Salad Week: My knock-off version of Whole Foods Market’s Rice Salad

Let’s start this post with an apology. I’m sorry for using such a crummy photo of this dish. This was a pre-blog salad; one that I posted on the Tasty Kitchen portion of The Pioneer Woman website. Before I got my big girl camera. And while I apologize for the photo, I make no apologies for the recipe. It rocks.

We first tried this salad when My Baby was in the hospital, having just given birth to Lilly Bug. Finally able to consume real food and starving to death, she sent The Complete Package out to pick up lunch. He went to a nearby Whole Foods Market and stocked up on sandwiches and salads from their fabulous deli.

One of those salads was a wild rice, citrus, and dried fruit concoction that knocked our socks off. So much so, that I kept the label from the container with the ingredients, conveniently listed from most prevalent to least. And that’s where I started when I got home and decided to recreate it.

Now before you freak out… yes, there is a long list of ingredients, but there’s a good chance you already have most of them in your pantry. And yes, you’ll have to cook rice (unless you decide to buy the kind in a pouch that you can microwave). But don’t let that cause you grief. I promise once you try this, you’ll understand that it’s totally worth the effort. And, as a bonus, it keeps well in the fridge and is easily transportable for lunches on the go. And it’s so delicious, you’ll find yourself sneaking back to the fridge over and over again to sneak another bite. Pinky swear.

NanaBread’s Knock-Off Whole Foods Market Rice Salad:
1 cup wild/brown rice mix
1 cup white basmati rice
1 cup soft wheatberries
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup dried cranberries (I use Craisins)
1/2 cup dates, pitted & chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 small lemons, zested & juiced
1 orange, zested & juiced
4 ozs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
honey or agave nectar, as needed (optional)

Cook each type of rice according to package directions; cool to room temperature or slightly warm to the touch. Note: wheatberries can be added to the basmati rice so they cook together. While the rice cooks, toast the almonds in a skillet. Toss the dried cranberries, dates, raisins, toasted almonds and zest of the lemons and orange into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl, toss all of the cooled rice together; add the melted butter and toss again. Dump the small bowl of fruits and almonds into the rice and toss.

In another small bowl, combine the canola and olive oils, lemon and orange juice, rice wine vinegar, salt and peppers. Whisk until well blended; pour over the rice mixture. Toss until well blended and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt, vinegar, etc. If it’s too tart, add a little honey or agave nectar to balance it out. Keep in mind that this tastes better after it sits for a while, so don’t tweak your seasonings too soon!

For maximum flavor, refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Set it out for 20 minutes before serving; it’s best at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator; it should keep for about 5 days. It also helps to give the container a good shake before serving to help redistribute the dressing.

NOTE: if you want to go dairy-free, omit the butter. If you want to go nut-free, omit the almonds. If you live for adventure, try adding chopped dried apricots or even toasted pistachios. Crazy, right?

Click here to see the original post on the Tasty Kitchen website.

Also posted today for Salad Week:
Party Salad by Kat at Tenaciously Yours. It’s a party. In a bowl. You heard me.

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17 Comments

Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Food & Recipes

17 responses to “Salad Week: My knock-off version of Whole Foods Market’s Rice Salad

  1. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! This salad recipe is caps-worthy if ever there was such a thing. Which there is…and this is it. I’m making this salad tonight! Heck, I’d make it yesterday if that we’re even possible. I love pilafs with dried fruit that much. I’m not sure it’ll go with the chicken pot pie were having for dinner, but it will make a darn fine breakfast. BTW, for any other nut-free households out there: my favorite nut-substitute is toasted/salted sunflower seeds to keep the integrity of the crunch.

    I bet your Baby gobbled this up after having her baby. Perfect re-fueling food.

    • I absolutely love toasted/salted sunflower seeds on salads. So tasty, and I love that crunch. Hope you love this rice salad. It has great flavor and great texture. And for the record, we ALL honked it down at the hospital! Good thing he bought a big tub, or we’d have been arm wrestling a new mommy for it. :)

  2. hungrycupcakes

    Love making copycat recipes… We have a few of our own on our website… Check them out! Thanks for sharing!

    • Yowza. Copycat Chicken Bryan? I love that stuff. I’ve tried a different copycat recipe for Carraba’s Chicken Bryan. It was mighty tasty. I’ll have to try yours next. And those cookies look good, too, but then I love anything with toasted coconut in it.

      • hungrycupcakes

        We will have to try yours as well! The cookies were the best we have ever made… But a lot of prep time. Funny you say that, I’ve been using a hint of toasted coconut in all my cookies since, gives them a little extra :)

  3. Big Sis

    Sounds yummy. I’ll have to try this one!

  4. This sounds fabulous! And, right up my alley (minus the almonds and it’s up Emma’s too!) I’ll have to give this a try — and with the sunflower seeds mentioned in the earlier comments. Mmmmmm!

    • Sunflower seeds would be a perfect substitution for almonds in this salad, Liz. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you and your girls think of it!

  5. Kat

    OMG THERE ARE SO MANY INGREDIENTS AND I HAVE TO COOK RICE. WAH.

    In all seriousness, knowing that WFM is basically a spiritual home for me, that you actioned this only reinforces how great The Compound could truly be. Bookmarking this for the nights where I want to play WF salad bar at home (the other component to this would be roasting a large quantity of root vegetables).

    • Hahahaha. You’re cracking me up. Your first comment actually made me snort! Sounds exactly like something My Baby would say. I love it. Now you HAVE to make it.

  6. Ohhh…this sounds fabulous! And looks even better!

  7. Pingback: Friday Food Round-Up! | Tenaciously Yours,

  8. Pingback: Salad Week Finale: Greek Quinoa Salad « Comfortably Domestic

  9. bakeaholicmama

    Some how I missed commenting on this salad during Salad week! This looks awesome!!

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