Recipe: Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Salad

Inspired by that grain salad from Emeril's new book, I made something similar but a little simpler this week. With just two grains instead of five, and a host of fresh vegetables, this salad is simple but also sweet, savory, tender, and crunchy — it is a great make-ahead dish for dinners and lunches!
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This salad tosses wild rice with long-grain brown rice, and then it adds in cucumber, red pepper, herbs, almonds, and dates. You could sub in radishes, shredded daikon, cabbage, or anything else you have around. There's a bit of citrus for sweetness and brightness in the dressing (you should use your nicest olive oil here, since the flavor comes through).

When I make this kind of salad it's an investment in time, since both rices take a while to cook. So I always make a big batch! This is enough rice salad to serve at least 8, or to give you a week of lunches and side dishes. You don't have to eat it the same way every night, too; heat a little up in a skillet with some fresh greens and garlic, or use it as a base for some grilled chicken or tofu.

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Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Salad

serves 8 to 10

1 1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 orange, zested and juiced
Small handful fresh dill, finely chopped
Small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1 cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon powedered cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the rice: Heat 4 1/2 cups of salted water to boiling. Add the wild rice and cover. Turn the heat to low and cook the rice for about 45 minutes or until the grains are tender and puffed. Pour the rice into a large bowl. Heat two cups of salted water to boiling and add the brown rice. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Let stand for five minutes, then fluff with a fork and toss with the wild rice.

Toss the rice with the lime and orange zest, and the herbs. Toss with the cucumbers, red peppers, dates and almonds.

Whisk together the olive oil and the lime and orange juice. Toss with the rice, then stir in the cumin powder. Taste and season if necessary with salt and pepper.

Related: Five Grain Salad from Emeril Lagasse

(Images: Faith Durand)

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