Last Updated on May 27, 2022
Need to shake up that same ol’ same ol’ salad? Let me introduce you to a powerhouse ingredient to add to your salad toolkit: wild rice!
Wild rice salad is easy-peasy, but super-hearty, crazy good for you, and soooooo delicious! Better still, with this wild rice salad template, you can use whatever you’ve got in your fridge to make a totally amazing meal in minutes!
Wild rice is a nutritional powerhouse and allergy-friendly:
- A serving of wild rice has more than 6 grams of protein, twice as much as most rice. (One of many awesome vegan protein sources .)
- Wild rice also has fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium, things most of us can use more of.
- Wild rice is gluten-free and technically not a grain, so if you’re grain-free you can enjoy it as well.
Wild rice is easy to cook, harder to mess up than most rice, and is way more nutritious.
Plus, it is fantastic in so many different dishes! (Check out this collection of tempting wild rice recipes)
I like to make a big pot of it and serve it once as a simple side with chicken or salmon.
Then I’ll take some of the leftover rice and put it in broth for a nourishing soup, or if I have time for something more complicated, I’ll use it in a wild rice mushroom stew recipe.
But by far my favorite way to use wild rice is by tossing it with a bunch of different veggies and adding a flavorful dressing and some feta cheese.
Once you’ve tried this super-easy but delicious template for making wild rice salad, I’m sure you’ll add it to your regular rotation also!
This wild rice salad is incredibly easy and adaptable to so many different add ins. I’ve tried a bunch of combinations and this one is by far my favorite. The crunchy sweet red peppers with the sharp feta and the tangy vinegar is stellar.
I love the vegetarian version of this wild rice salad, but when I’ve had leftover fish I needed to use up, I’ve added that in as well and it’s been great.
If the other diners in your house need some animal protein to call it a meal toss in some cooked fish or chicken or leftover beef, and this wild rice salad should satisfy everyone.
You could also make it vegan by leaving out the feta and adding in some nuts or seeds, like pepitas or sunflower seeds. You really can’t go wrong!
As to dressing, the nutty flavor of the wild rice is so prominent, I’ve found that a strong balsamic vinegar is the best pairing. The bottled dressings I’ve tried don’t quite stand up to the wild rice as well. If you have a favorite homemade vinaigrette you like, make it extra strong for wild rice salad.
You can throw the ingredients together right before serving, or make it ahead. Unlike greens-based salads, you can dress it and pack it for lunch or bring a big platter full to your next potluck. The chewy, flavorful, hearty salad is a definite crowd-pleaser.
This amazing wild rice salad is based on what happened to need using up in my fridge one day. It came together so beautifully, I now pretty much make it every time I have leftover wild rice. The recipe can adapt to whatever you have on hand. The chewy, nutty wild rice and a flavorful dressing pretty much ensures your salad will delight your tastebuds!
Don’t have wild rice or the veggies it calls for? Feel free to sub in quinoa, farro, teff or any other grain you like whatever vegetables need using up in your fridge.
Wild Rice Salad with Red Peppers and Feta
If you don’t have all the ingredients below, DO NOT WORRY. As long as you have cooked wild rice, some kind of veggie, a good strong vinegar and other favorite add ins, your salad will be delicious. I happened to have some cooked cauliflower when I made this and thought it worked really well, but broccoli or kale or arugula would be great, too.
One of my favorite vinegars to use is elderberry (or some elderberry oxymel, which tastes a lot like balsamic). Here are 20 uses for elderberry that might surprise you.
One spring evening, all I had in the fridge besides wild rice and feta was carrots. I grabbed some chives, wild violets, and spruce tips from our edible front yard and added them as well. It was divine! Here are more spruce tips recipes if you’re curious about this fun foraged ingredient. Wood sorrel also makes a delicious and pretty foraged addition to wild rice salad.
If you come across invasive garlic mustard, it would also work well finely chopped in place of chive or scallions, especially the tender stems. Just taste it first, as garlic mustard can sometimes be bitter. Find out about using this invasive plant and garlic mustard recipes.
Cooking wild rice: You can cook on the stovetop following the package directions. If you soak it ahead, it usually takes 40-45 minutes. Or if you’re an instant-pot owner, you might want to follow these instructions for how to make wild rice in the instant pot from All the Nourishing Things.
1 cup cooked wild rice (I always recommend soaking ahead to cut cook time and make the nutrients more available)
1 diced red pepper
1/2 cup cooked cauliflower
2 tbl+ crumbled feta cheese (or vegan cheese replacement)
Optional: leftover cooked salmon, cut into chunks (omit for vegetarian)
Generous splash balsamic vinegar (I used raspberry; check out these flavored vinegars) or try a favorite salad dressing
Ground Himalayan salt to taste
Easy-peasy directions: Combine in a bowl and toss to coat. Top with chopped scallions or chives (or other perennial herbs from your garden) if you like. Enjoy!
Other wild rice salad options:
- This bowl would also work with sauteed snap peas, asparagus, and/or broccoli. You could give it an Asian flavor with a sesame dressing or sesame oil and rice vinegar (omit the feta). Small bits of leftover chicken or beef would also work well.
- Wild rice also pairs beautifully with fruit, so try using cranberries and pecans in fall, orange or pomegranate in the winter.
Have you had wild rice salad? What’s your favorite combination? Please let me know in the comments so I can try it!
Pin to save this wild rice salad recipe for later!
Additional photo credit: Whitney
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.
Raia Todd says
Sounds delicious! I love wild rice. 🙂
This is perfect. Looks so good and healthy!
Renee D Kohley says
Love the salmon addition idea! My girls will love this!
I hope they do!