinse the wild rice in a fine-mesh strainer by holding it under cold running water. Shake to drain. ( This is a common step for all methods of cooking wild rice)
    • Bring the rice and water to a boil in a saucepan along with the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
    • When the water starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a slow but steady simmer and cover the pan.
    • Cook for 45 minutes. Check the rice. It should be chewy and some of the grains will have burst open. It may need an additional 10 to 15 minutes — keep checking the rice and stop cooking when the grains are tender.
    • Drain the wild rice: When the rice is done, pour it into a strainer to drain off any remaining liquid.
  3. Prepare the vegetables
    • Wash the Kale thoroughly, remove the stems and just retain the soft leafy parts. Chop the kale finely.
    • Cut onion and carrot into Julienne strips
    • Deseed and dice the Jalapenos into thin rings
    • Dice the tomatoes
    • Clean and chop the cilantro
    • Grate the ginger and crush the garlic ( or grind ginger and garlic to form a fine paste)
  4. Cooking the Pilaf
    • Keep a deep skillet or frying pan on the stove at medium heat and add the cooking oil
    • When the oil becomes hot, add the carrot and stir for 1-2 minutes on high heat until the carrot strips are softened
    • Add the onions and jalapenos and Keep stirring for about 2-3 minutes until the onions start to change color
    • Now add the ginger and garlic. Stir for a couple of minutes. 
    • Lower the heat and let the vegetables cook for another minute ( this is important as we don't want the spices to get burnt)
    • Now add all the spices and salt. Mix well
    • Now add the finely chopped kale. Keep the heat at the lowest level and cover the lid. The kale will soon reduce in volume as the water separates.  
    • Stir well for 2-3 minutes to ensure that the spices have been mixed with the veggies 
    • Add the tomatoes and green peas, stir well and let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
    •  Add the chopped cilantro and mix well after removing from the heat
  5. Prepare the toppings
    • Take a small frying pan and add ghee or oil. (refer to ingredients list).
    • Keep the heat on medium.
    • Add the desired quantity of chopped almonds, cashew, and raisins.
    • Keep stirring on medium heat for about 5-8 minutes until the cashews turn light brown. ( you may also dry roast the nuts if you don't want to use oil)
    • We don't want the nuts to get darker but just light frying as it will give a nice crunch and taste.
    • Remove from heat.
  6. Serving
    • The Pilaf has to be served hot.
    • Take a desired quantity of pilaf in the serving plate 
    • Add some roasted nuts on top
    • Enjoy the tasty and flavorful wild rice and kale pilaf
  • Pilaf is best eaten hot. 
  • You may refrigerate the pilaf for up to a week or deep freeze it for a couple of months. But make sure that the pilaf is thawed and reheated thoroughly before eating. 


Keywords: Wild rice, Kale, Pilaf, Pilav, Pulav, Pulao,
Vinay Mummigatti

I love traveling, cooking, and reading. This blog is a reflection of my passion for cooking. Food is a representation of culture and I have tried to assimilate foods from different cultures across the world. I am an Indian by birth who moved to the USA 20 years back. I hope my recipes and articles bring new experiences and joy to the readers. Please share your comments and feedback.