Last Saturday night, Mr. S. and I threw a small dinner party for about eleven people. I love entertaining but choosing what to serve is always a giant PIA. We had decided on the main course but I was in a bit of a quandary on what side dishes to make. Luckily, I ended up finding a true crowd pleaser with this wild rice salad. I wanted to mix it up on the texture so I threw in some golden raisins, dried cranberries and candied pecans. I also cut the sharpness of the vinaigrette with some honey and it turned out great. It was tangy, hearty and best of all I was able to make it the night before. This tasty salad will definitely be added into our household recipe rotation. Mr.S. loved it so much he ate all the leftovers and both of HIS buddies actually took the time to send us emails thanking us for a great meal. Hmmm, straight men taking the time to sit down and write a thank you email for a meal?...It must have been good. I feel pretty honored.
Winter Wild Rice Salad
Servings: 4-6 as side dish
1 cup wild rice (depending on the kind of wild rice you buy the rice color may range from light brown to a black in color)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped toasted candied pecans
1/3 cup chopped toasted unsalted cashews
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion tops
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
honey, to taste
*Helpful Tip: Many of these ingredients can be readily (and cheaply) found at Trader Joe's- like the dried cranberries (they carry regular & organic), unsalted cashews, & candied pecans.
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the wild rice. Bring it back up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender (about 50 minutes to 1 hour). Drain and cool.
2. Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Mix in the raisins, cranberries, candied pecans, cashews, green onion tops, and red onion.
3. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard and sugar in a separate bowl. Add in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture and toss. Add in a few quick drizzles of honey to cut the tartness. Season salad with salt and pepper to taste. Toss again.