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Home » Foods you're probably not eating but totally should be, GFF (Gluten-free friendly), Great grains, Have a (well-functioning) heart, Holiday eats

Going Wild for Thanksgiving

Submitted by on November 9, 2009 – 7:28 pmNo Comment

T minus 17 days until Thanksgiving and the short-list of potential side dishes is already being negotiated in our family.  This year, my submission for healthy, gluten-free stuffing substitute comes from, of all unlikely places, the Executive Chef at the hospital where I work.  Now, while I’ll admit that hospital food rarely inspires much beyond a general sense of dread, the day that Chef George whipped up this delicious and autumnal Wild Rice Salad for a catering event, I found myself inspired to have seconds… and ply him for the recipe.

Wild rice is a whole grain variety of rice that’s even more nutritious than brown rice. It’s super high in protein– a standard serving (1/4 cup dry) has 6g of protein—ranking it right up there with king quinoa as far as protein content goes. Most people don’t like to bother with it once they learn of its 50-minute cooking time, but it’s not like you have to stand there and stir it while it cooks.  Just bring the water and rice to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and go bake a Thanksgiving pie or something.  Or watch someone else bake a Thanksgiving pie on the Food Network.   Of course, if you feel like being productive during that 50-minute cooking time, get going on this addictive recipe for Koshari for dinner and put that wild rice to good use.

Since Chef George never did get around to detailing the exact quantities of the ingredients in his recipe for me, I was forced to play around with the inputs a bit until I landed on the proportions that suited my tastes.  By all means, add more or less of any ingredient to your liking.  However you put them together, the recipe is a cinch.

A little bit chewy, a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy

A Thanksgiving-worthy side dish that's a little bit chewy, a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy.

Recipe: Chef George’s Wild Rice Salad (serves 6)

1 cup wild rice/wild rice blend  (I used Lundberg’s Wild Blend)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (~1/3 to 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/2 cup chopped pecans (if you have the time or inclination to toast the pecans before chopping, all the better)

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

2 TBSP olive oil

  1. Prepare the wild rice according to package instructions (probably 2 cups water to 1 cup rice).  When finished, set cooked rice aside to cool.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the cooked rice and mix until well-blended.
  3. Salt to taste.
  4. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Note: You can make the rice up to a day in advance and keep refrigerated in a sealed container.  Don’t mix in the rest of the ingredients until just before serving.

Nutrition info per serving: 225 calories, 29g carbohydrate (of which 3g are fiber), 5g protein, 11g (healthy, mostly monounsaturated) fat.

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