Introduction: Sweet Potato Pilaf With Cranberries and Pecans

About: I like to cook and I blog about it. I love to garden and everything about it. I like listening to NPR and watching cooking shows. I have two sons. The oldest I put in collage and he is a Medical Assistant.

This rice pilaf is delectably wonderful with dried cranberries, pecans, and roasted sweet potatoes. Brown rice is the best to use as it has its fiber intake. Having all of its nutritional value compared to white rice, white is processed and striped of its nutrition.

According to Elements4Health, brown rice is high in protein and dietary fiber, cholesterol-free, low fat and rich in certain vitamins and minerals. The oil in brown rice has cholesterol-lowering effects and researchers have found that eating two or more servings weekly can lower risk of type 2 diabetes (

Brown rice has vitamin K, good for blood clotting and bone health. White rice is stripped clean of that benefit. Just one cup of cooked long-grain brown rice provides 216 calories, 5.03 grams of protein, 1.75 grams of total fat, 44.77 grams of carbohydrates and 3.5 grams of fiber. But remember, one cup can be 2 to 3 servings. So if you are worried about the carbs, that 44.77 grams is more like 14.9 grams per serving.  Also note, that the cards in brown rice are complex carbs. Meaning they digest slower, therefore blood sugar levels are even and nothing goes to fat. White rice can’t claim that, as it has been left out after being stripped of its fiber.

Step 1:

So eat with confidence this great side dish that will go well with any chicken or pork prepared dinner. Here is what you will need:

1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
5  tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 to 1 tsp. pie spice 

Step 2:

After you roast the sweet potato, set it aside. Add it last when preparing the rice dish. If you add it at the begging or middle of mixing the ingredients, the heat will continue to cook it and the vegetable will be more mushy.

Pour broth into a medium sauce pot over high heat. Pour in rice and bring to a boil; lower heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is done and tender. 

While rice is cooking, peel and dice sweet potato. Place into a large bowl; add 2 tbsp. oil, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Line a jelly roll pan with a piece of tin foil. Spread coated vegetable evenly over foil. Place pan into oven and roast 20 to 25 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Remove and set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 3 tbsp. oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, until soft and lightly colored, 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 3:

Next add dried cranberries and pecan, stir another 3 minutes. Spoon in cooked rice and mix well. Turn off heat and add sweet potato and incorporate well. Sprinkle with pie spice and gently mix in to combine flavor with other ingredients. Let stand covered, 5 minutes.

Step 4:

Serve the dish hot or room temperature; optional to garnish with cilantro or Italian parsley.

Step 5:

As we said at the begging of this article, this side dish goes well with chicken or pork. Here we served it with seasoned chicken breast. This image is showing a close up of of the sliced chicken breast to show you the chicken is done with no pink in the middle but still juicy. Cook your chicken until the meat reaches 165 degrees internally, than take it out of the oven or remove it from the stove top.

Cooking the chicken longer will not only dry it out, but will begin to kill the mineral and vitamin content of the meat. Minerals such as iron, need for oxygen delivery in your body. Also small amounts of calcium, needed for muscle function including the heart. You also will not receive 8 percent of the vitamin A you need each day which improves eyesight. A serving of chicken breast also provides smaller amounts of vitamin C which is good for your immune system to fight off illnesses.

Step 6:

We hope hope you enjoy Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans with any dish you serve it with.

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