| Pantry Makes Perfect |

Fruity Rice Pilaf

Photo Credit: Saraizel Senderovits

One of my pantry staples is the boxed rice mixes. They’re perfect to whip up for a last-minute side dish — and I won’t lie, it’s very often last minute in my house.

But I wanted a bit of a change too, so I decided to throw in some extras. Because I almost never use dried fruit when cooking savory dishes, I was really pleasantly surprised when the pot was licked clean.

This is a super-quick and easy dish, yet still elevated enough to serve to company.


  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 6-oz (172-g) box rice pilaf (I used Abigail’s Kitchen brand)
  • 1¾ cups water
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pecan halves

In a medium saucepan, heat oil and slowly caramelize sliced shallots until golden brown. Add rice. Mix with shallots and toast for about 3 minutes, mixing regularly. Add water.

When the water comes to a boil, lower heat to medium, cover pot, and let cook for 15 minutes.

At this point, add dried cranberries and pecans and cook for about 5 minutes until water is completely absorbed and rice is soft.

Remove pot from heat. Let it cool for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.


Shallots can be swapped with onions, I just had no onions in my house.

You can use any ready-made rice mix. Alternatively, use 1 cup of your favorite rice and season with 14 tsp each of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and dried parsley.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 827)

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