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Recipe Thu Feb 25 2010

Wild Rice Salad with Apricots and Almonds

wild rice saladI can't believe it's already Thursday. For that matter, I'm in denial that February is almost over. Can you believe that? Oh well.

But the reality is that we still have two more weekdays before we hit the weekend bliss (for those of us 9-5, Mon-Fri-ers, at least). Although I do get home about an hour before my husband does, I usually don't have either the energy or the efficiency to whip up complicated dinners on weeknights. Since being chained to the desk for eight hours a day is something relatively new to me, I've been slowly accumulating easy-to-assemble recipes to survive those low-energy nights. For this "fully loaded" wild rice salad, I got the inspiration from the awesome salads served at the First Slice Pie Cafe, which also whips up luscious (and, in this case, bold) pies.

A perfect one-bowl meal, this salad seems to deliver everything: pop of bright colors from broccoli and red peppers; crunch from almonds; satisfying heft from the wild rice; sweet-and-tart goodness from dried fruits; and a hint of spice from the curry-scented dressing. Yum. The only thing missing might be protein, but in my case, I feel as if I get enough protein earlier in the day to take a pass--at least some nights of the week. (Recipe follows.)

WILD RICE SALAD (serves 2-3 as one-bowl dinner)

1 cup wild rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
pinch of salt

Rinse the wild rice a few times to wash out any impurity. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the salt and wild rice and bring back to boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the wild rice is cooked through. Wild rice will be chewy; it shouldn't be mushy. I'd do this on the night before and keep the cooked rice in the fridge, or use a frozen batch.

1 cup cooked wild rice (use the rest for another dish)
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

For the Dressing
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a small skillet (not tefron, which will release toxic fume if dry-heated) over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the cumin and coriander seeds. Lower the heat to medium and toast the seeds until flagrant, but not burnt. Grind the seeds. Mix with the remaining dressing ingredient in a bowl large enough to hold all the vegetables and wild rice. Put the vegetables, dried fruits, wild rice and nuts in the bowl, and toss with dressing. Serve chilled.


Mara / February 28, 2010 4:22 PM

This is absolutely delicious! The flavors are so complex - and yet so simple. As I was making it my husband declared, "I'm not eating that!" and then he tasted it and polished off half the bowl. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

anne / March 1, 2010 1:58 PM

I made this as well. I ate some warm the night I put it together and was mildly pleased. Let it sit overnight and had some for lunch and it was so much more mellow and yum. I'll probably add some grilled tofu next time.

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