I am a big fan of wild rice. Something about the nutty texture of it in my mouth… or maybe it’s just knowing that it’s so rich in vitamins and minerals. Nutritionally speaking, it kicks white rice’s butt!
This artichoke wild rice salad is served cold but despite that, is deliciously hearty… artichoke hearty! Hardy har!
Seriously though, as far as salads go – it’s refreshing yet stodgy… if that makes any sense. Basically, it’s great for any season! It also makes a good side dish or an impressive salad to bring to a party.
To Soak or Not to Soak Wild Rice?
In most cases when it comes to rice, I would say soak. Generally speaking, pre-soaking rice in filtered water for around 4 hours prior to cooking is a great way to not only reduce the cooking time by up to half (great for brown, red, black and wild rice), but also to make its nutrients more bioavailable – in other words, more easily absorbed by your body.
It does this by eliminating any phytic acid present in the rice. Phytic acid is a greedy little bugger that clings to essential minerals in the rice and stops us from absorbing them. The jury is still out on phytic acid though, as it has been shown to also have strong antioxidant properties. So I won’t go there… I’ll let you do your own research 😉
Pre-soaking your wild rice also leads to a slightly mushier end result. I really like the nutty, slightly chewy texture of wild rice, so I recommend not to presoak the wild rice for this recipe.
How to Cook Wild Rice
The best way to cook wild rice is through the absorption method. The general rule is 1 cup of wild rice to 4 cups of salted water. For a neat amount in this recipe, it is 3/4 cup wild rice to 3 cups salted water.
ALWAYS rinse your rice really well before cooking, especially if you haven’t pre-soaked it and especially especially if it’s not organic.
Here’s how to cook wild rice with the absorption method:
- Add your rinsed rice to the salted water and bring it to a rapid boil.
- Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and place the lid on the pot.
- Leave it to cook, without stirring, then check after 40 minutes. At this stage the rice will be cooked enough to eat, but will likely be quite chewy and firm in texture. Not many of the grains will have burst open. (This is personally how I love it and will remove it from the heat at this point). If you prefer a softer rice, leave it to cook for a further 5-10 minutes, gently adding a little more warm water to the pot if the liquid has fully absorbed.
- As soon as it’s done to your liking, use a fine strainer to strain any excess liquid.
For this recipe, we then set it aside to cool while we prepare the dressing and the other ingredients.
Honestly, I wish I’d discovered home made salad dressings so many years sooner than I did. I used to have a fridge full of crappy store-bought dressings that sounded delicious but tasted strange and were full of preservatives and unnatural additives.
To make a good home made salad dressing, all you need is a few staple everyday ingredients and a trusty old jam jar for shakin’ it!
This one is oil free and naturally sweet thanks to the orange juice and a hint of maple syrup. There’s a hint of orange rind in there, wholegrain mustard, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt & pepper. That’s it. And it’s deeeelicious.
Let me know whatcha think of this yummy artichoke wild rice salad!
A hearty cold salad with an oil-free orange balsamic dressing
- 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice (rinsed well)
- 400 gram can of artichoke hearts (or the jarred variety)
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsely finely chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approximately 1 orange)
- 1/8 tsp shredded orange rind
- 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener of choice
- pinch salt & pepper to taste
Add 3 cups of water to a medium pot with a good pinch or two of salt. Add the rice, bring it to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and place the lid on.
While the rice is cooking, drain the artichoke hearts and cut them into quarters (or eighths if they are larger).
Add all the dressing ingredients to a jam jar and shake it like a polaroid picture.
After 40 minutes (or more - see recipe intro above for wild rice cooking tips), when the rice has finished cooking to your liking, strain away any excess liquid and set it aside to cool in a large mixing bowl.
Once the rice is cool, toss it with the chopped artichokes, parsley, walnuts and cranberries. Drizzle with the dressing to serve!