January 29, 2023

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Wild Rice Salad – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

The BEST roasted sweet potato and wild rice salad | chelseasmessyapron.com | #sweetpotato #wildrice #salad #thanksgiving #fall #health #healthy #lemon #dressing #best #popular #easy #quick #pomegranate #almond #cheese #kidfriendly

This Wild Rice Salad combines cooked & cooled wild rice with mixed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, pomegranate arils, creamy feta (or goat) cheese, and honey-roasted almonds. A simple and delicious lemon vinaigrette ties everything together perfectly!

Serve this salad on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table along with Crockpot Turkey Breast, Sweet Potato Casserole, Thanksgiving Dressing, Roasted Vegetables, and the best, no-knead Dinner Rolls. Save room for dessert! This Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

Overhead image of the wild rice salad in a bowl

Wild Rice Salad Recipe

This Autumn Wild Rice Salad is one of our favorites! Mixed greens with a seasoned, cooked, and cooled wild rice blend, plus roasted sweet potatoes make up the base. Then we’ve got pops of flavor, texture, and creaminess coming from the pomegranate arils, goat or feta cheese, and honey-roasted almonds.

Truthfully though, we don’t reserve this salad only for the Fall and winter, we’ll make a wild rice salad summer version by replacing the pomegranate arils with sweetened dried cranberries or dried tart cherries. Check out a few other ways we change up this salad:

Process shots-- images of the dressing being made in a mason jar

Wild Rice Salad Dressing

The dressing whips together so quickly–simply add everything to a jar with a lid, and shake to combine! You might recognize this dressing from our favorite Lemon Vinaigrette — it’s adapted from that recipe. Here’s what we’ve got in the dressing:

  • Lemons. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t pack the same flavor as fresh, and lemon is one of the main flavors here. The dressing also benefits from lemon zest which is another reason to use fresh lemon.
  • Red wine vinegar. Instead of relying solely on lemon juice for flavor and tanginess, we add red wine vinegar which adds even more tang and some flavor nuance. 
  • Dijon mustard. Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. 
  • Olive oil. We recommend extra virgin olive oil for this recipe.
  • Honey. Since the vinegar and lemon add a fair amount of tang, we like balancing that out with some honey.
  • Dried oregano. This dried herb adds a flavor that nicely complements the wild rice. You could also use dried Italian seasoning here.
  • Salt and pepper. Add to taste preference, remembering that an extra pinch can be the difference between a good and a stellar dressing!

QUICK TIP

To control how sweet this Wild Rice Salad is, adjust the honey in the dressing. For a sweeter dressing, add additional honey, slowly, and to taste. For a tangier dressing, reduce the honey.

Process shots- images of the pomegranate being prepped

How To Deseed A Pomegranate

Cut and deseed a pomegranate or use already seeded pomegranate arils! These arils are typically sold in small plastic cups in the refrigerated produce section or freshly cut fruit section of most grocery stores. They can sometimes be tricky to find and are usually only sold in the US from October to February.

Here’s how I like to deseed a pomegranate: 

  1. Cut in half
  2. Hold one half (cut side down) with one hand over a bowl
  3. Use a wooden spoon to firmly hit the pomegranate
  4. Watch as the pomegranate seeds fall out (along with some of the surrounding membrane)
  5. Fill up the bowl with water and watch as the membranes rise to the top
  6. Scoop them out, discard, and drain
  7. Arils are ready to use in this wild rice salad!

Process shots of wild rice salad-- images of the wild rice being added to mixed greens

Let’s Chat Wild Rice

To make an easy wild rice salad, we like to use a packaged seasoned wild rice. These mixes only take around 20-25 minutes and are already nicely seasoned/flavored. 

That said, if you’d prefer to make your own homemade seasoned wild rice mix, here’s our favorite homemade wild rice mix:

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup wild rice blend (see “quick tip” below)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-2/3rds cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a fine mesh sieve, thoroughly rinse the wild rice blend.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer (few notches above lowest temperature).
  3. Cover the pot.
  4. Cook for about 45 minutes and then check. If tender, stop cooking and if not cook for another 10-15 minutes or until it is tender. Add additional broth if needed.
  5. When the rice is cooked through, drain off any additional liquid and fluff it with a fork.

QUICK TIP

I like using a wild rice blend best here — specifically this blend by Lundberg®. I highly recommend that blend if you are able to find it; you’ll find it near other varieties of rice, quinoa and couscous. 

Process shots-- images of the sweet potatoes being roasted and then added to the dish along with all the other ingredients

Wild Rice Salad FAQs

1What does wild rice go well with?

Wild rice is such a nice change-up from white or brown rice. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:

2Can wild rice be cooked day before?

Yes. The rice can be made 3 days in advance.

3What does cooked wild rice taste like?

It’s got a lovely toasted nutty flavor.

4Is black rice the same as wild rice?

No. Black rice is a whole grain rice similar to brown rice while wild rice is actually

5Do I need to soak wild rice before cooking?

No, but we do like to thoroughly rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve before using.

6How long will cooked wild rice keep in the refrigerator?

You can store the cooked/prepared wild rice in the fridge for 3 days before using. Be sure to store in an airtight container in the fridge!

This is a great recipe to make most of the components ahead of time making it ideal for the holidays!

7Do you cover wild rice when cooking?

Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and leave lid on until cooked and steamed.

8How to make wild rice salad?

This salad has a few components, but each comes together relatively quickly and easily.

If you’ve never roasted sweet potato, you’re in for a treat! Here’s a full guide on preparing roasted sweet potatoes if you’d like to see step-by-step photos for how to chop the potato.

Up close overhead image of the wild rice salad in a bowl

STORAGE

Make Ahead & Storage

This salad doesn’t sit or store well after it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten soon after; otherwise, the dressing softens the lettuce and nuts.

To make ahead: Since this is a cold wild rice salad, it’s ideal to prepare components of it ahead of time. Prepare the wild rice, sweet potatoes, pomegranate and dressing ahead of time. Store everything separately in airtight containers in the fridge and assemble right before eating.

Can You Freeze Wild Rice Salad?

No, this salad won’t freeze and thaw well.

Overhead image of the dish ready to be enjoyed

What To Serve With Wild Rice Salad

Wild Rice Salad

This Wild Rice Salad combines cooked & cooled wild rice with mixed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, pomegranate arils, creamy feta (or goat) cheese, and honey-roasted almonds. A simple and delicious lemon vinaigrette ties everything together perfectly!

Wild Rice Salad

This Wild Rice Salad combines cooked & cooled wild rice with mixed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, pomegranate arils, creamy feta (or goat) cheese, and honey-roasted almonds. A simple and delicious lemon vinaigrette ties everything together perfectly!

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out an extra-large sheet pan.

  • WILD RICE: Prepare the wild rice either according to the package directions OR for a homemade version, see Note 1. Let cool completely before using (I pop it in the fridge.)Wild rice can be made up to 3 days in advance! Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • SWEET POTATO PREP: Peel and chop the sweet potato into small cubes (1-inch). Right on a large sheet pan, add the potato cubes. Drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper (I add 1/4 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper). Toss to coat evenly then space out so they have plenty of room.

  • ROAST SWEET POTATOES: Bake for 10 minutes, flip and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. If not quite tender, flip again then bake for an additional 5-10 more minutes or until nicely roasted and fork tender. Watch carefully so they don’t get over roasted! Set aside to fully cool.

  • DRESSING: combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or bowl. Season to taste. (I add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.) Place the lid on the mason jar and shake (or whisk in the bowl) until combined. Taste and adjust (additional salt/pepper/honey). Store in the fridge until ready to use, shaking again before topping the salad.

  • COMBINE: (Read the next instruction first) Toss together completely cooled wild rice mixture with the lettuce until ingredients are nicely integrated. Add the completely cooled roasted sweet potato, pomegranate arils, almonds, and cheese (adding to taste preference.) Drizzle on dressing and toss gently until ingredients are nicely incorporated and fully dressed. Once dressed, salad needs to get eaten the same day–otherwise the dressing wilts and begins to break apart the lettuce.

  • STORAGE: Only add dressing, almonds, and cheese to the amount of salad you intend to eat that day. This salad is best eaten immediately after being dressed, so if you want leftovers, only add almonds, cheese, and dressing to the portion that will be eaten immediately.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Wild Rice. If you’d prefer to make the wild rice from scratch, I’ve detailed the ingredients and process in the post. Reference the section “let’s chat wild rice”
Note 2: Almonds: If you don’t have the honey-roasted almonds, I recommend toasting the almonds for maximum flavor (this is, of course, optional). To do so: place almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat and stirring until lightly fragrant watching carefully to not burn them. Remove from pan to let cool.
Note 3: Pomegranate: Cut and deseed a pomegranate or use already seeded pomegranate arils! These arils are typically sold in small plastic cups in the refrigerated produce section or freshly cut fruit section of most grocery stores. They can sometimes be tricky to find and are usually only sold in the US from October to February.
Here’s how I like to deseed a pomegranate: 

  1. Cut in half
  2. Hold one half (cut side down) with one hand over a bowl
  3. Use a wooden spoon to firmly hit the pomegranate
  4. Watch as the pomegranate seeds fall out (along with some of the surrounding membrane)
  5. Fill up the bowl with water and watch as the membranes rise to the top
  6. Scoop them out, discard, and drain
  7. Arils are ready to use in this wild rice salad!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.7g | Protein: 5.3g | Fat: 11.7g | Cholesterol: 3.3mg | Sodium: 70.4mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 8g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.