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Wild Rice, Pecan, and Cranberry Salad Recipe

Wild Rice, Pecan, and Cranberry Salad
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: | Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Try this healthy salad as an alternative to the usual leafy green version. Just mix up a simple dressing of vinegar, oil, and shallots, adding a pop of bright flavor with orange zest and pomegranate molasses. Then cook the rice, mix in pecans, parsley, and cranberries, and stir in the vinaigrette. The flavor of this salad gets better as it sits, so you can make it ahead and have it ready for a light dinner or lunch.

What to buy: Pomegranate molasses is a sour, syrupy liquid that adds both sweet and tart flavors to this recipe. It can be found in Middle Eastern markets and in the Asian section of grocery stores.

INGREDIENTS

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped shallot (from about 1/2 medium shallot)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
For the dressing:

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small, nonreactive bowl until combined and set aside.

For the salad:

  1. Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water to wash off any dust or dirt.
  2. Place the rice and measured water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover with a tightfitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer undisturbed until the rice has absorbed most of the water and the grains have swollen (some may split apart to reveal their white pith), about 30 to 60 minutes. (In general, the longer and darker the kernels of rice are, the longer they need to cook.)
  3. If some liquid remains after the rice is done, drain the rice through a colander. Return it to the saucepan, fluff with a fork, and cook, uncovered, over low heat to let any excess liquid evaporate, about 1 minute. Transfer the rice to a large, nonreactive bowl.
  4. Add the pecans, cranberries, and parsley. Rewhisk the dressing, drizzle it over the rice mixture, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and the flavors have melded, at least 1 hour.