This Make Ahead Wild Rice Salad is perfect for any occasion or season and is especially good to pair with any seasonal picnic or holiday charcuterie board.
Its’ simple base of wild rice, shallots, and fennel with maple syrup and yellow miso paste dressing make it perfect for pairing with any meat (chicken, beef, pork, seafood), nuts, seasonal fruit, dried fruit, and any salty or sweet combinations you can think of!Jump to Recipe
Make Ahead Wild Rice Salad
I first created this during Thanksgiving. Usually the day before, my family does a massive charcuterie board that we snack on throughout the day.
But I thought people might want more than snack food so I made a version of this Make Ahead Wild Rice Salad that could be paired with roasted acorn squashes. This way, people could make their own stuffed acorn squash bowls using food from the charcuterie bowl.
As I was stuffing my face, I noticed that this salad goes so well with almost anything you can think to throw in it: sweet, savory, salty – it doesn’t matter, it’s all amazing.
That’s why, instead of waiting around for Thanksgiving to share this, I decided to post this Make Ahead Wild Rice Salad now.
Because this salad is great cold or hot, can easily be made ahead of time, and tastes great with everything, it’s perfect for bringing along on any spring or summer picnics and BBQ parties.
- Grilled tri-tip, blue cheese, and grapes
- Roasted chicken + roasted root vegetables and potatoes
- Pan seared salmon + garlic stuffed olives
- Dehydrated pears, prosciutto, dried cherries, candied pecans, blue cheese, and massaged and seasoned kale
What would be your perfect combo?
I’ve been intimiated by fennel for YEARS. It just looks kind of crazy and not easy to slice and dice. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s really easy.
I watched this YouTube video to get over my scaredy cat ways.
Cooking with Wine
My general rule is that if you don’t like how the wine tastes on its own, it won’t do your dish any favors.
I’ve come to rely on a couple of brands of cheaper wines (anywhere from $5 to $10 dollars) that I know I like the taste of.
Cooking Time for Wild Rice
Most directions on wild rice packages and other recipes that use wild rice say that it takes about 45 minutes to cook.
I feel like the grains are still too hard though so I choose to cook it almost twice as long.
Some of this is because I know my colon-free j-pouch digestive system can’t handle grains that are that hard. But it’s a texture thing as well. To me, it feels like very al-dente pasta that needs to be cooked longer.
I would suggest cooking 45 minutes minimum and then taste to see how you like the texture.
Cheese rinds are great for adding extra flavor to sauces, soups, and broths. I put mine in a plastic bag and freeze it until I want to toss them into something.
Here’s some other things you can do with cheese rinds:
- 5 No Waste Tips for Using Cheese Rinds
- 10 Uses for Parmesan Cheese Rinds
- Why You Should Always Save Parmesan Rinds
Make Ahead Wild Rice Salad
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced* reserve the fronds for later
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/2 cup white wine*
- 1 cup wild rice*
- 4 1/2 inch Parmesan cheese rinds squares*
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon yellow miso paste
- 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it begins to shimmer, add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the fennel and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has softened.
- Toss in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the white wine and stir, breaking up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the wild rice and the parmesan cheese rinds and stir until coated and mixed well.
- Pour the vegetable broth in along with the salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes + another 40 minutes if you desire softer rice.
- Turn off the heat and let the rice sit covered for 10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
- Transfer the rice to a large serving bowl and drizzle with the dressing, mixing well. Mix in finely chopped reserved fennel fronds or any other mixings* you would like.
- Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake until emulsified. Add to the salad and mix well.
- If you’ve never cooked with fennel before, it can be a little intimidating figuring out how to use it. I watched this YouTube video: How to Cut Up Fennel – Cooking with Melissa Clark | The New York Times
- The basic rule I use for cooking with wine: I try to use the cheapest possible BUT I make sure I actually like how it tastes. Because if it tastes horrible by itself, it’s certainly not going to do your dish any favors.
- Try cooking the wild rice for 45 minutes first. If you feel like the grains are still to hard cook longer. I typically cook wild rice for another 40 minutes.
- I make sure to save cheese rinds from hard cheeses like parmesan. You know the parts: you’ve eaten every possible part of the cheese and the only thing that’s left is that almost plastic/wood looking rind at the edge. They can help add a lot of flavor to sauces. I used a 2-inch long piece that I cut up into 4 small 1/2 inch squares. Be careful cutting: it’s really hard. You could just drop the whole piece in without cutting it into smaller portions. I remove them after I’ve finished cooking: they don’t taste very good after giving all the goodies to the rice.
- This wild rice salad is meant to change with the seasons. It tastes great with fresh fruit, dried fruit, salty or sweetened nuts, cheese from cheese boards, and used as a filling for squash bowls, or stuffed into chicken, pork, or beef. I first made it for Thanksgiving as a way for people to make their own stuffed acorn squash bowls from the Thanksgiving charcuterie board: preserved meats, cheeses, nuts, roasted grapes, dehydrated fruit, etc.