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Curried Wild Rice Salad

My adoration of wild rice is a rather recent development, but it has quickly become one of my favorite varieties of rice.  Nutty, chewy, and flavorful, it is a rice that you should definitely try if you haven’t already! If any grain were to be labeled as sexy, wild rice would – without a doubt – win the title.

Not only is it gorgeous and delicious, but healthy as well. Wild rice (which is technically a grass) boasts more fiber and protein, yet less calories and fat, than brown rice. The cooking method also differs from that of other types of rice: the sleek & slender grains of black rice do not absorb all of the liquid they are cooked in, but rather simmer until they become fluffy and chewy.

What wild rice does have in common with its fellow grains is that it works beautifully with pretty much any flavor profile you wish to assign it to.

This particular wild rice was destined to marry the heady and aromatic king of spices: curry.

Do you like the flavor of curry powder?

I, for one, absolutely adore it… and I don’t believe it should be designated only to Indian dishes. I’ve seen recipes ranging from quiche to chicken salad to soup to pudding (and other desserts) that all call for curry powder. It’s a fun seasoning to play around with.

The spice mixture that comprises curry powder can vary from one brand to another, but every variety I’ve tried has been tasty. I used an Indian curry powder for this recipe, but any kind you prefer would work as well.

Regardless of what type you use, the vibrant orange seasoning just begs for a sweet accompaniment. I obliged by adding warm cinnamon and succulent honey to the savory dressing mixture, as well as both raisins and dried cranberries to the salad.

Scallions lend a mild onion flavor, and lemon juice adds a bright note of freshness.

This rice salad would be a unique addition to any 4th of July party spread, and can be served either chilled or at room temperature… rendering it more warm-weather worthy than mayo-laden potato or pasta salads. It keeps well in the fridge for a day or two, so it’s a great choice for a make-ahead side dish.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go get your curry on.

Curried Wild Rice Salad

Printer-Friendly Recipe

yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry (uncooked) wild rice, rinsed well
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp country-style (course ground) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions/scallions
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (I like the apple-juiced sweetened dried cranberries from Whole Foods)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, mustard, curry powder, garam masala, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne. Stir in the cooked & drained wild rice, sliced green onions, raisins, and dried cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. For best flavor, chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight, so as to allow flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

337.7 calories, 14.2 grams fat, 1.8 grams saturated fat, 50.1 grams carbohydrates, 4.2 grams fiber, 16.7 grams sugars, 6.6 grams protein

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