If like me, you get overly excited about the array of tempting offerings at the Whole Foods salad bar, then this gorgeous salad has your name written all over it. No hum-drum rice salad, this dish is rife with fresh flavors and pleasing textures. Crisp pieces of apple and pear combine nicely with chewy dried cranberries and wild rice, all of which are complemented by crunchy toasted walnuts. The salad is dressed in a vinaigrette that is a perfect balance of rich olive oil, tangy vinegar, and sweet honey.
Light enough to accompany an entree, but hearty enough to serve as a main course, this fruited wild rice salad is a fantastic dish to make on the weekend and have on hand throughout the week. The ingredients continue to soak up the vinaigrette as the salad sits in the fridge, so it only gets better with time.
I enjoyed this salad so much that I have no doubt it will become a staple dish in our kitchen. I’m already daydreaming about various ingredient substitutions, such as fresh & dried cherries and toasted pecans. You can also change the flavor of the salad by experimenting with different kinds of vinegar, though I suggest sticking to vinegars with fruity notes.
I’m planning to serve this rice salad for lunch when my mom arrives later today for a girls weekend in Boston. Amongst the comfortable couch chats, strolls along the Esplanade with Shelby (John’s and my dog) and Zack (my parent’s puppy), and leisurely glasses of wine up on the roof deck, we just might have to sneak in a granola-making session (I can’t seem to get enough!). I’m looking forward to a great weekend…
Fruited Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries & Walnuts
adapted from Bunky Cooks‘ Crunchy Fruit and Wild Rice Salad
Ingredients for salad:
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth (one 14 oz can)
- 2 cups water
- 2 thinly sliced green onions, both green & white parts
- 1 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit of your choice)
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted (or other nut of your choice)
- 1 large apple, cored and chopped, skin left on
- 1 large pear, cored and chopped, skin left on
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- baby spinach
Ingredients for vinaigrette:
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp fruity vinegar (I used cassis/black current vinegar; apple cider vinegar would work as well)
- 2 tsp honey
- generous pinch Kosher salt, or to taste
- a few grinds fresh black pepper, or to taste
- Combine rice, veggie broth, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir once, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook rice for 45 minutes. Drain in a colander.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss chopped fruit with lemon juice. Set aside.
- When rice is cooked and drained, add it to the chopped fruit and stir in the sliced green onions, dried cranberries, and walnuts.
- Give the vinaigrette another quick whisk and pour it over the rice salad. Stir to combine.
- Cover the rice salad and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or better yet, overnight.
- Serve cold or at room temperature atop a bed of baby spinach.