I love wild rice. Did you know that wild rice was not a grain but the seed of an aquatic plant? Yeah, that’s right! It’s a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, B vitamins and manganese, and it’s gluten-free. It’s also a good source of proteins and contains antioxidants, which help to fight against free radicals in the body.
I felt like making something with my package of black wild rice and what came to my mind was to made a colorful salad using seasonal ingredients. And because it’s fall, I thought about using butternut squash. I also used dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. The dressing is made with balsamic vinegar and a little maple syrup, which really add a nice touch to the salad.
I have to be honest. I wanted to roast my butternut squash, which is what I recommend to do for the salad, but with a newborn home, it’s a bit tricky to cook and it was lunch time and I forgot/didn’t have time to roast the squash. So what I did is simply use it raw, which was actually really good too. When I was more into the raw foods, I used to work with raw squash. You can really make delicious food. So if you were wondering if you can eat squash raw, yes you can. You can give it a try, it actually gives a nice crunch, but if you have time, roast it will be even better.
This wild rice salad is vegan, gluten and soy-free.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I can’t wait to make it again soon!
- 1 cup wild rice
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup celery, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups diced butternut squash, raw or roasted
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- If you want to roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the butternut squash with olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt. Arrange squash on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 30 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.
- While the squash is roasting, rinse rice under cold water. Then, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add rice and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain excess liquid.
- To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until combined.
- To assemble the salad, combined the cooked rice, roasted squash, cranberries, celery and toasted pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Chill in the refrigerator for couple hours and serve.
- Serve when ready or keep in the fridge.