4 years ago

Cranberry & Squash Wild Rice Salad

Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate shares her recipe for a hearty Thanksgiving side dish that’s sure to get rave reviews from your guests!

As a Minnesota transplant, wild rice is a kitchen staple that is quite new to me. I had the random bowl of wild rice soup here and there growing up, but it was definitely not a winter tradition, as it is in my husband’s family. I’ve grown to absolutely love the heartiness of wild rice and I not only use it in soups, but in casseroles and grain salads whenever I can. Recently I happened upon Lunds & Byerlys Wild Rice Medley which is a combination of Minnesota-grown wild rice, brown basmati rice, red Jasmine rice, and split baby garbanzo beans.  I love the different textures and flavors in this medley, and knew it would be a perfect base for a Thanksgiving grain salad.

Especially with all of the heavy, cream-loaded recipes that grace our Thanksgiving dinner tables, I thought we could use a healthier wild rice salad to lighten things up. This Cranberry and Squash Wild Rice Salad fits that bill exactly and is just bursting with yummy things.

Along with the wild rice medley, I added fresh cranberries that were lightly sautéed in orange juice, honey, and rosemary to get them slightly softened and add a touch of sweetness. I also roasted slices of delicata squash, which is one of my favorite squash varieties, not only because it is delicious but it does not need to be peeled. The salad is finished off with a maple vinaigrette and some lightly toasted chopped pecans.

The last great thing about this salad is that it can be prepared a day in advance, which means one less thing to cook on Turkey Day!

Cranberry & Squash Wild Rice Salad

For the squash:

1 medium delicata squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
8 oz Lunds & Byerlys Wild Rice Medley (or 8 oz wild rice)

For the cranberries:

2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced

For the dressing:

¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice delicata squash down the middle, the long way.
  • Scoop out the seeds, then slice into thin half circles.
  • Toss with olive oil and garlic, and season with salt.
  • Place on greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Cook the wild rice medley according to the instructions on the package.
  • While rice and squash are cooking, you can start on the cranberries, and dressing.
  • To make the cranberries, combine the cranberries in a medium skillet with orange juice, honey, and fresh rosemary.
  • Season with dash of salt.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, just until cranberries start to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and place into a large bowl where you will combine all ingredients.
  • In same skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add shallots and celery and cook until they are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add to large bowl with cranberries.
  • Make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients and stirring well until combined.  Alternately, you can place dressing ingredients into a mason jar, seal tightly, and shake until well combined.
  • Add wild rice and squash to bowl with cranberries and celery mixture, and toss well to combine.
  • Drizzle with dressing, and toss gently to evenly distribute dressing.
  • Top with chopped pecans.

Enjoy!

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