One of the best perks of having an actual house in the ‘burbs these days, as opposed to a teensy urban condo, is that when friends come in to town- I can actually host them. I can offer them a bed to sleep in that isn’t inflatable (and all too often deflatable) and awkwardly placed in the middle of my living room/kitchen/dining room (all those rooms being one in the same in a 600 sf condo).
It feels like I am a full fledged grown up (except not really).
Last weekend we hosted our friends Greg & Valentina, who were in town for Val’s official Canadian Citizenship Ceremony (she is also Mexican, dual citizenship FTW!). Not one to ever miss an opportunity for a ‘theme’ dinner, I decided to cook a big Canadian feast for everyone on Saturday night.
Cedar plank salmon with savoury blueberry sauce (which I will post eventually since it was so good), seared winter greens and this warm wild rice salad.
The salmon was caught wild off the BC coastline, the cedar plank was cut from our surrounding forest, the blueberries were picked this summer from a farm just down the street from my house and stored in my freezer.
Even the wild rice was harvested by my friend Gillian when she lived in Red Lake, Ontario! I can’t claim that’s BC local, but hey- it’s Canadian! And it’s a pretty epic story to say your friend harvested your rice herself! Even the herbs and greens were picked right from my winter garden. It felt good. Really good.
The only thing in this salad not Canadian grown was the pomegranate but like… how can you resist pomegranate in a salad like this? It’s a textural wonder! And they’re ultra cheap these days since they’re officially in season. I had to.
This salad is filled with beautiful flavours and textures and keeps really well. You could even make it the day before, making it excellent for dinner parties and weekday lunches. The wild rice holds it’s texture the way white rice doesn’t so you don’t have to worry about it getting mushy, just more marinated as the flavours really meld and sit.
|Warm Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate, Roasted Squash & Pine Nuts|| |
- 1 cup red rice
- ½ cup wild rice
- 2 cups squash, diced (I like butternut or acorn)
- ½ tsp chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Rinse your rice well and cook according to the package instructions. Wild rice takes longer to cook than white or brown rice so I cooked mine with 4.5 cups of water and steamed until tender, about 45 minutes.
- Peel and chop your squash. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, 1 tsp maple syrup and ½ tsp chili powder. Roast on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes until tender. (Acorn squash tends to cook a little faster than butternut)
- In a small bowl, mix together red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup and ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place pinenuts in a small, dry pan (no oil) over high heat. Shake frequently until they become lightly browned and fragrant- this shouldn't take long, they will brown very quickly so don't leave this unattended.
- Turn the cooked rice out into a large bowl and fluff it up to separate any clumps.
- Add roasted squash, pomegranate seeds, toasted pinenuts and green onions. Pour in dressing and toss well to coat.
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.