Easy Seasonal Wild Rice Salad With Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Dec 21, 2023
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Wild rice salad is as filling and nutritious as it is stunning. The dark wild rice with aromatic grapes, tart cranberries, and creamy goat cheese combines all of your favorite fall and winter flavors into one simple side dish.
Sometimes, it’s fun to switch things up a little bit when it comes to traditional salad recipes during the cooler months.
When you want something hearty but still filled with nutritious ingredients, wild rice salad is sure to make its way to your go-to weeknight side recipe, this season.
Wild Rice Salad is sponsored by Sun World.
Our family loves this seasonal salad with wild rice because it’s easy, affordable, and still has all of your favorite holiday ingredients.
Its pops of red, green, and white from the produce and toppings against the dark, wild rice base are sure to fit any aesthetic. Everyone will ask for your recipe.
Let’s get into this wild rice salad recipe!
What Is Wild Rice Salad?
Similar to quinoa salad, wild rice salad doesn’t have any greens. Wild rice is the base of this seasonal salad. Then it’s topped with sweet and juicy grapes, crunchy scallions, tart cranberries, earthy walnuts, and soft goat cheese. Simply toss it all together for a sweet and savory yet colorful side that pairs well with poultry like grilled kabobs and apple-glazed ham.
Don’t forget to drizzle your homemade blood orange vinaigrette for a touch of acidic citrus to balance your fall salad flavors.
What You’ll Need for Wild Rice Salad
Grab these six, simple ingredients at the store when you pick up your weeknight dinner items.
Here’s what you need to make wild rice salad:
One of the things we love about wild rice is its unique dark color. And it’s gluten-free and made right in the U.S. Although it’s long like rice, wild rice is actually considered part of the aquatic grass family. It’s still considered a grain and is slightly longer than traditional rice. It has a nutty, earthy taste that pairs well with the natural ingredients in your fall salad.
If you can’t find wild rice at your local grocery store, look for a wild rice blend, black rice, or quinoa for some alternative options. Keep in mind that each wild rice alternative has slightly different cooking times and amounts of liquid required to cook.
AUTUMNCRISP® grapes are a juicy and sweet addition to your wild rice salad. These unique grapes have a muscat flavor that’s highly perfumed with a fruity aroma. Their extra large size adds a burst of natural sweetness to your savory wild rice. Look for them in the produce section.
Similar to green onions, scallions add a subtle, natural peppery seasoning to your wild rice salad. We try not to waste any part of the produce if we can help it, so you’ll use the white and green parts of your scallions. The white ends have a stronger taste, whereas the green parts have a grassy, mild flavor. Both pair well with the sweet and citrus toppings that you’ll add later on. Scallions are located in the produce section, and they’re inexpensive, so don’t skip them.
You can’t forget a classic holiday staple: cranberries. You’ll need a quarter of a cup for this recipe to get the hint of tart in each bite of your wild rice salad. They look similar to raisins but have a deep burgundy color. Cranberries go through the same drying process as raisins, which brings out their bitter taste. They’re sweet and tart with a pop of color that adds a festive flair. You can use dried cranberries, but for some extra pizazz, get some fresh ones out of the produce section.
Nuts are packed with protein and healthy fats that help you feel full. Plus, they taste great. With an earthy, slightly bitter taste, they pair well with sweeter ingredients like fresh grapes and dried cranberries. You only need a cup of walnuts to add a subtle crunch to every bite. Sliced or slivered almonds also work well in this wild rice recipe. No matter which type of nuts suits your taste buds, you can find them in the baking aisle.
With an earthy aroma that’s tart and bold with a soft, almost spreadable texture, we love adding goat cheese to our salad recipes. Crumbled goat cheese is sold in small plastic containers, so all you have to do is toss it right into your salad bowl. You don’t even need to crumble it yourself.
If you don’t see “goat cheese,” try to find “chévre cheese.” It’s the same thing, so feel free to use that.
How to Cook Wild Rice
The base of our seasonal salad is the wild rice, so we want to make sure we get that part right. It’s easy, we promise!
- Rinse your wild rice thoroughly and add it to boiling chicken broth. You’ll need three cups of broth for every one cup of rice.
- Cover your rice with a lid and let it simmer for about 55 minutes.
- When the rice starts to curl and split, it’s done cooking.
- Fluff it with a fork and store it until you’re ready to assemble your seasonal salad.
How to Make Wild Rice Salad
Step 1: Rinse the wild rice under cool running water and bring chicken stock to a boil. Add the wild rice to the boiling stock, cover, and simmer for about 55 minutes. When done cooking, add the cooked rice to a serving bowl so it can cool.
Step 2: Rinse your grapes under cool running water and use a knife to cut them in half. Add the grapes, scallions, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese to the serving bowl with the wild rice. Toss to mix the wild rice salad ingredients.
Step 3: Whisk the blood orange, vinegar, mustard, shallots, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl.
Step 4: Add the olive oil as you continue to whisk so that the oil and vinegar mix together properly and don’t separate.
Step 5: Drizzle the fall salad with your vinaigrette and serve.
How to Select Grapes
AUTUMNCRISP® grapes should be a milky green color with smooth skin and firm to the touch. Grapes should be attached to a green stem so that they aren’t easily removed. If the stem is brown or brittle, look for another cluster of grapes to be sure you get grapes in their ideal condition.
Keep them in a ventilated container or bag in the fridge until you’re ready to make your seasonal salad so they stay fresh, crisp, and juicy.
How to Make Ahead and Store Wild Rice Salad
This is a seasonal side dish you should absolutely make ahead. The flavors blend together as the salad sits in the fridge. And that’s one less side you have to worry about on busy weeknights.
The day before, add all of your salad ingredients, including your blood orange vinaigrette, to your serving bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Take your wild rice salad out of the fridge an hour before you’re ready to eat so it has enough time to come to room temperature.
And that’s it — one recipe off your checklist.
Why We Love Sun World
We love sustainability practices because they help prevent food waste. Our partners at Sun World take steps every day to help reduce waste post-harvest and at the retail and consumer levels. As leaders in the produce industry, they strive to inspire and motivate all of us to do our part to contribute to sustainability.
We’re happy to support these efforts through fresh recipes, like our fall salad with wild rice. Look for the grape and stone fruit label in the produce section this holiday season and beyond.
Fresh Seasonal Side Dishes
- Cranberry, Blueberry, and Strawberry Sauce — a modern twist on a classic sauce
- Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin — meatless and dairy-free
- Cornbread Sausage Stuffing — cozy, hardy, and extra delicious
- Sautéed Radishes and Bacon — potato-like veggie with crispy, salty bacon
Wild Rice Salad
Wild Rice Salad
- 3 cups cooked wild rice cooled
- 1 1/2 cups AUTUMNCRISP® grapes halved
- 1/2 cup scallions chopped (both green and white parts)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- 1 cup blood orange juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (can sub for white or red wine vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Wild Rice Salad
- Place cooked and cooled wild rice, AUTUMNCRISP® grapes, scallions, dried cranberries, and walnuts in a large salad bowl and mix with salad tongs.
- Top with crumbled goat cheese and set aside or store until ready to serve.
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Whisk blood orange juice, champagne vinegar, mustard, shallots, garlic, honey, and salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl.
- Slowly drizzle in the oil as you continue to whisk constantly.
- Taste test your vinaigrette and add salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve your fall salad on a plate and drizzle with the blood orange vinaigrette.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.