Now that it’s regularly above 32-degrees, I’ve been bundling him up and hitting the mean suburban streets with my two-month-old and my two-year-old in tow. My toddler gets a real kick out of splashing in muddy pothole puddles while I get a real kick out of breathing fresh air. The baby? He’s pretty much the happiest baby on any block so he’s just psyched to be part of the party.
In any event, because it’s finally starting to feel livable in the Northern Corridor, I decided to forgo making something warm and cozy for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. I was assigned Join Us Pull Up a Chair, which is helmed by the lovely Heather (also a mom to young kids), and I came across her delicious-looking Wild Rice & Butternut Squash Salad. This crunchy medley reminds me of my mom’s Wild Rice & Montrachet Salad, which has been a family (and catering business) staple for decades.
Even though I was equally tempted by Heather’s Chicken with Artichokes and Lemon and this Italian Meatball Soup, I knew I had landed on a winner when I took one look at the dressing’s ingredients. What’s not to love about Rosemary, Balsamic and Maple Syrup? This salad is absolutely outstanding and it’s virtually seasonless in the sense that you could serve it at a summer picnic or paired with pork tenderloin in the dead of winter. I made a few tweaks – namely swapping out kale in favor of spinach and adding a crumble of salty almonds. In the end, my mom even said it might just be better than her own rendition, which is pretty much her highest praise.
Crunchy Wild Rice Salad with Rosemary-Maple Dressing
Serves 6 as a side
Ingredients for the Salad:
3 cups cooked wild rice, warm (Avoid quick-cooking wild rice; I recommend Lundberg Organic Wild Rice, 8 Ounce) – $5.11
2½ cups peeled and chopped butternut squash – $2.29
1½ Tablespoons olive oil – stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper – stock
2½ cups thinly sliced baby spinach – $2.49
¾-cup dried cranberries – $2.99
½-cup roasted/salted almonds, roughly chopped – $5.29
¼-cup thinly sliced fresh basil – $1.99
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil – stock
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup – stock
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar – stock
½-teaspoon sea salt – stock
½-teaspoon black pepper – stock
½-Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary – $1.99
1 garlic clove, minced finely or pressed – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $22.15
Cost per serving: $3.69
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. On the stove top, cook the wild rice in chicken broth/stock according to package directions. Lundberg wild rice takes roughly 45 minutes to cook. Season the rice with a pinch of salt.
3. In a medium bowl, toss the chopped butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the squash is fork tender.
4. While the squash is roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk vigorously. Set aside.
5. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cranberries, almonds, squash and basil. Allow the rice to cool to warm then combine with the remaining salad ingredients. Toss with the dressing and serve at room temperature.
Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says
This is just beautiful!! I am for sure going to make this. Thanks for the tip on the wild rice.
Heather @ Join Us, Pull up a Chair says
Oh so glad you loved this recipe and the sweet words from your mom! This was a huge hit in our family and you’re right the dressing is AMAZING! I never thought about making this as a summer salad, but it would be great with some grilled chicken.
Deanna Segrave-Daly says
The colors in this salad are simply magical. We just finished up a recipe contest with U.S. Rice over at Recipe ReDux so needless to say I have rice on my mind and this recipe is calling my name!
Jane, The Heritage Cook says
I love wild rice dishes and the rosemary-maple dressing sounds fantastic. Adding this to my must-make list!!
What a gorgeous salad! 😀 The maple and rosemary is like a win-win – for me at least since I adore them both. I could live on this…great SRC choice 🙂
I just happen to have wild rice in the pantry and butternut in the cellar. What a great combo for a salad.
Hi….is this meant to be a meal on it’s own or a side?
Mariel Goodson says
It’s both, really. We served this as a side on Easter, but I’ve also eaten it many times as lunch, all by itself. It’s plenty filling when you dish out a large portion 🙂
Thanks for responding so quickly! 🙂
Since this serves 6 as a side….i’m guessing 2 servings worth (side portions) would be a filling lunch or…?
Mariel Goodson says
Yes, I would say this makes about 3-4 lunch-size portions so that’s a good estimate.