Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts

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Healthy Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts
Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts is the perfect fall and holiday salad ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts is the perfect fall and holiday salad, it’s healthy and bursting with colorful fruits and nuts in every bite.  Use it as a side dish, or a healthy grab and go lunch.

Wild Rice Salad with fruit and nuts

Why do I only think about wild rice once a year?  Every November, it’s like clockwork, I’ll pick up a package at the supermarket and make something wonderful with it, like this Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts.  Then I’ll wonder (again) why it’s not part of my regular rotation.  I love to cook with unique foods that have a little oomph — things that have great visual appeal, or an unusual texture, or flavor, and wild rice has all that going on.  The long black grains are glossy and slightly chewy — they split open during cooking to reveal the softer inside.  The rice (technically a grass) is harvested in the fall and originated in the Great Lakes region, where in some places you can actually go out and forage the wild grains by shaking them right into your boat

Wild rice is beautiful, and adds an earthy touch to fall dishes, so even if you only give it a try once a year, it’s worth it.  You can mix it with regular rice, or use it in stuffings and soups, but it also makes a fantastic salad.

Healthy, whole grain, and gluten free, wild rice with nuts andcranberry salad

If you’re into all the trendy ‘ancient grains’ like quinoa and farro these days, you can include wild rice on the list.  It’s second only to oatmeal in protein, and it’s gluten free.  I loaded this healthy salad with toasted pecans, cashews, and pistachio nuts, along with minced red onion ,the tiny inner stalks of celery (with the leaves) and sweet dried cranberries.  It’s a symphony of colors and textures, and it would make any vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free eaters at your holiday table very happy.

TIP: The grains of wild rice are firm and chewy and keep well, so think about making this salad on Sunday and bringing it to work for lunch all week.

Healthy, vegan and gluten free wild rice salad

Wild rice takes longer to cook than regular rice, so make sure to cook them separately if you plan to mix them.

TIP: I like to under cook my wild rice so the grains stay dark and whole.  Longer cooking will tend to split the grains, which is fine, but my preference is for the look and texture of a firmer grain.

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I’m not gonna lie, this is a chewy salad.  There’s texture upon texture in here; you know you’re eating real food and it’s wonderful.  Most grain based salads are either too mushy for me, or too heavy to really be called a salad.  This one is neither.

Some other grain salads you might like ~

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts
Rate this recipe
85 ratings

Yield: serves 6-8


  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup raw pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • several small inner stalks of celery, with leaves
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of your favorite vinegar, I used fig
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. This first soaking step is optional, but will help keep your wild rice from splitting as much, which I think makes a prettier salad. If you have the time, soak the rice in plenty of water for 8 hours. Then drain and continue.
  2. Bring a quart of water and a teaspoon of salt to boil in a saucepan and add the rice. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes, or just until the rice is tender. Wild rice will always have a little bite to it, so don't try to cook it until completely soft.
  3. While the rice is cooking, put the pecans and cashews in a large skillet and toast, over medium heat, until you smell them and they start to turn slightly brown. Take them off the heat and let them cool before giving them a rough chop.
  4. Drain the rice and put in a bowl.
  5. Toss the warm rice with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Whisk together the dressing in a small jar. If you put the top on and shake it vigorously, it should emulsify. Taste it to adjust the amount of vinegar or seasonings. Toss the salad with half of the dressing, and then refrigerate until completely chilled.
  7. When ready to serve, add more dressing and toss well.


slightly adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body



Don’t forget to pin this Wild Rice Salad!

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  • Reply
    Deb Jensen
    December 14, 2018 at 2:01 am

    I just made this salad and I absolutely LOVE it!
    I always make my wild rice in broth instead of water and I added diced apple to the mix because I had some. It’s a gorgeous salad and the texture and flavors are incredible! Thank you!

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  • Reply
    October 26, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    I love this salad. It’s perfect for fall. Absolutely delicious.
    Wild rice takes forever to make so I make a ton of wild rice and freeze it in 2 cup batches.
    This salad came together very quickly for me.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      I think that’s such a smart idea to make the wild rice once and freeze it for the rest of the season, I’m going to do that.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. Made it for thanksgiving dinner. We never have healthy dishes on the table. I been trying to eat healthier and felt no better way to stay focused on healthier eating, than to make something healthy for the table myself. It was a conversation piece and it looked so colorful and just pretty. I love pretty food and it was so delicious everyone who tried it loved it. I made it with pinenuts, pepitas ( pumpkin seeds ) and cashews. Love the texture & flavor of this salad. Thank you again!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Lisa, what a nice comment, I could just picture this pretty salad on your table :)

  • Reply
    Cory C.
    November 24, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Just made this for our Thanksgiving. It tastes and looks great. I used white wine vinegar and added a little more honey than called for. Also, skilled the salt as I used salted nuts. Yum! A nice change.

    • Reply
      November 24, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Thanks Cory, glad you like it!

  • Reply
    Shirley Stann
    November 13, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Hi Susan, not sure you saw my note on FB but I made this and it is Delicious. Very mild flavors but not boring. You COULD add more mustard to the dressing to give it more zing but I liked it as is. I COULD have used a little more dressing though. I saw another poster commented on the combo of textures and that is the best thing about this. Nothing strong here and so healthy and good.

    • Reply
      October 27, 2018 at 8:49 am

      So glad you liked it Shirley, and always feel free to play with the amounts etc in my recipes to tailor it to what you love. I agree about the textures, so wonderful in this salad!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I used toasted slivered almonds .. yummy

    • Reply
      April 28, 2017 at 8:08 am

      I’m so glad you liked this salad Mary, it’s one of my favorites!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Just wondered about the celery – after chopping, what would be the measurement (in cups) used, approximately? Thank you! Can you tell I’m a novice cook?

    • Reply
      November 10, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      You can start with half a cup, Janet, but if you like more feel free to add more.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Sue, I’ve just bought this rice so I’ll try your recipe.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Wild rice is such an interesting grain (grass!) I love to experiment with it. Hope you like this Manu <3

  • Reply
    December 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Looks amazing. Do you by chance have the nutritional information?

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