Wild rice salad is the delightful combination of earthy wild rice, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pecans, and tangy feta cheese, all tossed in a flavorful orange vinaigrette dressing. Try this recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas or for a special meal to impress your friends and family with a delicious and nutritious salad!
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If you have never tried wild rice, I highly recommend you to try them. Although contrary to the name they are not rice at all. It is aquatic grass that looks and cooks like rice.
It is healthier and has more dietary fiber than other kinds of rice. It is protein-rich, with vitamin B, and minerals, and is low in fat. Wild rice has 30 times more antioxidants than the normal rice variety and is gluten-free.
Wild rice is not just healthy, it also has a wonderful nutty and earthy flavor. Of course, it is also a lot more expensive than white rice. But in my opinion, still worth it.
The Best Wild Rice Salad Recipe
This Wild Rice Salad Recipe is an excellent example of a healthy, tasty, and easy-to-make meal full of flavor. The mix of earthy wild rice, sweet cherries, crunchy pecans, tangy feta cheese, and fresh herbs perfectly balances flavors and textures that will leave your palette wanting more.
The fresh orange juice, white wine vinegar, garlic, and olive oil in the dressing give the dish a bright, citrusy note that ties all the tastes together.
This salad is full of healthy ingredients, but you can also make it your own by adding your favorite sauces and ingredients. This Wild Rice Salad Recipe is hearty, chewy, and filled with nutrition. Whether you want a quick and easy-filling lunch or a healthy side dish for dinner, it is sure to impress.
- Wild Rice: Wild rice is a whole grain that doesn’t have gluten and is high in fiber, protein, and essential minerals like magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It tastes nutty and is a little chewy, which gives the salad a nice bite.
- Salad greens: Arugula or baby spinach work well in this salad because they have a fresh, intense taste that goes well with the other ingredients. They also have a lot of vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
- Red Onions: Sliced red onions give the salad a sweet, slightly sour, and beautiful pop of color. Also, they have a lot of fiber and vitamin C.
- Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries give the salad a sweet and sour taste and a chewy texture. You can replace these with pomegranate seeds too. Dried apricots will be a great addition to this salad too.
- Pecans: Roughly chopped pecans give the salad a sweet taste and a crunchy feel.
- Parsley: Chopped parsley gives the salad a fresh, herb-like taste and a pop of green color.
- Feta Cheese: It gives the salad a creamy texture and tangy, salty flavor.
- Dressing: Extra virgin olive oil, white wine or red wine vinegar, garlic, orange juice, orange zest, sugar or honey, salt, and pepper is mixed to make the dressing. It gives the salad a bright, citrusy taste and a creamy texture.
- Wild rice: You can use wild rice blend, farro, brown rice, or quinoa instead of wild rice in this recipe.
- Pecans: Additionally, if you don’t have pecans, you can substitute any other sort of nut that you want, such as almonds or walnuts.
- Orange juice: You can substitute lemon juice for orange juice in the dressing and use agave syrup instead of honey.
- Feta: Soft crumbled feta is the best for this salad. You can also use goat cheese in place of feta in this salad.
- Additions: You can add toasted pumpkin seeds to this salad for extra crunch.
- Topping: If you are making this salad for a special Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, add some pomegranate seeds on top for a pop of color.
How To Make Wild Rice Salad?
Make the Wild rice
Follow these instructions for Instant Pot Wild Rice and have perfectly cooked rice in no time. You can also use the package directions to cook the wild rice on the stovetop.
Make The Dressing
Mix extra virgin olive oil, white or red wine vinegar, chopped garlic, orange juice, orange zest, sugar or honey, salt, and pepper in a jar. Shake well and mix. Set aside for 15 minutes.
The olive oil adds healthy fats, and the orange juice and zest add vitamin C and antioxidants. The sweetness of the sugar or honey counteracts the sourness of the vinegar, and the salt and pepper make the salad taste better overall.
Assemble the salad
Combine the cooked wild rice, chopped salad greens, sliced red onions, dried cranberries, roughly chopped pecans, and chopped parsley in a large bowl. Add some of the crumbled feta. Pour over most of the dressing and toss gently.
Serve the salad
Put the salad in a serving bowl and top it with the rest of the feta and cranberries or pomegranate seeds. Serve right away.
- You can toast the nuts in the oven for a few minutes before adding them to the salad to give it more texture.
- Make sure to not overcook the wild rice, as it can become mushy.
Add protein: You can make this salad a complete meal by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu.
Add more veggies: Add cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, or other veggies.
Make it Vegan: Skip the feta or use vegan cheese. Replace honey with maple syrup. You can add avocado for some creaminess.
What To Serve It With?
This is the perfect salad for your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Top with some pomegranate seeds to make it festive!
You can prepare all the ingredients up to 2 days in advance – such as cooking the wild rice and making the dressing. Just don’t toss the salad together.
Wild Rice Salad Recipe
- 3 cup wild rice , cooked and cooled, 5oz / 1 cup uncooked*
- 4 ounce Salad greens , arugula or baby spinach
- 1 cup Red Onions, sliced
- 3/4 cup Dried cranberries
- 1 cup Pecans, roughly chopped, toasted
- 1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- Add all the dressing ingredeints to a jar. Shake the jar and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Place greens, wild rice, sliced red onions, cranberries, pecans in a bowl. Add some of the feta and pour over most of the dressing. Toss gently.
- Transfer into a serving bowl, top with remaining feta and cranberries. Serve immediately.