This savory herb Wild Rice Fennel Stuffing recipe is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish! It's gluten free, vegetarian, and super comforting.
This Wild Rice Stuffing is the perfect way to celebrate our collective love of food. It's warm and homey and aromatic. The ultimate Thanksgiving side dish!
Thanksgiving is upon us and I'm good with that. I'm all for holidays that revolve around the consumption of food and nothing more. I don't get into football or Black Friday planning or anything like that.
I do get into gravy and pie and stuffing. Especially stuffing. I love a good savory butter-dotted pan of carbohydrates.
I love that there's one guilt-free day a year to eat whatever we want without judgement when the Denise Austin workout videos can wait for another day.
My husband and I took a trip to Grand Marais, MN last week. Grand Marais is a quaint little town on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota.
We love Grand Marais for the hiking, smoked fish, picturesque scenery, and artsy vibe. The fall colors were still going strong so I had lots of opportunities to get in some nature photography.
Another great thing about northern Minnesota is that wild rice is available everywhere. Even the gas stations sell massive bags of this stuff.
What Is Wild Rice?
Wild rice is interesting because it's not actually rice - It's a grain from a species of grass. It's naturally gluten free, incredibly healthy, and super tasty.
It has a nutty, earthy flavor that's hard to beat. If you've never tried it - you're in for a treat.
What Is Fennel?
One of my favorite things to flavor stuffing with is fennel. I grew some fennel in my garden this summer and thought this would be the perfect way to utilize it.
The fennel kind of acts like an alternative to celery in this dish. The flavor is slightly licorice-like and it's got a nice crunch. Wild rice and fennel are delicious together.
The first steps are to cook the wild rice and toast the bread.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut a loaf of gluten free bread (or regular bread if not gluten free) into cubes.
- Place them on a baking sheet and toast for 12 minutes. Remove pan and set aside.
It's important that the bread cubes are toasted or they will not absorb the egg mixture properly, which results in a mushy texture instead of a firm texture after the stuffing is baked.
You can make gluten free sandwich bread from scratch if you prefer.
Feel free to use regular white bread if gluten is not an issue for you.
How To Cook Wild Rice
- To cook the wild rice add 1 cup of uncooked rice to 3-4 cups of boiling water.
- Reduce to a simmer/low boil and cover.
- Cook for 30-35 minutes or until the rice starts to soften and the kernels start to open. Drain and set aside.
- As the rice cooks, mince 6 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and cut 1 bulb of fennel into small pieces.
Alternatively, you can cook the wild rice in an Instant Pot. This Instant Pot Wild Rice is ready in 30 minutes and it's a great way to save on cooking time!
You can prepare it ahead of time and use in this stuffing recipe as needed.
How To Sauté Fennel In A Skillet
- Heat a pan to medium high and add 1 Tbsp. of butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add the minced garlic, onions, and fennel.
- Saute these ingredients for 10-12 minutes, stirring often. The fennel should soften a bit as it cooks.
And I'm telling ya - the smell of fennel as it cooks in butter is magic. Set the pan aside and let it cool when it's finished cooking.
How To Prepare The Egg Mixture
- Next up is the egg mixture. Add 5 eggs to a bowl and beat them with a whisk.
- To the eggs, add 2 ½ cups of vegetable broth and the cooled fennel, onion, and garlic mixture. It's important that the mixture is cooled in order to prevent the eggs from cooking in the bowl.
- Add ½ tsp. salt and pepper and whisk together.
Assemble The Wild Rice Fennel Stuffing
Now it's time to assemble.
- Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan with some butter.
- Place the toasted bread cubes in the pan and spread evenly.
- Add 3 cups of the cooked wild rice on top of the gluten free bread cubes (or regular bread cubes if not gluten free) (1 uncooked cup wild rice = 3-4 cups cooked).
- Pour the egg/vegetable stock/fennel mixture evenly over the bread and wild rice. The bread should soak in that egg mixture.
- Lastly, dot the top with 3 Tbsp. of butter.
How Long Does Stuffing Take To Bake In The Oven?
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The bread should get nice and golden and the egg mixture will firm up.
The bread in this stuffing gets kind of crouton-like. It's a bit crunchier than the average stuffing and I kind of love that texture.
Feel free to bake the stuffing a bit longer until it sets and has a firm texture.
What To Serve With Wild Rice Stuffing
Feel free to chop some of the fennel fronds and garnish the top of the stuffing with them. There's a lot of flavor in those fronds and it will reinforce the fennel in the stuffing.
This Wild Rice Fennel Stuffing is absolutely perfect served on a Thanksgiving menu alongside turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes.
It has all those savory flavors that we love about this holiday and pairs with all the classics.
Looking for Thanksgiving desserts? Don't miss these recipes!
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Cast Iron Apple Crisp
- Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Maple Walnut Pie
- Streusel Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Ina Garten Apple Crisp
- Apple Galette
- Pumpkin Waffles
I love this dish because it's rustic and full of earthy flavors but it's still kind of elegant.
Wild rice is great in salads, pancakes, and soups and now I can definitively add 'stuffing' to that list.
Love wild rice? Don't miss these recipes!
If you like this dish be sure to check out this Fennel Herb Stuffing!
Planning a Thanksgiving menu? Check out these recipes!
- Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Butternut Squash Arugula Salad
- Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts
- Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
- Maple Sesame Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic Roasted Green Beans
- Roasted Butternut Squash Dip
- Au Gratin Potatoes
- Mashed Kohlrabi
- Roasted Pumpkin Salad
Love Stuffing? Don't Miss These Recipes!
Wild Rice Fennel Stuffing
- 1 loaf gluten free sandwich bread or any white sandwich bread if not gluten free
- 1 cup wild rice
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion or 2 shallots
- 1 bulb fennel bulb and fronds for garnish
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter split
- 5 eggs
- 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable broth or low sodium chicken broth
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil 3 cups of water in a small sauce pan. Add 1 cup wild rice, cover, and reduce to a low boil/simmer. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until wild rice is softened and kernels open. Drain and set aside.Alternately, the wild rice may be prepared in the Instant Pot.
- Mince 6 cloves of garlic and 1 small onion. Chop 1 bulb of fennel into small pieces.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter in pan. Add garlic, onions, and fennel to the butter. Saute for 10-12 minutes or until fennel softens. Stir to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow to cool.
- Add 5 eggs to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add 2 ½ cups of vegetable broth, the cooled fennel mixture, and ½ tsp. of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan with butter. Add the bread cubes to the pan and spread evenly. Add 3 cups of cooked wild rice on top of the bread cubes. Pour the egg and fennel mixture evenly over the bread cubes. The bread should soak up the egg mixture.
- Cut 3 Tbsp. of butter into small cubes and dot the top of the stuffing with it.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the stuffing has set.
- Garnish the stuffing with minced fennel fronds and serve.