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.