If you're searching for a refreshing, flavorful salad for the holiday table, I've got just the dish. This wild rice salad has been a Meyer family favorite for years and I'm always happy to see it on my plate. Right when the richness of buttery beef, buttery potatoes and buttery gravy threatens to tank your palate, slide your fork over for a bite of this salad—snappy and downright refreshing with orange zest and the crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds.
Bonus 1: It tastes even better the next day, which makes it a perfect do-ahead dish, as well as a leftovers treat.
Bonus 2: It can easily be made vegan.
Bonus 3: You can play with the ingredients to your heart's content. Pine nuts instead of pumpkin seeds. Pomegranate seeds instead of golden raisins. Add cubes of roasted squash. Add cubes of apple. Just don't add marshmallows...
Photo By Stephanie Meyer
4 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups wild rice
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup golden raisins (or pomegranate seeds)
1 cup chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring water, broth, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in rice and bring back to a boil. Cover pan, turn heat to low, and simmer rice until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Drain rice in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.
2. Add cranberries, raisins, green onions, pumpkin seeds, parsley, and orange peel to cooled rice.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup and salt. Pour over salad and toss to thoroughly combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made one day ahead; reserve nuts and stir in right before serving to preserve crunch. Serves 12
Stephanie Meyer is a home cook, writer, and photographer. Motivated by the belief that all good things come from preparing meals at home, Stephanie shares recipes, cooking tips and photographs on her accessible food blog, Fresh Tart; on TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine; and on Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures/Food & Wine Magazine. Stephanie is also the founder and organizer of Fortify: A Food Community, a group of Minnesota writers, photographers, growers and food industry professionals that celebrates food, hosts educational events and raises money for local charities.