Served warm in winter or cold in summer, this is a fresh and flexible side dish any time of year. Easy to make ahead of time (mostly a bunch of chopping), it keeps well for a buffet or potluck. Adapted from the now-closed Vicki Lee Boyajian Cafe in Needham, MA, whose recipe was published in Gourmet.
- 1/2 pound wild rice (about 1 1/2 cups), rinsed
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
- 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 onion, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 bell peppers (mix of colors is nice) cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted until golden
- 1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt (at least 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt for dressing; more for cooking wild rice)
- Pepper (at least 1/4 teaspoon for dressing)
- In a large saucepan bring 5 cups salted water (salted enough so you can taste it) to a boil. Add wild rice and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kernels are tenderly chewy, with some puffed open, about 35-40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add vegetables and raisins/cranberries and mix with wild rice.
- In a bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Adjust seasonings (vinegar, salt, pepper) as needed. Toss with almonds before serving.
- Salad may be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
- Feel free to substitute vegetables – this recipe is very adaptable.
- For a milder onion bite, soak diced onions in cold water and drain before adding to salad.
Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.