Apple, cranberry, pomegranate, pecan, maple... See me coming? This delicious salad sounds to me like the perfect side dish or potluck salad for this year's Thanksgiving table. It's very good on it's own, in fact we eat it as an everyday meal. This recipe is nutritious, hearty and super easy to assemble. But it can also be served as a side dish with your savory Thanksgiving meal (or your Christmas meal! The countdown has definitely started in our house!) to add that little sweet touch to your menu.
The roasted pecans and the pomegranate seeds give a nice crunchiness, while the apples, cranberries and maple & apple cider vinegar bring a sweet side to this salad.
A few things you might want to know about this salad :
- This salad is also very good with quinoa.
- Brown or black lentils (French lentils) might be the better fit for this salad. But you can also completely skip the lentils if you want (I usually do this if I serve this rice salad as a side dish).
- I often add crumbled feta on top since I really like sweet & salty salads.
- You can use parsley or cilantro. I'm personally in "team cilantro", but since a lot of people aren't used to this herb or just don't appreciate it at all, you might want to go more conservative and use parsley for the nice touch of green if you're worried your guests aren't going to like the cilantro.
- You can use toasted walnuts instead of pecans or just no nut at all if you're looking for a nut-free salad.
- This salad is better the day you make it, but you can totally prepare it one day ahead and the result will still be delicious (the dressing will prevent the apples from turning an unpleasant brown-ish color).
SWEET & CRUNCHY WILD RICE SALAD (W/LENTILS, APPLE, PECANS, POMEGRANATE, CRANBERRIES & MAPLE DRESSING)
Yield : 4-6 servings
Ingredients for the salad :
- 3 cups cooked wild rice (about 1 cup uncooked wild rice cooked in 4 cups water or vegetable broth)
- 2 small apples finely diced apples (around 1 cup)
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
- ½ cup unsulfuried dried cranberries (I prefer cranberries sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar)
- ½ cup finely diced red onions or shallots
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 1 can cooked brown or black lentils (about 1 1/4 cup cooked lentils), rinsed (optional)
- Big handful of fresh parsley or cilantro (to taste), minced
Ingredients for the dressing :
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Cook your wild rice (I use a ratio of 1 cup for 4 cups of water or vegetable broth). Drain. Set aside and let cool over the counter or in the fridge while preparing the other ingredients.
- Preheat your oven at 325F. Spread the pecans on a cookie pan and toast the pecans for about 10-15 minutes. You can also toast your nuts in a pan at medium-high for about 7-10 minutes (shake every 2 minutes to prevent from burning). Set aside and let cool.
- In a large salad bowl, mix the wild rice, apples, coarsely chopped pecans, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds (see how to prepare the seeds here), red onions, lentils and parsley (or cilantro).
- Pour all the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a tight lid and shake until well combined. Correct the seasoning if needed.
- Drizzle with the dressing and toss.