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This recipe for gluten-free Holiday Harvest Rice is the perfect vegan Thanksgiving side, complete with mushrooms, sage, apple, and pomegranate seeds.
I shared a little sneak peek of my vegan Thanksgiving meal this year on YouTube and TikTok and received so many requests for my Holiday Harvest Rice recipe! I make this dish every year, and it’s always a hit at holiday parties. Not only is it a crowd-pleasing vegan and gluten free side dish, but it also makes a hearty winter dinner recipe.
Once you try this festive vegetable-packed rice recipe, I think you’ll agree that it deserves a spot at any holiday table. It’s full of fresh herbs like sage that remind me of the holidays, and festive pomegranate gems.
How to Make Holiday Rice Salad
This dish is super easy to throw together with cooked rice, a mixture of seasonal vegetables and herbs. The beauty of this Holiday Harvest Rice is that you can enjoy it as an entree, or serve it as a side. It also stores well, so it’s leftover-friendly and great to make for the family.
The recipe is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and made with simple, whole food ingredients. You can even make it oil free! However, I recommend using a smidge of extra-virgin olive oil to help wake up the aromatics of the herbs.
Ingredients for Holiday Harvest Rice
Here’s what you need to make this vegetarian holiday recipe:
Mixed grains. I use a mix of quinoa, wild rice and long grain rice. However, you can use any grain or grain mixture that you like. I think using a mix adds a nice variety in texture and flavour.
Aromatics. This rice salad gets tons of flavor from onions, garlic, shallot, celery and carrots. Many great holiday dishes start here!
Mushrooms. Most vegans and vegetarians agree that sauteed mushrooms add an amazing umami component. There’s also just something so magical about fresh herbs and mushrooms together.
Fresh herbs. I like to use rosemary, sage and thyme–the holy trinity for holiday flavors in my book.
Apple. For some crunch, and light sweetness. Don’t worry if you’re not usually a fan of fruit in savory dishes. I find that the apple really helps to balance the dish and adds a nice freshness.
Pomegranate. These little ruby gems are a must-have. They add an amazing burst of tart flavour and of course, make the dish extra visually stunning.
Gluten-free soy sauce. This adds a unique depth of flavor that really brings out the delicious mushroom goodness.
Vegetable broth. You can also use water, but broth adds tons of flavor.
Tips for success
Use these tips to nail your holiday rice salad:
Finely chop the celery and carrots to speed up the cooking process. If you prefer crunch, however, feel free to keep your pieces a little larger in size.
To make the dish oil-free, simply omit the vegan butter. However you may want to use ground dried herbs instead of fresh. The oil really helps to bring out the flavor in the fresh herbs, so I recommend using at least a small amount.
You can prepare your grains in advance or use leftovers in place of the grain mix.
Ingredient Subs & Mix-Ins
This is a very forgiving recipe, so if you’d like to mix things up flavor-wise, here are a few swaps and additions to try:
Add toasted nuts or seeds like hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts.
Swap the apple for pear or dried cranberries or cherries
Use different herbs like tarragon or oregano.
Try a mixture of different mushroom varieties for added texture and flavor.
If you try this holiday harvest recipe, tag me on Instagram@veggiekinsso I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.
Add grains and vegetable broth to a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Once grains are ready, give them a gentle fluff and set aside.
In a large saucepan, sauté onion, shallot, celery and carrots with a touch of neutral oil until tender. Add garlic, mushrooms, herbs and gluten free soy sauce and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the cooked grains to the mix and gently fold to evenly combine all of your ingredients. Finally add apples to warm for a few minutes. If using vegan butter, toss into the rice until melted and nicely incorporated. Taste, and season your rice with salt and pepper as desired.
When ready to serve, toss pomegranate seeds into the rice and enjoy!
*Adding the vegan butter gives the dish a nice extra oomph and richness. You can exclude it if you’d like.
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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