Wooden table with full turkey on platter, a bowl of Hinode rice and a plate of Thanksgiving supper.

Bring Back A Thanksgiving Tradition with Hinode Rice

Is Thanksgiving starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day? You know, the same meal year after year and somehow we all get a little older and more stuck in our same routine.
Well, we at Hinode rice think tradition can be new and adventurous! Now that friends and family have gotten a bit particular about their gluten-free, paleo or vegan diets, it’s the perfect opportunity to change up the menu. So, this year when you’re cooking, how about skipping the same ol’, same ol’, and try something different that excites you.
For us, that’s rice – one of the most traditional and comforting foods in the world! Our ancestors served it for centuries at the Thanksgiving table so how about experimenting with some authentic Hinode rice dishes this year?

Hinode Thanksgiving Pilaf

(vegan and gluten-free blend of white and wild rice)

Brown bowl filled with white and wild rice, pecans, figs and butternut squash served on burgundy tablecloth..
Traditional rice pilaf served during harvest and Thanksgiving.

This pilaf has beautiful contrasting colors and flavors to compliment your Thanksgiving turkey. We also like to pair it with pork tenderloin and root vegetables after harvest in the fall. Look for this special blend of Hinode White and Wild® rice or make up a blend of your own. No matter what variety of rice you prefer, this recipe is a great way to celebrate the history and tradition of farming grains in America.


2 cups Hinode White & Wild Rice uncooked
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 red onion diced
3 stalks celery slivered
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups butternut squash cubed and roasted
2 cups figs roasted and quartered
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. agave or honey
2 cups pecans caramelized

Cooking instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees for roasting vegetables.
Warm vegetable oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Sauté onion and celery until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add Hinode White & Wild Rice and continue to sauté until white rice starts to turn opaque (about 3 minutes). Add chicken broth and turn to high heat until reaching a rolling boil. Then turn down to lowest heat, cover with tight fitting lid and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove from burner and let stand covered for 10 minutes.
While rice is steaming, coat bottom of baking sheet with oil and add butternut squash and figs. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon and drizzle with agave/honey. Roast in oven until tender, about 15 minutes, turning halfway through to brown on all sides. After rice stands for 10 minutes, mix in caramelized pecans, butternut squash and figs.
Share it with your family this Thanksgiving and let us know if they gobble it up!

Farming Rice in America

Rice farming began in the newly settled American colonies in the 1600’s and became one of the first American export crops. By the 1800’s, South Carolina, which was the center of the American rice industry at the time, exported millions of pounds to the West Indies and Europe. After the Civil War, the rice industry shifted southwest away from the Carolinas to Arkansas.[1] Today, the Arkansas Grand Prairie, Mississippi Delta, Texas Gulf Coast, and California’s Central Valley, where Hinode is headquartered, make up the four main rice growing regions in the U.S.[2]

Black pencil sketch of rice farmer harvesting stalks in field.
Rice Harvesting, U.S. South, 1859, using a short-handle sickle. Harper’s Monthly Magazine (185, vol. 19, p. 729)

Wild rice is widely used as an ingredient in fall and Thanksgiving recipes. Although not technically rice (rather a water grass known scientifically as Zizania), wild rice is the only cereal grain native to North America. While 70% of the wild rice sold in the U.S. is grown commercially in California, it is traditionally cultivated and hand-harvested in northern states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and especially Minnesota.[3]

Rice In Thanksgiving History
Though it doesn’t always get a starring place on the Thanksgiving menu, rice has actually been part of our national meal for generations. It might accompany beans, be the base for risotto or pilaf, substituted in place of bread in stuffing, or get served simply steamed as a side dish.
Old postcard from 1905 of indians harvesting wild rice in flooded fields.
THEN: Indians harvesting wild rice near Brainerd, MN Photograph Collection, Minnesota Historical Society Postcard, 1905

Two Native Americans harvest wild rice in flooded field in modern day.
NOW: Ojibway Indians harvesting wild rice on the Leech Lake Indian reservation in north-central Minnesota

In fact, wild rice is sacred to Native Americans like the Ojibway, who consider it a gift from their creator. It can be stored through long northern winters when other food is scarce. Even more, wild rice is incredibly nutritious and, like all varieties of rice, it’s naturally gluten-free.[4]
While historians aren’t certain of what the Pilgrims ate at the first harvest feast, it’s likely that there was some kind of game bird accompanied by wild rice.[5] Could there be a more fitting ingredient to be thankful for on the Thanksgiving table? Well, maybe the turkey, but rice is a close second.
Here are more recipes to consider for your holiday weekend cooking marathon.

Thanksgiving Rice Recipes

Gluten-free Wild Rice and Brown Rice Stuffing with Apples, Pecans and Cranberries
For your gluten-free and vegetarian guests, why not offer this simple, but pleasing twist on a traditional bread-based stuffing?

Gluten-free Wild Rice and Brown Rice Stuffing with Apples, Pecans and Cranberries served in white bowl on red and mustard towel.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Kale and Wild Rice Casserole
Green bean casserole gets an upgrade with this flavor and texture-filled dish than can be assembled ahead of time and baked just before dinner.
White baking platter with kale and wild rice casserole on white linen and naturally weathered wood and wooden spoon.
Recipe and photo courtesy of HalfBakedHarvest.com Tieghan Gerard

Rice Casserole with Lentils
A vegan creation just as comforting as a traditional casserole. See if anyone even notices they’re eating healthier at Thanksgiving!
Rice casserole in layers served on victoria white china plate with green pattern on crisp white tablecloth.
Recipe and photo courtesy of ForksOverKnives.com Darshana Thacker

Wild Rice, Pear and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts
This gorgeous salad with chewy texture and nutty flavor packs in the protein of wild rice.
White platter with royal blue pattern filled with wild rice, pear, walnuts and roasted sweet potato on wooden table.
Courtesy of Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

Pumpkin Rice Pudding
An irresistible dessert with the flavors of the season, the best part is that it’s done in the slow cooker and practically makes itself!
Clear tumbler glass filled wit pumpkin rice pudding on vibrant orange patterned tablecloth.
Recipe and photo courtesy of AroundMyFamilyTable.com

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t dream of leaving out the leftovers.
Leftover Turkey Fried Rice
Had too many turkey sandwiches? Try this exotic fried rice this Black Friday.

Fried rice with leftover turkey meat served in Japanese rice bowl on woven place mat with chopsticks.
Recipe and photo courtesy of InMyRedKitchen.com

Turkey Biryani
If all you have left after Thanksgiving dinner is a turkey carcass and some dark leg meat, this recipe is easy. The only other ingredients you need are some spices and Hinode basmati rice.
Turkey, hard boiled egg, raisins and cashews prepared with basmati rice served in yellow and black geometric designed bowl.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Evan Sung for The New York Times

Egg Lemon Soup with Turkey
Go Greek the day after Thanksgiving with this light and comforting soup.
Egg lemon soup with turkey leftovers and broccoli in white bowl on rusty orange towel and white tablecloth.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Leftover Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
You’ll likely have most of the ingredients on-hand for this traditional soup that comes together quickly after making turkey stock overnight.
White soup bowl with leftover turkey and wild rice soup on brown wooden table with herb next to bowl.
Recipe and photo courtesy of MountainMamaCooks.com

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Congee
A rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. This dish will make the absolute most of all of your Thanksgiving leftovers.
White bowl with congee porridge with leftover turkey greens and carrot on bright orange green and crisp white towel with white Asian soup spoon and white ramekin filled with garnish.
Recipe and photo courtesy of TheWoksOfLife.com

Connect with Hinode Rice
To find more ideas for cooking with Hinode rice over the holidays, like us on Facebook and Pinterest, and find us @hinoderice on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to see pictures of your creations.


[1] Moniz, Amanda. “A Short Course on the History of 8 Thanksgiving Foods.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 09 Nov. 2015. http://wapo.st/1lhehYd

[2] “USDA ERS – Rice: Trade.” USDA ERS – Rice: Trade. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 9 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 Nov. 2015. http://1.usa.gov/1NFYUUf

[3] “Wild Rice September Grain of the Month.” Wild Rice September Grain of the Month. Oldways Whole Grains Council, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015. http://bit.ly/1SEt3mR
[4] Wolf, Bonny. “Wild Rice: Food for Body and Soul.” American Food Roots, 19 Nov. 2012. Web. 9 Nov. 2015. http://bit.ly/1PyveIE
[5] Butler, Stephanie. “Stuffing, Dressing and Filling: Thanksgiving Across America.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 09 Nov. 2015. http://bit.ly/1vk6Y2d