Wednesday, 7 September 2011

It's got bite. *is* wild!

Wild rice is something of a treat for me. It's got this hugely healthy reputation but what I always forget is that it is utterly delicious. Nutty, woody, fragrant and with a delicious bite that complements pretty much all textures and doesn't overpower the taste of anything you add to it. This salad is summery and light but manages to remain so filling. Serve by itself as a vegetarian dish or as a side dish to roast chicken if you prefer something a bit larger.

I've used peashoots for their sharp sweetness which is offset by the aniseed of the fennel and the lemony dressing. The brunoise of carrot and onion adds a crunch behind the natural chewiness of the rice. Honestly I could eat this every day of the week and never tire of it. A 250g box of wild rice produces about 6 portions of salad as a main dish. It freezes well though so I tend to boil up the whole packed and then I freeze portions in case I need a quick lunch for one later in the week.

Wild rice salad (serves 6)

  • 250g wild rice
  • 1 fennel thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 handful peashoots (or watercress), lightly chopped
  • 1 carrot, very finely diced
Lemon vinaigrette
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 3 parts olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp liquid honey 
  • S&P to taste
  1. First boil the wild rice in a large pan for 25-30 mins. The Tilda packets say 40-50 mins but I've never needed that amount of time. It should be soft in the centre and starting to split to reveal the soft white centre. Once cooked, drain and plunge in cold water to stop it from cooking.
  2. In a large salad bowl mix the diced carrot and onion, the peashoots, the fennel slices, tomato and the rice and then coat with dressing and stir together. I like a lot of vinaigrette but it's up to you. Less will obviously be healthier and more will be richer.

A note on the vinaigrette. This goes well with many dishes. I use it as a dressing for any salad as well as cous cous and it's delightful with chicken. You can adjust the sweetness depending on how much honey you use and it's also delicious with one small crushed garlic clove added. Although make sure your guests aren't garlic phobic before serving them this.


  1. Oh, I'll cook that, thanks - we're always looking for new huge bowls of salad to keep in the fridge.

  2. Mr Hungry really likes it with dry fried pistachio as well (shelled). In my opinion it's the vinaigrette that really lifts the flavour of this but obviously store without the dressing or the leaves will wilt. I really hope you like it.

  3. Looks like a wonderful healthy salad! I can definitely eat this with a nice piece of pan seared salmon.

  4. Yes the lemon would be great with the salmon. Let me know what you think.