This Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad is full of seasonal ingredients, loads of texture and tossed in a maple dijon vinaigrette. This hearty and delicious salad can be served as a main dish or side dish with your next meal!
This recipe and photos have been updated from the original post on 11/30/2014
Is it cliche to start the new year off by sharing a salad recipe? Maybe, but when you love salads as much as I do, you do it anyways.
If you’re unsure about salads in winter, let me assure you that this Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad really hits the spot. Plus, you can serve it with a bowl of this creamy red lentil butternut squash soup if you need something cozy to go with it.
Ingredients Needed to Make Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad
- wild rice blend
- baby kale
- green onions
- dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
- dijon mustard
- maple syrup
- apple cider vinegar
How to Make Winter Kale and Wild Rice Salad
Since there’s a lot of texture in this salad, it does require some prep work, but I assure you it’s worth the chopping.
Cook the wild rice according to package instructions and then let it cool. Place the cooled rice in a large serving bowl. Chop all of the fruit and vegetables and add them into the bowl with the rice along with the dried cherries (or cranberries).
In a small bowl or jar whisk together the minced shallot, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper and olive oil. Just before serving add in the toasted pecans, baby kale and toss the salad in the vinaigrette. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed and it’s ready to eat.
Tips for Success
- If you plan to make the salad to eat for multiple days, add the baby kale in as you eat it. The kale will quickly wilt once it’s tossed with the vinaigrette.
- Segment the orange if you don’t want any of the membrane in the salad. Here’s an easy tutorial on how to segment an orange if you’re unsure.
- If you’re looking to save time, cook the wild rice ahead of time. Unlike white rice, wild rice takes approximately 45 minutes to cook, plus another 10 to steam.
- Choose a firm, tart, sweet apple such as Honeycrisp, Pink Lady or Opal.
Wild Rice Blend – If you don’t have wild rice, try substituting with brown rice, quinoa or farro.
Pecans – Substitute with toasted slivered almonds, walnuts or pistachios. For a nut free option use pepitas.
Oranges – I used naval oranges in the recipe, but any variety of orange would be good. A ruby red grapefruit would also work if you’re looking for something more tart.
Shallot – Substitute with a finely diced yellow onion.
Baby Kale – Arugula stands in well for baby kale as it has a peppery flavor similar to the kale. You can also use baby spinach.
- 3 cups cooked wild rice blend, cooled to room temperature
- 4 cups baby kale, chopped
- 1 apple, diced
- 1 orange, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
For the Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- In a large bowl combine all of the salad ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss together just before serving. Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 3g