Wild Rice Salad with Peppers and Carrots

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I spent the first 10 days of July back in Boston, the land of steamy air, unexpected thunderstorms, sticky skin, and at least for me on this vacation, no cooking. We ate nearly all of our meals in restaurants or at friends’ houses, and while it was certainly a treat (Indian food! My favorite pasta at Delfino! Pizza!) it was awfully nice to get back into my kitchen last night. It’s been pretty hot here in Walla Walla, although the lack of humidity is a vast improvement on the Northeast right now. Still, I wasn’t feeling a strong inclination to stand over a stove for too long, or eat anything too hot. And I felt a pretty desperate need for vegetables after all that pizza and pasta and grilled meat in Boston.

This Wild Rice salad is perfect for that kind of evening, and is even better the next day, straight out of the fridge cold, when all the flavors have had a chance to get better acquainted. It does involve a fair amount of vegetable chopping, and unless you think to cook the rice ahead of time, there is some stove time required, too, but it’s nice, hands-off stove time, for the most part. And the mix of cooked and uncooked ingredients is surprising and lends some good variety to this salad.

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I found some lovely, tiny super sweet bell peppers at Trader Joe’s during one of my Portland treks. If you can find them, they are highly recommended: easier to slice into small pieces and just a bit sweeter than bigger bells. But I’m pretty sure this salad will be just as tasty with whatever you can find. I also used some small, fresh onions from my CSA, about one inch in diameter and without the usual onion’s papery skin. They seem a bit milder in flavor, so perhaps use shallots if you can’t find small onions. Finally, any wild rice blend will work fine. I used a mix of wild rice from a local grocery and the Brown Rice Medley from Trader Joe’s.

Wild Rice Salad with Peppers and Carrots

  • 1 cup wild or brown rice
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • a pinch of dried thyme (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small shallots or fresh onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 small sweet bell peppers (or 1 large or 2 medium), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, grated
  • a tablespoon or two of crumbled feta
  • 1 cup shredded green leaf or red leaf lettuce
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon Dijon vinaigrette (see below)

Stir the rice, water or broth, and thyme together (with a pinch of salt) in a saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the rice simmer until cooked through, about 45 minutes (depending on what rice you’re using).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions, stir, and let them cook for about five minutes, so they gently brown and crisp up a bit. Add about half the chopped peppers and continue to cook until the peppers soften and brown a little around the edges. Remove from the heat.

When the rice is fully cooked, remove it to a bowl. I put it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it down a bit. Stir in the sauteed onions and peppers, as well as the raw peppers, carrots, feta, and toasted almonds. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and the vinaigrette. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper.

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard or Dijon
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of dried (or fresh) dill
  • about 2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together well until emulsified. My favorite method is to put everything in a jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake until well mixed. This dressing will last about a week and will be good for more than one salad.

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While I had a great time in Boston, and an especially great time being with Mr. X, it was nice to come back to my kitchen and sit down for dinner to a big bowl of grains and vegetables. Woman cannot live on pizza alone, although it’s sometimes fun to try.

13. July 2010 by laura k
Categories: grains, salads, vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off