Cranberries, spiced pecans, wild rice and quinoa make a delicious salad for Thanksgiving or THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING.
While naturally gluten free and vegan, feel free to add in leftover turkey, ham or soft cheese (like feta) for a hearty one dish meal.
This big salad makes a lot of leftovers and can easily be cut in half.
I was inspired by chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s mixed grain salads from his cookbook Plenty More to create this Thanksgiving version.
If you’ve never made wild rice before, you are in for a treat.
Wild rice isn’t really rice at all, but a seed of aquatic grass with a rich, nutty flavor. Besides being delicious, 1/4 cup of cooked wild rice is a nutritional powerhouse: less than 150 calories, no fat, 6 grams of protein and essential nutrients like magnesium and zinc.
This is a great make ahead salad. Make the rice, quinoa and simple lemon juice and olive oil marinade in advance, then place everything in the fridge and assemble the ingredients just before serving.
Flavor your grains at every step of cooking to keep them from being “too salty” at the end. Cook the rice and quinoa separately in water or broth and add in an extra pinch of salt. (If I don’t have enough broth on hand, I use half broth, half water.)
Just be patient; wild rice will take about 50 minutes to cook. The kernels will expand and look plump when done. Drain and let cool.
After rinsing, brown the quinoa in a dry pan over medium heat until it starts to pop, about five minutes. Add in liquid (1 part quinoa: 2 parts liquid) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover until quinoa is dry and has little holes of steam. Let the quinoa cool before fluffing with a fork.
While the wild rice and quinoa are cooking, measure out other ingredients.
Toss the grains together with the dressing, then taste and adjust for seasonings.
Add in fruit, nuts and herbs and serve over a bed of peppery arugula or your favorite greens.
Think of this recipe as a guide and replace the ingredients above with your favorite substitutions.
*Instead of cranberries, use chopped dried apricots or diced fresh apples.
*Toss in chopped almonds, pistachios or a mix instead of pecans.
*Add chives, scallions or mint instead of parsley.
*Replace lemon juice with orange juice or rice wine vinegar.
*Use different grains, like basmati rice or a quinoa medley. Add in roasted vegetables like butternut squash or potatoes.
Wishing you all a peaceful and hopeful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love!
I’d love to see what you’re cooking this holiday!
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- 1½ cups dry wild rice (10½ oz/300 gm)
- 1½ cups dry quinoa (10½ oz/300 gm)
- 1 quart vegetable stock/broth (low sodium if possible)
- 1 cup dried cranberries (5 oz/140 gm)
- 1 cup chopped pecans ( 5 oz/140 gm) (toasted or roasted and spiced)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (15 gm)
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon ( 2 oz/60 ml)
- ¼ cup olive oil ( 2 oz/60 ml)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 4 cups arugula or baby spinach
- pinch of garlic powder and cayenne, optional
- Make wild rice: Rinse rice well. Place wild rice, a pinch of salt and at least 6 cups liquid (mixture of cold water and broth) to cover in a saucepan with a lid. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is firm, about 50 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside to dry.
- Make quinoa: Rinse quinoa well. In a saucepan, brown the dry quinoa over medium heat until it starts to pop, about five minutes. Then add in 2½ cups liquid** (mixture of cold water and broth), a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 15 minutes, until quinoa is dry and has little holes of steam. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Place wild rice and quinoa in separate ziplock bags in the refrigerator until needed.
- Measure out cranberries, chopped nuts and chopped parsley and set aside.
- Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add in a pinch of garlic powder and cayenne, optional.
- When ready to combine, mix wild rice and quinoa with marinade. Toss well, taste and adjust for seasonings. Toss to combine with cranberries, pecans and parsley and serve over arugula or your favorite mixed greens.
- Can be served hot, cold or at room temperature.
- Garnish with extra nuts, cranberries and chopped parsley, if desired.
- **Although normally 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, here I use less liquid for a firmer texture.
Cranberry Wild Rice Salad
with Quinoa and Pecans
Recipe based upon 18 servings.