My Jeweled Wild Rice Salad is a joyful gluten free vegan recipe and a make-ahead friendly side dish for your holidays. Bonus: whatever their diet, nobody at your table will feel like a second class citizen.
“I just finished making this for our office Christmas party tomorrow. It looked so festive and sounded delicious so I thought I would give it a try…OMG!!!! I hope it lasts until tomorrow morning since I can’t keep my hands (spoons really) out of it! I got some pea tendrils and pomegranate arils for the garnish, too” ~Christy
This festive jeweled wild rice salad will perk up your holiday tables this year, and you can make it ahead of time, which is such a boone. The rice will stay firm and chewy and will absorb the flavors of the pomegranate allspice dressing as it sits in the fridge. I add a few fresh greens and extra ‘jewels’ just before serving ~ it’s just gorgeous!
Wild rice is such a versatile ancient grain. It’s full of nutrients and fiber, and can be served hot, cold, or room temerature. Look for it with the regular rice in your supermarkets, or buy it online, here.
How to cook wild rice ~
- Wild rice is super easy to cook, you don’t need to know any specific amounts. Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with at least 3 inches of cold water or stock. If you like you can add a pinch of salt and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and cook until the rice is tender and the grains begin to split, this can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. If the liquid cooks down, add more. When the rice is tender, drain off the excess liquid.
- You can soak the rice overnight to cut down on cooking time, but I don’t find this necessary. I really appreciate the nutty chewy texture of wild rice, and I like to preserve it, so if anything I under-cook my rice.
- One great tip is to cook a large batch of wild rice and then freeze it. Let it cool completely, then put in a zip lock freezer bag or storage container and freeze for up to 6 months.
“Jeweled’ rice is a traditional Middle Eastern dish, served at special occasions like weddings, etc. I love the concept so much that I’ve borrowed it several times over. My Persian Jeweled Rice is close to the traditional recipe, it’s a hot dish made with basmati rice, saffron, and a heady array of spices. But I’ve adapted it for lighter dishes like my Jeweled Tabbouleh and my Vegan Ancient Grain Salad, too.
The ‘jewels’ are colorful toppings of dried fruits and nuts. Pomegranate arils add a final touch of sparkle.
- 4 cups cooked wild rice (cook it in broth or stock for more flavor)
- 1/4 red onion, finely minced
- 2 inner stalks of celery, finely diced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice, to taste
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 cups total of the following:
- sliced or slivered almonds
- pistachios, rough chopped
- dried cranberries
- dried apricots, diced
- black and golden raisins
- microgreens or baby greens
- pomegranate seeds
- Put the wild rice into a large bowl with the onion and celery.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and taste to adjust any of them to your liking.
- Toss the rice with enough of the dressing to moisten thoroughly. Be sure to stir the dressing first if it has separated.
- Toss the rice with the dried fruits and nuts.
- You can now chill the rice if you are not serving it warm. Can be made up to 2 days in advance.
- When ready to serve, toss with more dressing if necessary, and arrange on a bed of baby arugula or micro-greens. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds.
Make this jeweled wild rice your own ~
Omit the greens and serve this wild rice as a warm pilaf