If you're ready to live life on the wild side, I've got the recipe for you. This hearty wild rice salad is the ultimate gluten-free side dish. Imagine chewy wild rice dotted with sweet bits of mango, crisp red radishes and peppery arugula.
Read on to discover why this is my favorite wild rice salad recipe lately.
WILD RICE PLANT
Before we dive into the recipe, let's cover some fun facts about wild rice.
You might be surprised to find out that wild rice is not a true rice. We commonly refer to it as rice, but the wild rice plant is actually an aquatic grass. Wild rice includes four species of aquatic grasses that were traditionally eaten in North America and China. It’s harvested from shallow water in streams and small lakes. What you’re eating when you consume wild rice is actually the plant’s stem. Whereas with other types of rice we eat the seed of the plant.
Minnesota is the state that's known for growing wild rice, hence the name "Minnesota wild rice." In fact the state grows wild rice in 45 of its 87 counties.
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
- High in protein. One of the best things about wild rice is that a serving is going to contain less calories and have double the protein content of brown rice. Move over brown rice.
- Gluten-free. I love that wild rice is also gluten-free, so it's a crowd-pleaser without worrying about allergies.
- Low oxalate. If you follow me you know I've been talking a lot about oxalates ever since I discovered the work of Sally K. Norton. Oxalates are plant toxins found in many common plants that we eat, including brown rice. Grains like white rice and wild rice are considered low oxalate, so better choices for anyone wishing to minimize oxalates in their diet.
- Chewy texture and nutty flavor. Can we just agree that the chewy texture of wild rice simply can't be beat? Between that and the nutty flavor it really makes a great salad when paired with scallions, fresh fruit like mango and a little zesty arugula.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this wild rice salad recipe:
- Wild rice
- Water or broth
- Red radishes
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Orange juice
- Dijon mustard
- Honey or maple syrup
- Sea salt and white pepper
- Dijon mustard. I love the peppery flavor of Dijon mustard in this dressing. Personally I don't use much turmeric because it's a blood thinner, so I choose brands of Dijon mustard that don't contain turmeric.
- Orange juice. Whatever you do, don't use bottled orange juice here. Buy an orange and juice it. The same goes for the lemon. Fresh juice makes all the difference, flavor-wise.
- Arugula. I chose baby arugula because it's so easy to chop up. And it's often pre-rinsed so that's a nice time saver. If you can't find arugula, watercress could work nicely as a substitute.
- Dressing. This dressing combines the flavors of sweet (maple syrup & orange juice), pungent (Dijon mustard & white pepper), salty (sea salt), sour (mustard, orange juice & lemon juice). So it has a very balanced overall flavor that makes this salad taste great!
HOW TO MAKE WILD RICE SALAD: STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1: COOK THE RICE
In a medium saucepan place the wild rice. Add the water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain if needed and let the rice cool.
STEP 2: MAKE THE DRESSING
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon and orange juices, mustard, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper. I love this whisk set for that purpose.
STEP 3: COMBINE THE SALAD INGREDIENTS
Place the cooled wild rice in a large bowl. Add the arugula, chopped scallions, mango, radishes and arugula. Add the dressing, stir well, and adjust seasoning to taste.
NOTE: Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. It tastes best when given at least an hour to marinate before serving. For storing food in the fridge, I just discovered these plastic alternative food bowl covers made out of cotton. So cool, right?
- Rinse the wild rice really well. Any rice, including wild rice, can taste "dusty" if you don't wash it properly. Don't rush this step and be sure to rinse the wild rice really well before cooking or soaking it. A mesh strainer comes in handy for a thorough rinsing job.
- Mix it up! Feel free to swap out the fruit and veggies for any other varieties you enjoy. Instead of mango try diced apple. Use red onion in place of scallions. Cooked zucchini could replace the arugula. You get the idea. Use your creativity to make as many variations of this salad as you want.
- Cook the wild rice long enough. Resist the urge to rush the cooking process. Cook the wild rice for the full 50 minutes to make sure it's tender and digestible.
- Add protein. Instead of a side dish, this wild rice salad can become a complete meal when you add your favorite protein. Cooked shrimp, beans like black-eyed peas or chunks of cooked chicken will add a hearty touch to this salad.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you soak wild rice overnight?
I soak it overnight at room temperature in a bowl submerged with enough water to cover it by about an inch or two. Some people like to soak wild rice for 24 hours or as long as 3 days, changing the water twice a day. Soaking wild rice helps to open up the rise and make it more digestible.
What are some wild rice benefits?
Wild rice is a nice grain-free option since it's actually just a marsh grass. It contains Vitamins A, C and E as well as 30 times the antioxidants of white rice. It's alkaline-forming, which helps reduce inflammation in the body. Wild rice is low in calories, high in dietary fiber and a good source of the nutrient phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to strengthen bones. So these are some of the wild rice benefits you'll enjoy when eating more wild rice.
Does wild rice double when cooked?
Wild rice expands three to four times after cooking. One cup uncooked (6 ounces) will yield about 3-4 cups cooked.
How long does it take to cook wild rice?
Wild rice is a tough plant stem that absorbs water slowly. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour for wild rice to fully cook and no longer be crunchy.
How long does it take to cook wild rice blend?
You can buy wild rice that is combined with other grains. This is referred to as a wild rice blend. I like to cook wild rice blends for about 50 minutes.
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MORE RICE RECIPES
- This fried rice recipe is quick, easy, and deliciously satisfying. I’ve made it vegan-friendly/egg-free and packed it with veggies that make it really flavorful.
- My brown rice porridge with apple-pear compote that is the perfect vegan, whole-grain breakfast you need to start your day.
- My pumpfu stir fry recipe that goes well with fried rice.
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