Healthy ingredients, aromatic spices, and cozy vibes come together in a magical way creating this beautiful Lentil Mushroom Wild Rice Pilaf! Not only is it the perfect side dish for holiday gatherings and simple dinners alike, but add some delicious roasted butternut squash and pomegranates for a hearty meal. Loaded with flavorful mushrooms, tender lentils, and nutty wild rice, this tasty dish is sure to be a real crowd pleaser. Healthy and completely delicious, you can be assured that every bite will be flavorful and packed with deliciousness. Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 8 to 10 cloves)
- 1 cup vegetable broth (Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth) *
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder (+ if needed) *
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (+ more if needed) *
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon thyme (+ more if needed)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (+/- to taste) *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked small brown lentils*
- 8 oz. to 12 oz. mushrooms (of choice), sliced, we used button mushrooms (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari (optional)
- 3 cups cooked/steamed wild rice/brown rice combo (1 cup brown rice, ½ cup wild rice – uncooked) *
- Roasted butternut squash slices
- Pomegranate seeds
- (Tip: this step could be prepared the day before or you can use any left over rice you have in the fridge) This recipe calls for 3 cups of cooked wild rice, brown rice or a combo of both. We placed 1 cup of brown rice and ½ cup of wild rice together in our rice cooker, with 2 ¾ cups water and about ¼ teaspoon sea salt. We used the “white rice” setting on our rice cooker. It cooked the rice perfectly. Every rice cooker is different. Our “brown rice” setting overcooks the rice where it splits, so we use the white rice setting. You will have a little rice leftover as this combo of 1 cup brown coupled with ½ cup wild rice makes about 4 to 5 cups of rice. (see notes). We really enjoyed the combo of wild and brown rice.
- In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot or similarly large stockpot, add the finely diced onion. Sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 9 minutes until the onions are very tender. (If needed to prevent sticking, add a splash of vegetable broth or water).
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for one minute.
- Add the water, vegetable broth, and tomato paste bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer.
- Add all the seasonings, dried minced onion, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
- Add the uncooked small brown lentils. Cook for 25 to 35 minutes, uncovered. Watch them carefully toward the end of the cooking time as you want the lentils tender, but do not let them turn to mush. Keep testing them until they are perfectly tender. The small brown lentils hold their texture really well. Additionally, there should still be a small amount of broth left in the pan. This broth will be used to flavor the rice later.
- In the meantime, if you are adding mushrooms, slice (8 oz. or 12 oz.) mushrooms, then add to a nonstick skillet, sauté in 1 Tablespoon of Tamari until most (if not all) of the moisture has evaporated, then add to the lentil mixture toward the end of the lentil cooking time.
- Once the lentils are just tender, taste the lentils in the small amount of cooking broth as you may need additional seasoning. Now is the time to adjust the seasoning based upon preferences. Once you have the seasoning to your liking, then add 3 cups of the cooked wild/brown rice mixture and heat thoroughly in the pot for about 3 to 5 minutes. Taste again for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
- Serve as a beautiful side dish. It is especially beautiful topped with roasted butternut squash slices and pomegranate seeds.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients; however, this brand of vegetable stock does have a strong flavor so less broth is required when compared to the water ratio. We use a higher water to broth ratio because of this. If you use another brand of vegetable broth, then adjust the water/vegetable broth ratio accordingly. For example, swap the over, use 3 cups of broth and 1 cup of water.
*Small Brown Lentils (Pardina/Spanish Brown): You can substitute any type of lentil for the brown lentils (other than red); however, you will need to adjust the cooking time. Small brown lentils typically cook faster than green lentils. We have found that the Small Brown Lentils works beautifully with this recipe.
*Rice: The beauty of this recipe is you can substitute any type of rice you wish as well. We found that the brown rice and wild rice combination made a beautiful presentation. Additionally, our rice cooker steamed the rice perfectly using the “white” rice setting even though we used a combination of brown and wild.
*Roasted Butternut Squash: Peel and then cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Cut into ¾ th inch slices and place on a parchment lined baking dish, sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper (both sides). Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, then switch the oven to a low broil and then broil lightly. Lay a fan of roasted butternut squash across the top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds right before serving.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: 4 to 6 (serving size depends on if served as a dinner with additional sides like a butternut squash or as a side as is)
*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days.