wild rice and chickpea salad

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photo by Allison Johnstone


This salad was born of a series of girl’s night potluck dinners.  At one such dinner a fellow attendee brought a wild rice salad she had picked up from the deli of a local natural food store, and it was tasty.  A short while later on a night when I was tired and hungry, the salad had not yet left my consciousness so I trundled over to said natural food store and picked some up for dinner – it was expensive!  As I ate, I ran my eyes over the list of ingredients and I thought two things; 1. I can make this, and 2. I can make this better.

I wanted this salad to be a meal in a bowl. I wanted to be able to reach into the fridge and have a quick meal of a bowl of leftovers, or throw some into a container to pack for lunch and have the salad be all I need to pack. Also, because I’m very often the only vegetarian at a gathering, I wanted the item I brought to be both nutritionally satisfying and ensure that I wouldn’t be stuck eating bread and leaves all night. The addition of chickpeas accomplishes all of these things; they stand up well in the salad, compliment the nutty flavours of the wild and brown rice, and combine with the rice to make a complete protein.

The dressing has an Asian flare, combining the sweetness of honey with the nuttiness of sesame oil.  Ginger, garlic, and rice wine vinegar add some zing to the dressing, and the deep flavour of soy ties it all together.  I prefer to use Bragg soy dressing because I like the lightness of it, but if you prefer a heavier soy or can’t find Bragg, it’ll do just fine.  I swapped maple syrup in for the honey when I made this salad for some vegan friends, and it was lovely.

 

Wild Rice and Chickpea Salad Recipe:

 

This recipe makes a huge salad.  It’ll be enough to take to a potluck and have some leftovers, or certainly enough to pack lunches to work all week.  You could cut the portions in half for a smaller salad, but this is the size I always make it and it never goes to waste.  If you’re making it in advance or planning to eat it all week, leave the pecans out until the last minute, otherwise they will get soggy. Be sure your rice has time to cool before you make this – cooking it the night before means this salad will come together in a flash. I like to cook the rice with 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water so it is a tad on the dry side.  You do not want soggy rice in this salad, it needs to be able to soak up some of the dressing.

 

Salad:

1 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice

1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed*

1 large sweet red pepper, finely diced

2 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

 

Dressing:

2 Tbsp honey (or other liquid sweetener)

1 Tbsp grated ginger

1 clove garlic, grated or crushed

1/4 cup Bragg or soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

3 Tbsp sesame oil

 

Cook brown and wild rice – this normally takes around 45 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Whisk dressing ingredients together, and set aside. Once the rices have cooled, combine in a large bowl.  Add chickpeas, red pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, and dried cranberries. Pour the dressing over the top and stir well to combine ingredients.  If you are serving immediately, add the pecans, otherwise, save them and toss them through the salad at the last minute.

*I normally use dried beans, which I soak and then boil to rehydrate.  Generally I find the dried beans taste much better, don’t have any added salt or preservatives, and are significantly cheaper than canned.  Don’t let that stop you from using canned beans if you have some on hand or don’t have time to start from dried.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2010



 

Comments

  1. Looks tasty… but I’d have to go shopping for a bunch of those pantry-esque ingredients, and wouldn’t know what else to use them for….

    Can I request a “stock your pantry with these items, and then use them for a and b and c…!” post at some point? 🙂

    • Yes! That’s a great idea. I’m also planning a “cook a big pot of ________ (brown rice, quinoa, beans, etc), here’s 3 different things you can do with it” type of series in the future.

  2. Oh this is fabulous! I made it for dinner tonight and it is soooo good! Thank you for sharing this- I’ll be making it many many many more times!!

  3. Wow. Just made a 1/2 batch of this (which, after my first bowl wish I had made a full batch). I used some dried blueberries that I got a “deal” on. This salad was amazing. Many times better then the one I made last week from a different food blog. Great job Katie!

  4. Ah ha! So that’s how you do a “lettuce barrier”. Here we go… summer is ending and full-tilt work and real life resume. I’ll try pre-preparing sandwiches.

  5. I was looking for something different to do with wild rice and I just happened to have some fresh cooked chick peas. It’s an awesome salad. It was a hit with everyone. Diffinately gonna be a regular dish at our family dinners. Thank you.

  6. Best recipe found ever! This became our signature dish and now we’re taking it around the world with us. Love it! Thank you

  7. Coming back to this recipe for my make-ahead lunches for the week. Put it all together and then added chicken on top instead of chickpeas for fodmap-free protein. Omitted the garlic in the dressing but added extra ginger for more zing and it still tastes delicious!

Trackbacks

  1. […] This black bean salad is loaded with diced veggies, and balanced with chewy spelt berries*, which combine with the black beans to form a complete protein. Fresh dill and a tangy dressing with both balsamic vinegar and lemon juice pull it all together. This salad is great as a side dish, and is a well rounded main dish as well. It packs up and travels well and can be easily taken to a picnic or a potluck. Enjoy. One year ago: Wild Rice and Chickpea Salad […]

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