Wild Rice Salad with Kale, Sweet Potato and Pomegranate

February 10, 2014 § 3 Comments

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In my last post I described the comfort I find in frying chicken, and a before that I waxed rhapsodic about brown butter.  Now let’s turn to food with a lower fat content.  Here is a recipe that is virtuous and delicious: a wild rice salad.  It took me a long time to overcome my reluctance to cook with whole grains and I still stubbornly refuse many whole grain alternatives that I know are good for me.  But I have embraced salads made with chewy, nutty grains like farro, barley and wild rice (which is actually a seed).  These dishes make sense to my mouth in a way that whole wheat pasta never will.

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Grains serve as a wonderful base for my favorite kind of salad – the sort that uses random bits from the fridge.  Cook a big batch of wild rice to serve hot alongside dinner, and save the leftovers for a salad the next day.  Toss the cooked grains together with greens, diced apple, shreds of yesterday’s roast chicken… there are endless combinations of great flavors and textures. If the thought of combining two ingredients in a salad doesn’t make your lip curl, add them. The recipe I offer here is a starting point. I love the pop of the pomegranate next to the sweet potato. The ribbons of kale are pretty in the salad and pack in even more nutrition.  The dressing features fresh and preserved lemon, one bright in flavor, the other briny.

Wild Rice Salad with Kale, Sweet Potato and Pomegranate 

Yield: 6 servings

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

6 cups cooked wild rice

1/2 bunch Lacinato (‘Dinosaur’) kale, ribs removed and thinly sliced into ribbons

1 cup pomegranate seeds

2 Tablespoons chopped parsely

For the dressing:

2 scallions, white and light green parts minced

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp of salt

rind from 1/2 of a preserved lemon, minced.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the cubed sweet potato in olive oil and spread it on a sheet tray.  Roast until they are soft and turning golden.  In a large bowl combine the rice, sweet potato, kale, and pomegranate seed. Sprinkle with parsley.

2. In a small bowl combine the minced scallion, lemon juice and salt.  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then stir in the preserved lemon and extra-virgin olive oil.  Taste for acidity and salt, and adjust to your taste.  Pour the dressing over the wild rice salad, toss and serve.

Perfect Wild Rice

Yield: 6 Cups

2 cups long-grain wild rice
4 cups chicken stock or water

1. Rinse rice, soak in a medium bowl (about 3 cups) of cold water for 1 hour, then drain.

2. Bring stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice, cover, and allow to return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until tender but firm, about 45 minutes or longer.

3. Drain off any excess stock, then fluff with a fork and serve, or refrigerate for tomorrow’s salad.

Adapted from Saveur

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