This is the best rice side dish recipe I’ve ever made. Jerusalem Wild Rice or Wild Rice and Chickpeas with Crispy Shallots is packed with flavor from the spiced chickpeas and caramelized onions to the juicy craisins with crispy shallots on top!!

Last Christmas I did a Nativity dinner for my family with traditional Jerusalem recipes. As I researched foods and meals that are typical of Jerusalem, there were so many rice recipes. I wanted flavors and textures typical of the cuisine in that area. That’s how I developed this Jerusalem wild rice recipe. It was a favorite at our nativity dinner!

A photo of a white bowl full of Jerusalem wild rice topped with roasted chickpease, chopped cilantro and parsley, crispy shallots and cinnamon sticks.

Complete Nativity Dinner Menu:

What Ingredients Do I Need for Wild Rice and Chickpeas with Crispy Shallots?

So what makes this rice so dang fabulous? It’s just a combination of two kinds of rice, certain spices and then the most spectacular topping (see section below). Here is what you need:

For the Rice

  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • Wild Rice
  • Basmati Rice
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Craisins or currants and gold raisins

A photo of all the ingredients for Jerusalem wild rice in separate bowls including water, olive oil, sliced onions, basmati rice, craisins, cinnamon sticks and wild rice.

For the Topping

  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Chickpeas
  • Shallot
  • Flour
  • Parsley

Can you just taste those Mediterranean flavors already? So good!

A photo of all the ingredients for the topping for Jerusalem wild rice in separate bowls including olive oil, chickpeas, sliced shallots, cumin and flour.

How to Make Wild Rice and Chickpeas with Crispy Shallots

This recipe comes together so easily! I’m so dang excited for you to try it I can hardly stand it! There are two parts to this recipe so let’s start by getting the rice going…


  1. Start by caramelizing the onions in a pan over medium heat. You only need to stir it occasionally. It will take about 10-15 minutes for the onions to become golden. When they are done, transfer them to a bowl.
  2. Now add a little more oil to the pan and the two rices followed by the caramelized onions. Placing the onions on top of the rice keeps them from sticking to the pan. Stir everything together continuously for 2 minutes.
  3. Next add the water, salt, cinnamon sticks and craisins and bring everything to a boil. Once you have reached a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, put a lid on your pan and allow it to cook until all of the water is gone and the rice is tender (30-40 minutes).

A photo of water being added to a put of rice that topped with craisins and cinnamon sticks.


  1. While the rice is cooking, you can get going on the topping. Combine the chickpeas, cumin and curry in a bowl and stir everything together. Put the oil in a pan and heat it over medium heat. Add the seasoned chickpeas to the pan and stir them occasionally until they dry out a little. It will take about 5 minutes. Then remove them to a dish.
    A photo of spiced chickpeas being roasted in a pan.
  2. In a bowl, toss the shallots with the flour. Add a little more oil to your pan still on medium heat and add the shallots to the pan. Fry them until they are golden and then remove them to a plate that has been lined with a paper towel.
    A photo of sliced shallots being fried in a pan with a spatula stirring them.
  3. When the rice has finished cooking, add the chickpeas, fried shallots and some chopped fresh parsley to the top and serve it hot.

A photo of a large white serving bowl full of Jerusalem wild rice topped with spiced chickpeas, fried shallots and chopped fresh parsley.

What Side Dishes Did They Eat in Jerusalem?

In all my research about foods common during the time of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it all came down to simple, healthy ingredients that were abundant in the area during that time. There were lots of fruits, vegetables, wheat based items like pita and unleavened bread, and loads of olive oil.

Side dishes that are common now are all based on these same products – falafels, shawarma, hummus, and sabich (sandwich made on pita bread with eggplant, hard boiled egg, fresh salad).

A photo of a plate of Jerusalem wild rice with a Jerusalem herb chicken thigh.

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati rice is a long, slender grain rice that originates in India. It is super aromatic with a nutty flavor and one of my favorite types of rice. It’s flavor fits in this Jerusalem wild rice dish so perfectly!

What is Wild Rice?

Wild rice is actually native to the North American continent, particularly the Great Lakes region. It is dark in color, firm in texture, and nutty in flavor. While neither basmati nor wild rice were typical of Jerusalem at the time of Christ, both are rockin’ delicious in this rice side dish!A photo of a plate of Jerusalem wild rice and an herb chicken thigh with a small bowl of salt, pepper grinder, and two glasses of grape juice in the background.

Is Rice Gluten Free?

Yes! All rice in is plain, natural form is gluten free. This includes white rice, brown rice, wild rice…all the rice!

Is Rice Healthier Than Pasta?

Rice and pasta are about the same as far as nutritional content go. Both are high in carbohydrates. If you want a little more health benefit, you can go with brown rice or whole grain pasta which will give you some good fiber.

A photo of a large serving bowl of Jerusalem wild rice topped with fried shallots, spiced chickpeas, chopped fresh parsley and cinnamon sticks.

Can You Reheat Rice?

Yes, you can definitely reheat rice, but as rice sits in the fridge, it loses moisture and clumps together. When you go to reheat it, you can add a little drizzle of oil or a small amount of butter to add moisture back into it. Even a little drizzle of water will do wonders. You can reheat rice in the microwave, on the stove top, or in the oven.

How Long Will Rice Keep?

Uncooked rice will keep in your pantry for 4-5 years and even longer if it has been vacuumed sealed. This one of the things I love most about rice! You can have it on hand all the time!

Cooked rice will last in the refrigerator 4-6 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

A photo of a large serving bowl of Jerusalem wild rice topped with fried shallots, spiced chickpeas, chopped fresh parsley and cinnamon sticks.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that this is my most favorite rice side dish ever. I was not exaggerating! It is so bold in flavor and so different from our typical rice side dish. I am in love with this Jerusalem wild rice!

More Delicious Side Dishes:

Wild Rice and Chickpeas with Crispy Shallots

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Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes


For The Rice

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Onion, sliced thin
  • 1/3 Cup Wild Rice
  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 3/4 Cups Water
  • 2 Sticks Cinnamon, broke in half
  • 2/3 Cups Craisins, or 1/3 cup dried currants and 1/3 cup golden raisins * see note

For the Topping

  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Curry Powder
  • 1 Can Chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
  • 1 Shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped


For the Rice

  • Place the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
    Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add a little more oil and the rices, and the caramelized onions. Cook, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Add the water, salt, cinnamon and craisins and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a summer, add the lid and cook until all of the water is gone and rice is tender, about 30-40 minutes.

For the topping

  • Meanwhile, in a dish, toss together the chickpeas and the spices, cumin and curry. Heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat and toss the chickpeas into the pan, stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are heated through and dried out, about 5 minutes. Set aside in a dish.
  • In a bowl, toss the shallots with the flour and salt. Add a few teaspoons of oil to the pan and fry the shallots then remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Once the rice is done, add the shallots, chickpeas and chopped parsley and serve!


We prefer to use gold raisins and dried currants which are found right next to the raisins but if you can't find them craisins work best.


Serving: 1gCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 106mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 121IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 200+ Easy Side Dish Recipes Every Mom Needs
Cuisine: American

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This Jerusalem Wild rice is a delicious combination of the perfect spices, craisons, and caramel onions.