Vegan Barley, Wild Rice, and Cranberry Pilaf

Vegan barley, wild rice cranberry pilaf recipe

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
328 Calories
25g Fat
23g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 328
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 33%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 252mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Protein 5g
Calcium 51mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When you're looking for a healthy side dish or a vegetarian main, turn to this healthy whole grain barley pilaf with wild rice and cranberries. It's flavored with orange juice, a touch of salt and fresh parsley, with chopped walnuts for extra texture and protein. It's a nutritious and high-fiber side dish or vegetarian main dish. You can also use this mixed grain pilaf to stuff an acorn squash or another oven-roasted fall squash for a colorful fall or Thanksgiving dinner entree.


  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 cup walnuts (coarsely chopped)
  • Optional: Feta cheese, greens for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegan barley wild rice cranberry pilaf
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. In a medium saucepan with lid, bring the water to a boil. Add the pearl barley, wild rice, and salt; return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 40 minutes or until barley is tender but chewy.

    Bring rice to boil
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. While the barley and wild rice mixture are cooking, pour the orange juice over the dried cranberries and set aside.

    Pour orange juice on cranberries
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. Drain any excess liquid from cooked barley and rice mixture. Place barley and wild rice in large bowl.

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  5. Drain the cranberries, reserving 5 tablespoons of the orange juice.

    Drain cranberries
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Toss cranberries with barley and wild rice.

    Toss in cranberries
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  7. Mix the reserved orange juice with the lemon juice and onion. Whisk in olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  8. Pour dressing over barley mixture. Add chopped parsley and toasted walnuts; mix well.

    Pour dressing over
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  9. If you're not eating vegan, you may want to top your cranberry pilaf off with a bit of crumbled feta cheese.

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  10. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • You can turn this pilaf into a salad for lunch, plate it with a few greens, either on a bed of butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves, or, some mesclun greens, arugula or kale italia