This wild rice salad combines the rich flavor of garlic-roasted vegetables with a balsamic dressing. It is gluten-free, vegan, and amazingly delicious. Perfect for a holiday meal or special occasion.
When I was pregnant with Max, we bought a huge bag of wild rice from an organic farmer. Unfortunately, I was eating wild rice salad when my first bout of morning sickness occurred, and I lost the taste for it after that.
I’m not exactly sure why I decided to buy another bag of wild rice, but it sat, languishing in our cupboard for a long while until one day Max and I decided to make it for dinner. In fact, Max deserves a lot of credit for this wild rice salad. He came up with the main idea and did most of the vegetable prep. I think the only thing I did was make the balsamic dressing. And even that was his idea!
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice is a grass species that has a large edible grain. It was historically and remains today a traditional source of food for many Indigenous communities in North America. It is also a highly nutritious gluten-free grain.
I realize that wild rice isn’t a usual pantry staple. It’s even rare in North America, where most of the world’s wild rice crop is grown. However, it is an absolutely delicious grain. Well worth splurging on once in a while.
The only trick to wild rice is that it takes a long time to cook. Expect your rice to boil for at least 45 minutes and up to an hour before it softens. The wild rice is always a bit chewy and nutty. That’s one of the reasons why it is so perfect for this salad.
A holiday recipe
This wild rice salad is a complete vegan protein and is packed with winter vegetables. The combination of garlic-roasted vegetables and balsamic dressing gives it a flare of fanciness.
While my kids would gladly eat this salad every day, I tend to reserve it for special events. It takes a bit too much time to prepare for our busy weeknight schedule.
However, it is a perfect recipe for a vegan and gluten-free holiday meal. So skip the tofurkey and serve this memorable dish instead.
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 cups of water
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- 1 lbs. Brussels sprouts
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- One 15-ounce can of chickpeas (2 cups cooked)
- Place the wild rice in a pot with plenty of water (at least 3 cups). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Wild rice takes time to cook, so plan ahead!
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Peel, slice, and deseed the squash. Acorn squash can be hard to peel, so it's fine to leave on a bit of peel. Cut it into bite-sized cubes. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- Place the squash in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts, and remove any rough leaves. Wash the sprouts, then slice them in half. Finely dice the garlic.
- After 15 minutes, pull the squash out of the oven. Add the Brussels sprouts and garlic to the baking pan. Toss everything together, then sprinkle with salt. If you're doubling the recipe, then divide the mixture between two baking pans to ensure even cooking.
- Put the pan back in the oven to roast for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the salad dressing in the bottom of a large bowl. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Add them to the salad dressing and leave them to marinade. Add the wild rice and roasted vegetables when they are done cooking.
- Toss everything to evenly coat in the dressing. This salad is delicious served warm or cold.
- Thank you Feed Me Pheobe for the inspiration to combine roasted vegetables with wild rice. The flavors and dressing are my son's inspiration.
- For a bit of sweetness, feel free to add 2 tsp of honey or maple syrup to the salad dressing.