Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash photographed from a three quarter angle on a grey background with loads of wild rice, roasted butternut squash and cilantro strewn around
Mains

Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

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Well… I promised you in my Chewy Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe a couple of weeks ago that this year’s personal “pumpkin patch” is not over 😉. With that in mind, let me introduce you to this Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash. Or, as I also like to call it: Sunshine on a plate 🤗.

Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash on a plate with salad tongs in the background

I mean – look at those beautiful colors 🥰!! The bright orange shines from both the carrots and the roasted butternut squash. Then you have the gorgeous dark tones from the wild rice, coupled with green from the celery, peas, and cilantro. Topped off with a bit of white from the feta cheese (which you could totally omit if you do not eat dairy). The best part? It tastes as good – if not better – than it looks!! This Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash has so many different textures and is held together by the creamiest, dreamiest miso dressing. It seriously brings the dish to life and lifts it to another level. In case it was not clear to you – I am obsessed with this salad 🤣.

Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash photographed up close

Admittedly, this is not the quickest salad in the world to make. However, you can prep everything whilst you are waiting for the squash to roast and for the wild rice to cook. It is definitely a very satisfying, taste-bud-hitting meal, which will leave your belly dancing with happiness. So – it is worth the wait. It also makes quite a large amount. That is, of course, unless you have friends over who cannot get enough and gobble up your lunch for the next day (🙋🏼‍♀️me on Tuesday night 🤣).

Roasted Butternut Squash, wild rice and cilantro in focus with a bowl of Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash blurred in the background

Why is Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash good for you?

Wild Rice

Wild rice grows in shallow freshwater, along the shores and streams of lakes. It cooks and looks similar to white rice, but technically the two are not related. Its nutritional profile is also different, containing a lot more fiber and protein, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin B6 and B9, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Manganese, Zinc, and Copper. Both the soluble and insoluble fiber in wild rice promotes digestion and offers a healthy feeding ground for good-gut bacteria in your gut.

Wild rice contains a high amount of antioxidants, as well as phenolic plant compounds. Most studies compare Wild rice’s antioxidant power to that of regular rice and found that it is about 30 times higher (!!). There is also emerging evidence on Wild rice’s ability to protect your heart. In studies on rats who were primarily fed a saturated fat diet, wild rice inhibited the triglyceride levels to go up, as well as total cholesterol levels. Certainly, more research needs to be done in this area, but the initial indicators are promising!

Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash on a plate with a fork stuck into it

Celery

Good, old celery. Remember when a few years ago it felt like everyone jumped on a celery juice trend and you had to fork out a small fortune for a bunch of celery? Luckily, we moved on a bit. Celery belongs to the same family as carrots, parsnip, parsley, and celeriac. Celery is crunchy and has quite a distinct taste. It adds great crunch and flavor to this Wild Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash salad. Celery contains quite a bit of dietary fiber. It also contains a plant compound called “apigenin”. This compound is known in traditional Chinese Medicine as anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial. In addition, it contains a range of antioxidants and may even have properties that combat cancer. Again, more research needs to go into celery and its health benefits, but whole food vegetables are always a great addition to any diet – especially when being this tasty!

Coriander (Cilantro)

I love Coriander. I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but almost all herbs (I have yet to find one that does not – but I am still learning 😉) have amazing health benefits and coriander is no exception on this front. Coriander actually belongs to the same plant family as celery. The dark-green leaves indicate that Coriander is high in Vitamin K. Vitamin K is an important vitamin, which helps with bone metabolism, blood calcium levels, and (quite important!!) the ability for your blood to clot. Coriander is anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, and also appears to be able to relieve certain types of pain. In test-tube studies, Coriander was able to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells. It is currently unclear though, whether the same effect could be replicated in humans. Some studies also suggest that Coriander can reduce sun damage caused by UVB light rays. As I said in the beginning – this is a small, but mighty, herb.

A fork with Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash with the salad on a plate in focus whilst the fork is blurred

How can I adjust this recipe to my dietary requirements?

This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, and nut-free. It can easily be adjusted to be made vegan by making the following changes: 1. Omit the feta cheese, 2. use olive oil for cooking your onions and wild rice, 3. swap the honey for maple syrup.

I hope you will fall in love with this salad as much as I did (and am!! Still very much a present state 😉). I have a strong feeling that we will be making this again over the weekend 🤗. Please let me know how you get on – either in the comments below 👇🏻, or over on Instagram. I cannot wait to hear what you think!! Happy cooking everyone 🌺.

Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Recipe by Ann RobejsekCourse: Mains, dinner, saladCuisine: European, plant-based, gluten-freeDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

40

minutes
Baking time

55

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

This Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash is delicious! Have it cold or lukewarm and be prepared for your taste buds to sing!

Ingredients

  • For the roasted butternut squash
  • 1 medium-sized butternut (ca. 1 KG) squash

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Dash of pepper

  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you do not like it spicy)

  • For the salad
  • 1 cup uncooked (ca. 160 gr.) wild rice

  • 2 tsp ghee or olive oil for cooking

  • 2 cups (ca. 500 ml.) of water

  • 2 medium-sized onions

  • 3 medium-sized (ca. 240 gr.) carrots

  • 3 stalks celery

  • 1 cup (ca. 150 gr.) peas

  • ½ cup (about 55 gr.) crumbled feta cheese

  • 1 bunch coriander

  • For the sauce
  • 2 tbsp miso paste

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1-inch piece ginger

  • 2 tsp honey

  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup (80 ml.) of water

  • Pinch of salt

  • Dash of pepper

How to

  • For the butternut squash
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (400 Fahrenheit) top and bottom heat and line a baking tray with a baking sheet
  • Wash, peel, cut, and de-seed the butternut squash into bite-sized pieces and put onto a tray. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix through with your hands so that everything is evenly coated. Put into the oven and bake for ca. 40 minutes – until the outsides are lightly charred, crisp and the inside is soft
  • For the salad
  • Heat a medium pot with 1 tsp of the ghee or olive oil until hot. Add the uncooked rice and fry over medium to high heat until starting to become golden and smelling fragrant – ca. 5 minutes (you will start to hear that rice “pop” and the rice starts to brown). Be careful to not let the rice burn as else it will become bitter. Add the water and reduce the heat to medium. Let the rice cook on a low temperature until cooked through – adding more water if needed (your rice will be done around the same time as the butternut squash)
  • Prepare the rest of the salad ingredients by starting to cut the onions into thin slices. Heat a pan over medium to high heat and add the other 1 tsp of ghee or olive oil. Let onions fry over medium to low heat until becoming see-through and almost “mushy”
  • Wash and finely grate the carrots (peel if desired), cut the celery into small bites, and add the peas (if frozen) to some warm water so that they can defrost
  • For the sauce
  • Add all the sauce ingredients to a small blender and blend on high until smooth. Add a bit more water to reach the desired consistency (whether you like it more on the “runny” side or a bit thicker).
  • To assemble
  • Once the rice is cooked, add rice, onions, carrots, celery, and peas to a bowl and mix through. Add the sauce (you may not need everything!) so that everything is nicely covered but there is not loads of sauce pooling at bottom of the bowl. Taste and if desired add a bit more salt and pepper (remember that the feta cheese – if using – will also add salty flavor). Put on a plate and top with the butternut squash, feta cheese, and chopped coriander. This salad can be served lukewarm or cold – either way, will be delicious. Enjoy!!

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