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 🤗.
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 🤣.
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 🤣).
Why is Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash good for you?
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!
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!
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.
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 🌺.