My beet and wild rice salad with spiced pecans goes from packable lunch to holiday table without missing a beat! (Get it?) This superfood salad is not only super healthy, it’s super delish.
beet and wild rice salad earns superfood status
This delicious salad earns a place on your table because it’s full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatories, and antioxidants. It’s pretty, too, and the ingredients are pitch perfect for the season, so consider adding it to your holiday menu plans. Grain and rice based salads are also great for stashing in the fridge for quick healthy lunches ~ they last and last, keeping their chewy texture and crunch for days. This one is no exception. The satisfaction factor with the buttery beets and the earthy wild rice is off the charts!
If you haven’t cooked with wild rice before, what are you waiting for? It’s the perfect ingredient to add to your soups, salads, and dinners for a cozy fall vibe.
what you’ll need for this wild rice salad
This is a simple salad that focuses on two or three star ingredients (plus a couple of supporting actors) for maximum impact.
- beets, roasted and chopped or cut in small wedges.
- wild rice, cooked al dente. It has a wonderful chewy texture. (It’s not actually a rice, it’s a wild aquatic grass.)
- baby arugula ~ mixing grains or rice with fresh greens is one of my favorite tricks for fall and winter skewing salads, just be sure to use sturdy greens like arugula, spinach, or kale.
- feta cheese ~ those bright white crumbles punctuate the dish both visually and flavor-wise.
- red onion ~ the bite from red onion wakes up a salad, I dare you to find a salad recipe on the site that doesn’t include onion in some form, it’s a must-have.
- pepitas ~ (the tender green inner kernels of pumpkin seeds) for a bit of color and seasonal crunch.
- spiced pecans
- balsamic dressing
make a creamy balsamic dressing
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
Blend the ingredients vigorously with a whisk, or immersion blender to create a thick creamy consistency. The honey and mustard help the oil and vinegar to emulsify into that thick creamy dressing we all love. I like it because it clings to the salad and enhanced every bite, rather than sinking to the bottom of the bowl!
why this salad works
The flavors, textures, and visuals of this salad work in harmony to make a satisfying and sophisticated salad that’s definitely holiday worthy.
BEETS are earthy with a subtle sweetness, and when you cook them just right, they have a buttery texture unlike any other veg. They glow like little gems in this salad.
WILD RICE is another earthy in flavor, with an absolutely wonderful chewy texture. The deep rich color is so appealing to the eye, especially when you pair it with the crimson beets.
ARUGULA has a slight bitter note, and adds a leafy freshness to every bite. The greens are an unexpected way to lighten this salad.
FETA CHEESE is famous for pulling a dish together with its sharp bite and pop of pure white.
SPICED CANDIED PECANS lend an intense element of sweet and heat, plus a really crisp crunch.
BALSAMIC VINEGAR and honey are balanced by olive oil and mustard to make a sweet but not too sweet dressing.
more beautiful fall salads
- Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing
- Pear Salad with Creamy Walnut Vinaigrette
- Fall Forward Salad Recipes
- Wild Rice Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette
- Harvest Wild Rice Salad
- Jeweled Wild Rice Salad
- Rye and Carrot Salad
Beet and Wild Rice Salad
- 2 medium beets, roasted or boiled, peeled, and diced or sliced in small wedges.
- 4 cups cooked wild rice
- 2 handfuls of baby arugula
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2-3 Tbsp pepitas
- 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
spiced candied pecans (this will make more than you need for this salad)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- pinch salt
to make the salad
- Put the wild rice in a serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Add more salt to taste. Note: you can reserve some of the dressing to add later if you like, especially if you aren't planning on serving the salad right away, since the rice will absorb some of the dressing over time.
- Toss the dressed rice with the arugula.
- Arrange the beets and red onion slivers on top, followed by the pecans, pepitas, and crumbled feta.
to make the candied pecans
- Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment, or a silpat mat. Set aside.
- Put the sugar, chipotle, salt, and water in a small skillet and heat over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture liquifies and becomes bubbly.
- Stir in the pecans, so they get coated in the caramel syrup, and, stirring constantly, continue to cook them for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over cook them, or cook them over too high a heat, because they can burn.
- Pour them onto the parchment paper and separate them as best you can with your spoon. Let them cool before using. Set aside 1/2 cup for this salad, and save the rest for snacking, or more salads.
to make the dressing
- Put all the ingredients in a jar with a cap and shake until thick and emulstified. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients.
- To roast beets, trim greens and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and roast in a 400F oven for 1-2 hours, or until the tip of a sharp knife pierces the flesh easily. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice or slice.
- To cook wild rice, measure out 1 heaping cup of rice and add to 4 cups of boiling water. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 50 minutes, or until tender to the taste. Drain.
- If your spiced pecans remain sticky and do not dry to a nice crunchy texture, you did not cooked them long enough.
Questions and Reviews
Sue, you knocked it out of the park again! This is such a delicious recipe! Because pecans are very expensive where I live, I skipped that ingredient, but even without them, this salad is wonderful. ?
Thank you Lorinda, I now make this every time I see beets!
Sue, We had this fantastic salad last night. It was just the best. The tang of the arugula, the feta, the nuts and the beets were perfect together.
I just told my husband that this is our holiday salad this year….make that all year. Thank you for another great recipe!
I’m thrilled Jan, I really think this will be a great holiday salad, we’ll be doing the same 🙂
Sue, I’m amazed that I’m the only person commenting on this delicious salad. I made it today and ate a generous portion for dinner. It is REALLY good! I didn’t candy the pecans only because I’m trying to watch my sugar intake. I did everything else exactly as instructed. I’m looking forward to coming home tomorrow after playing tennis and having this for lunch. I’ll be looking for more of your recipes like this. So, so, appetizing and tasty!! YUM!! Love your blog!
Awww thanks Carolyn, I really loved this salad, too, and wondered where all the commenters were hiding!!
Sue, really HAPPY to see you featuring a healthy recipe for a change instead of another dessert or sweet treat.
Q: Could the pecans be added without being candied?
I’ve printed this recipe and am going to buy everything tomorrow while I’m out running errands, so I can make this for lunches rest of week. Thanks for a healthy salad recipe!!
Yes, Carolyn, you can simply toast the pecans and they’ll be delicious. Just toast them on a dry pan in a 350F oven for about 10-15 minutes.
Thanks for your quick reply, Sue. I’m excited to make this salad!