Savory Fig + Wild Rice Dressing | Side Dishes for Diabetics

annelieszSide Dishes2 Comments

A serving bowl of wild rice dressing with figs set on a grey background

Eating healthy is important for everyone, but during the holidays it can be a little tricky but side dishes for diabetics can fill your plate without wrecking your blood sugar.  Add fig flavor-exploding wild rice dressing to your Thanksgiving side dishes for diabetics and everyone will relish these flavorful fixings.

A serving bowl of wild rice dressing with figs set on a grey background

Its slight sweetness comes from the tender figs and rich-tasting red peppers while the nutty crunch comes from the wild rice and a generous amount of walnuts. The bonus? It’s diabetic friendly!!

Why “reserve” this recipe just for the holidays? It’s very versatile. Not only can it be served as a side to the traditional turkey or baked ham during the holidays, add it to your recipe box of side dishes for diabetics that can be served with chicken, pork loin or chops, salmon, and lean cuts of beef year round. It makes a great addition to vegetarian as well as vegan dishes, too.

Wild Rice Fig Dressing for Diabetics

Trim Time Off Thanksgiving Side Dishes for Diabetics

This “time-shaver” recipe makes for a super easy way to “handle the holidays”! The short ingredient list keeps things simple and fast, but it can be even faster if you want to cook the wild rice ahead…and get a jump on the day!

A couple days in advance (if you’d like), you can cook the wild rice, toss the figs into the hot rice, prep the remaining ingredients and stick it all in the fridge. When YOU’RE ready for them, simply saute the veggies and toss in the prepared ingredients to heat through…done! Just be sure to stir in the chopped figs as soon as you remove the cooked wild rice from the heat (there may be a bit of liquid remaining but that will be absorbed), then let it stand the 5 minutes as directed…this step not only rehydrates the figs which makes them very tender, but it pulls out the rich, natural sweetness of the figs.

Wild Rice Fig Dressing for Diabetics

Fig Full

The sweetness from Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Dried Figs does not come from pumping one grain of granulated sugar into the fruit. It comes from the natural sugars found in the actual fruit itself. So there’s no “added sugars” to be a concern. 

Dried figs contain a high amount of fiber and fiber is very important in helping to slow digestion, which promotes a feeling of fullness…which is another added bonus!

Here’s a little known fact… figs provide a good source of potassium which is more commonly found in bananas! Potassium is necessary for normal functioning of all cells and is vital for metabolizing carbohydrates (which is important especially for people with diabetes).

Wild Rice Fig Dressing for Diabetics

Why Wild Rice in Side Dishes for Diabetics

Wild rice is NOT rice, but seeds of water grass loaded with fiber and protein…actually triple the amount of fiber found in white rice! 

Store it… 

  • Uncooked: Store indefinitely in the pantry, fridge, or freezer.
  • Cooked: Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. (Note: Since it can take a long time to cook, cook a lot and freeze to keep on hand!) 
Wild Rice Fig Dressing for Diabetics

And, Then There’s the Leftovers

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. A single 2/3-cup serving can be heated in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or on the stovetop over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. 

Another idea for the leftovers—pile up this super-fast, power-packed salad, The Go-To” Grain Bowl Main Salad. The recipe is to serve one, but you can double, triple…etc. it easily. (See recipe and nutritional analysis below).

Wild Rice Dressing with Figs | Side Dishes for Diabetics

For the holidays, include Thanksgiving sides for diabetics.Feast on side dishes for diabetics like savory fig + wild rice dressing.
A serving bowl of wild rice dressing with figs set on a grey background
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 16 servings (2/3 cup each)


  • 1 cup uncooked long grain wild rice
  • 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs , stemmed and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil , divided
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 medium stalks) 
  • 2 large red bell peppers , stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or more to taste)


  • Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat. Stir in the figs, making sure they are submerged. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, onions and celery; cook 5-6 minutes or until onions are beginning to richly brown, stirring occasionally. Add bell peppers to the onion mixture; cook 5 minutes or until peppers are tender crisp, stirring frequently. Remove pot from heat.
  • Stir in the rice mixture, walnuts, salt, black pepper, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.


Recipe and article by Nancy S. Hughes

Photos by Annelies Zijderveld

The “Go-To” Grain Bowl Main Salad
Serve cold or warm it up, by placing rice mixture and black beans only in microwave on high for 1 minute or until heated through, then top with remaining ingredients!
YIELD: 1 Serving
  • 2/3 cup reserved  Savory Fig and Wild Rice Dressing
  • 1/3 cup canned unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 of an avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup arugula or spring greens
  • 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 11/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  1. Place reserved rice mixture in a shallow bowl, top with sections of the beans, avocado and arugula. 
  2. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over all and sprinkle with the soy sauce.
fig and wild rice nutrition facts

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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2 Comments on “Savory Fig + Wild Rice Dressing | Side Dishes for Diabetics”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight without the celery, since I didn’t have any. I added carrots, instead along with celery salt and fresh parsley from my garden. It was a hit with my husband, who is diabetic. We both had a second helping. Next time, I will toast the walnuts and maybe add some fresh lemon juice right before serving.

    1. Hi Mary- Those sound like excellent swaps. We are so glad to hear you and your husband liked the dish so much—and toasting the walnuts and lemon juice sound like great ideas.

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