This Wild Rice Fall Salad is chockful of fresh autumn ingredients, creating a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors and textures. It is a high-fiber dish full of amazing tastes, from the sweetness of apples and dried berries, nuttiness from the pecans, and wild rice with a hint of smokiness too. Plus, it’s topped with the freshest olives from our friends at California Ripe Olives that bring out the most amazing flavor to the salad. It’s also served with a light vinaigrette that makes it super bright and refreshing!
The holiday season is full of joy, laughter, and LOTS of comfort food that we gladly indulge in. I wouldn’t want it any other way! If you’re looking for recipes on the lighter side to balance it out, I have these light and delicious vegan salads like my Crunchy Salad with Peanut dressing, Quinoa Salad with Black Beans & Lime, and this Wild Rice Fall Salad. These veggie-loaded salads are perfect when you want to have a light wholesome meal for a change.
Wild Rice and Its Benefits
Despite its name, Wild Rice is not a type of rice. They are grains harvested from aquatic grasses that usually grow on shallow marshes and freshwater shores. It has a mild nutty and earthy flavor. It also gives a slightly smoky flavor and chewy texture once cooked. Wild Rice is naturally gluten-free, protein-rich and a great source of fiber. It may not be as widely popular as white and brown rice, but it is for sure, delicious!
What makes this Wild Rice Fall Salad?
For the Dressing:
Olive oil – We’ll use extra-virgin olive oil for the best results. However, any type of olive oil will do.
Apple cider vinegar – We’ll use 2 tablespoons of this wonder vinegar to add a bright tanginess to the dressing.
Agave – An excellent all-purpose addition to any salad dressing because it has a milder sweetness compared to other sweeteners. However, feel free to use other sweeteners that you have on hand like maple syrup or sugar.
Garlic – Aside from the nutritional benefit that garlic brings to our heart, freshly chopped garlic provides a refreshing shart bite.
Mint – Minced mint adds a zing of freshness to the dressing.
For the Salad:
Wild rice – It has a chewy texture and a nutty, earthy flavor. It works well as a potato, pasta, or rice substitute. Some people eat it on its alone, while others combine it with other grains or rice.
Kale – Also known as leaf cabbage and comes in green or purple color. Its flavor complements the wild rice perfectly.
Fuji Apple – gives the salad sweetness and a crisp texture.
Green Olives – these delicious bites with a briny and buttery taste provide a great flavor and texture to the apples. California Ripe Olives provide the freshest green olives and ensure a unique flavor in every dish!
Walnuts and pecans- what is a salad without a crunchy right? These two cold-season nut harvests do a great job in giving the salad the perfect saltiness and texture.
Dried cranberries or raisins – add some of these fruity, chewy dried goods for some tarty-sweet surprise.
Let’s put everything together!
To assemble the salad in a bowl, add the wild rice, apple, chopped green olives, walnuts or pecans, and dried cranberries or raisins.
In a separate bowl, make the dressing by mixing together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, agave, garlic, and mint. Whisk until totally combined.
Drizzle the dressing on top and toss it together.
Lastly, you may serve with an extra dressing on the side.
Can this be made ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can start preparing this a day ahead of time by making the dressing first. It actually tastes better when all of the ingredients are blended together to create a fantastic flavor profile. You can also chop and slice the veggies and fruits, though I’d rather do that on the same day so they are as fresh as they can be.
Can I add more greens to the Wild Rice Fall Salad?
You certainly can. I recommend using a few cups of arugula because its peppery flavor complements this rice salad recipe so beautifully. You can also add fresh parsley, basil leaves, celery, chives, and scallions.
Substitutions and Add-ins
Fruits that are in season are a good substitute for apples. Pomegranate, oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, and a lot more can give this cold wild rice salad recipe a new look and flavor profile.
In a recipe that calls for dried cranberries, use dried tart cherries and raisins instead. Remember that the cherries will give more tartness, while the raisins will be sweeter.
Add some tofu feta or vegan parmesan to make it savory and cheesy.
Storing leftover Wild Rice Fall Salad
If you are making a big batch of this salad, I recommend not tossing all the salad ingredients with the dressing. Just place enough amount for the number of people you are serving it to in a bowl and add the dressing there. The rest should go back to your fridge covered in plastic wrap. Keeping them separate will ensure the fruits and veggies stay fresher longer.
In case you have leftovers with the dressing poured in already, you can place it in a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. It might lose some of the crunch and crisp but should still be delicious.
Leftover Wild Rice: It can be purchased in small quantities or in bulk. If you buy in bulk, make sure to store it in a cool, dry pantry and is tightly sealed. Because it is unrefined, it will release its natural oils and become rancid over time, so use it within a year after purchase. You can keep a good amount of wild rice in a large, dry jar with a wide mouth and airtight lid for easy access.
Try these Easy Fall Salad and a Salad Dressing Recipes
The Perfect Fall Salad – Need not wait for the fall season for this salad as it can be prepared all year round. Just toss everything together – Pumpkin, walnuts, quinoa, pine nuts, and spinach and you’ll have a delicious and hearty main or side.
Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl – This dish is for you if you’re looking for a budget-friendly meal that’s still delicious and healthy. You’ll need four main ingredients – quinoa, sweet potatoes, raisins, and sunflower seeds, which you can simply substitute with whatever you have on hand in the pantry.
Basil Salad Dressing – What good is a salad if it doesn’t come with a dressing? For a budget-friendly vegan basil pesto salad dressing, try this lemon basil salad dressing, which blends simple ingredients like fresh basil and lemon with peanuts
This Wild Rice Fall Salad is chockful of fresh autumn ingredients, creating a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors and textures. It is a high-fiber dish full of amazing tastes, from the sweetness of apples and dried berries, nuttiness from the pecans, and wild rice with a hint of smokiness too. Served with a light vinaigrette that just makes it super bright and refreshing!
"They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
'Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways...
we got to start taking better care of ourselves " - Dead Prez