Rice Gone Wild!

by Sarah on April 20, 2010 · 0 comments

Now, before you male readers get all excited with visions of rice grains staggering down Bourbon Street at the height of Mardi Gras, flashing their germs and brans (do rice have germs and brans? hmmm…) in order to trade their dignity and self-worth for a string of beads that costs, at most 15 cents to purchase in the U.S. (and probably negative 18 cents to manufacture abroad)…I’m not talking about Spring Breaker-ized rice, but rather wild rice in a more kid-friendly Where the Wild Things Are? (although I hear that movie was scary), walking around in a wolf suit while lost in an expanding mass of rice paddy.

Except wild rice isn’t really rice. It’s grass. So I guess we have to take this crazy journey to the Western plains (OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-klahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…) rather than the Far Eastern (or U.S. Southern) rice lands. Although, according to my research (limited at this juncture to the first paragraph of the entry–who ever reads more than that?–from the dubious-on-occasion Wikipedia) wild rice is actually plentiful in the Gulf Coast and Great Lakes regions, as well as China…and nearly extinct in Texas. Well, what do you know?

Clearly, I don’t know much about rice. As we can all ascertain from the fact that I decided it would be a good idea to cook this entire bag of rice (which, it would not be a stretch to say, I have had for approximately 3 years and moved with me from Arlington to Charlottesville two years ago) on Sunday:

Hey, Sarah, guess what? What? Rice expands. Yeah, I know. No, I mean….a lot.

Umm…re-discovered that the hard way.

See, the thing is, in much the same way that I really can’t make omelets, I also have never been very good at making rice. It’s either to gritty or to gummy or just plain not cooked enough.

But, for three years I have been holding on to this package of Lundberg Wild Blend in order to make a Wild Rice Salad my aunt, Alston, made for a family that Thanksgiving, and I said to myself, “Self, if you don’t make it now, you are going to take this with you to Texas, hold on to it for yet another three years, and really, that’s just sad.”

So, I made the salad. And I have a lot of rice left in the fridge. But I will be creative (aren’t I always?).

The Plethora o’ Veggies (my addition to the name) Wild Rice Salad is amazingly delicious and super easy to make (if you can first make the rice). The original recipe, passed from my aunt’s friend, to my aunt, and then on to me, calls for plain old brown rice…but Alston used this blend, so I had to, too (because she is amazing, runs the state of Georgia through philanthropic work, and does things like mail you random Longchamps bags in the mail…why wouldn’t you want to be like her?)

It uses a whole plethora (gosh I just love that word) of vegetables (see recipe title)…and fruit, if you are being picky about the lemon, tomatoes, and avocado:

First, you take about 4 cups of cooked rice, and add 1/4 cup of soy sauce and the juice of a lemon to it. Stir it around.

Add in about 1 cup of diced onion and 2 cloves minced garlic.

Then 1/2 cup each of all the diced veggies you want, really. (I used red cabbage, celery, mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, and carrots.)

Stir in parsley and scallions…

And, just before serving (although it holds up just fine I’ve found), the tomatoes and avocado! (I think a lot of this depends on the juiciness of your tomatoes and how turned off you are by the potential of slightly browned avocado.)

This is an amazing dish to bring for potlucks, as it is best at room temperature. :)

I tried to make it pretty with a parsley garnish…but that didn’t so much work out the way I planned.


Plethora ‘o Veggies
Wild Rice Salad

(Makes about 8 cups.)

4 cups wild rice blend, cooked and chilled
1/4 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon (4-5 tablespoons)

1 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/2 avocado, diced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 scallions, diced, including green parts

1. Stir together wild rice blend, soy sauce, and lemon juice.
2. Add onion and garlic. Stir well to combine.
3. Add all vegetables, excluding tomato and avocado.
4. Stir in parsley and scallions.
5. Add tomato and avocado just before serving.

If you are curious, tonight for dinner I had some of the Wild Rice Salad with broccoli (there can never be too many veggies!), and some tempeh that I marinated in an AMAZING pepper jelly concoction (pepper jelly, vinegar, Dijon mustard, thyme, and oregano), then baked. YUM!

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