For another University of Wisconsin Badger tailgate with my husband and my families, I was looking for a side dish that better reflected the fall season rather than your typical potato or pasta salads. I came across this Wild Rice Salad which immediately drew my attention based on the ingredients and the beautiful fall colors.
This side dish contains hearty wild rice grains complemented by a variety of nuts and vegetables to add crunch to the salad finished with a sweetness brought out by the dried cranberries. The dressing for the salad provides a nice balance of sweet and savory by blending the sugar, olive oil and dijon mustard. The vinegar and lemon add the right balance of acidity to the dish.
The outcome of this dish is absolutely fantastic, and it was a hit at the tailgate. This side dish is a perfect addition to your repertoire for the upcoming holiday season. The salad is easy to assemble and can be made up to three days ahead which lends for perfect leftovers for lunch.
The variety of simple ingredients serves as a great baseline for adapting this recipe to complement any meal. I look forward to experimenting with the ingredients including the vegetables, the sweet component, the oils and or the vinegar choices. I will be sure to keep the blog up to date with any successful variations I try. Please also provide your feedback or successful adaptions in the comments section below!
WILD RICE SALAD
- Yield: 4-6 servings
- Time: 1 hour
For the Salad
- 1 cup wild rice*
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted unsalted cashews
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
For the Dressing
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- Prepare the wild rice according to package directions. Wild rice typically takes approximately 45 minutes to cook. Drain well and transfer the rice to a large bowl to cool.
- Once cooled, mix in the dried cranberries, pecans, cashews, green onion, celery and red onion.
- Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard and sugar in a blender or food processor. While the blender is running, gradually pour in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture and toss.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*In reviewing the experiences of others that have tried this recipe, it has been noted that this recipe is best when pure wild rice is used (i.e. not a blend of white and wild rice). Wild rice typically takes 10-20 minutes longer to cook than other white rice variations. Thus, cooking a rice blend results in the components being cooked a time other than may be suggested for that rice variation. I chose to use a wild rice blend (pictured above) as I believed an all black rice mixed with the other ingredients would appear dark and less appetizing. The results were still fantastic. The next time I try to make the recipe, I intend to try using half wild rice and half white rice (jasmine or some other variation) cooked separately and subsequently mixed together to ensure that the rice variations are cooked optimally.
Adapted from Los Angeles Times.