Wild Rice and Pomegranate Salad – You’ll love this easy, hearty chilled salad for make-ahead lunches and potlucks. ~Wild rice blend, kale, red onions, pomegranates, feta, walnuts, basil, and orange champagne vinaigrette~
Wow. I mean, wow as in this salad is delicious, but also wow as in pomegranates are so MESSY to cut up. Seriously, my kitchen looked like a violent crime had been committed against a pomegranate. Everything within a two-foot radius–including me!–was splattered with pomegranate juice (I was obviously guilty…).
That mess, though? And the now permanently stained white shirt I was wearing while cutting up pomegranates? SO worth it, because this wild rice and pomegranate salad turned out spectacularly. I don’t know what it is about grain-based salads, but something about all that texture up in there (think red lentil wheat berry salad)… gets me every time. That, in addition to the tanginess of the orange champagne vinaigrette (a recipe you should start putting on everything, by the way), makes the perfect salad…in my humble opinion ;). So, here we go: wild rice and pomegranate salad is yours for the taking.
Let’s talk ingredients first.
- The Wild Rice. All wild rice would have looked way cooler with the color of pomegranate seeds, but I used a wild rice/brown rice blend because it’s what I had on hand. Other similarly textured grains would also work well in this salad. Think wheat berries, barley, or farro — sturdier grains that can withstand a vinaigrette without getting soggy.
- The Walnuts. The texture of walnuts in this salad rocks, but I think pistachios, almonds, or pecans would work too. Especially pistachios.
- Feta vs. Goat Cheese. I debate this one all the time because they’re both my faves. You’re welcome to try goat cheese, since the tanginess would probably taste delicious. However, like the grains, the cheese needs to stand up to the vinaigrette since they’re going to be hanging out together in the fridge for a while. Goat cheese… well… it’s just not as assertive, and it really needs to be with this vinaigrette. (Okay, are we talking about people or food here?). If you do try it, let me know how it goes! Personally, I prefer the saltiness and flavor of the feta in this salad.
- Kale and Pomegranates. Superfoods, you guys. I’m always takin’ care of ya.
- Champagne Vinegar. You could also use cider vinegar or another light-colored vinegar.
- Fresh Basil. Makes the dish. Seriously. If you don’t have fresh basil, it still works to sprinkle some dried basil into the vinaigrette (try about 2 teaspoons). Then it gets evenly distributed throughout the salad, and you still get that basil experience.
Got all of your ingredients? Good. Because making this salad is SUPER easy. You just cook up your grains, de-seed your pomegranates (caution: don’t wear white), shred your kale and basil, and toss it all together in a big bowl. Then you shake up that vinaigrette in a mason jar with some olive oil, champagne vinegar, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and maple syrup. Maybe even a lil orange zest if you really wanna go there.
Pour vinaigrette over salad.
Chill for 30 minutes. No patience for chilling? Me either. It’s worth the wait, though. Pinky promise.
I love LOVE this wild rice and pomegranate salad on the side of chicken or salmon. Actually, who am I kidding? I mix it all together. But either way — on the side or mixed together — adding some protein is a great way to round this dish out.
Excellent for healthy make-ahead lunches. Great for bringing a dish to pass. Overall, my new favorite way to eat wild rice. And I hope yours too! Although my other favorite way will always be wild rice soup because I’m a Midwestern girl at heart. And it’s also negative degrees outside. So there’s that.
Now, go get pomegranate juice everywhere!
Wild Rice and Pomegranate Salad
A chilled wild rice and pomegranate salad with kale, red onion, feta, walnuts, basil, and orange champagne vinaigrette. Great for make-ahead lunches and potlucks.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6
- Category: Lunch
- Method: Combine
- 1 cup wild rice or wild rice blend*, dry
- seeds from 2 pomegranates
- 4 cups kale, shredded
- 3/4 cup red onions, diced
- 3/4 cup feta
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
- 1/3 cup champagne vinegar (or cider vinegar)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice from 1 orange
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- salt, to taste
- For the salad: Cook wild rice according to package instructions. Combine rice, pomegranates, kale, red onions, feta, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl.
- For the vinaigrette: In a mason jar, add champagne vinegar, olive oil, orange juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Shake until combined.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve on its own or on the side of some sort of protein (chicken, salmon, etc.).
*Or wheat berries, barley, or farro. Cooking time may vary depending on the grain you use.