Wild Rice, Chicken, and Grape Salad

IMG_1710Cold wild rice? Ya sure, you betcha. We Minnesotans typically like our wild rice simmered in a soup, but this salad recipe will get you out of your comfort zone. I recently went searching through my previous blogs, sure that I’d posted this recipe long ago. It’s such a favorite with family and friends, that I thought I’d shared it already. Not so. I created this recipe several years ago based on a salad I’d had at a deli somewhere, probably Byerly’s. The combination of chewy wild rice and sweet grapes is perfect in the savory, creamy dressing, once the whole concoction has been chilled. Bring it for lunch, serve it for supper, or share it with others at a potluck picnic.

If you really want to punch up the flavor, make your own mayo, using the simple recipe for Whole30 mayonnaise below. You’ll need to make it at least 3 hours before you start on the rest of the salad, so it has sufficient time to chill. If you don’t, it’ll turn back into olive oil once the mayo hits the warm rice. And how did I gain that bit of culinary wisdom? Personal experience gained through wild rice salad lost. It wasn’t pretty, people.

Serves 6

2 cups wild rice, rinsed and drained
1 cube chicken bouillon
½-1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise (or make your own with recipe below)
1 tablespoon Penzy’s Northwoods seasoning OR 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, and a dash each salt, pepper, thyme, cracked or powdered rosemary, and garlic powder
1-2 cups green grapes, sliced
4 stalks celery, diced
4-5 scallions, sliced
6 chicken tenderloins, grilled and chopped into bit-sized cubes
½ cup pecan halves, toasted (optional)
4-6 leaves of Romaine lettuce (optional serving suggestion)

In small Dutch oven or large sauce pan, combine the wild rice, 8 cups water, and the bouillon cube. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook for 45 minutes (or until some of the grains have popped), covered. Drain off any remaining water and put rice in colander. Rinse with cold water to shock, so that rice stops cooking. Let drain and cool for 15-30 minutes.

In large bowl, combine mayo and seasonings, stirring until incorporated. Add in cooled rice, grapes, celery, scallions, and cooked chicken. Toss to coat all ingredients with dressing. If using nuts, stir in right before serving. Optional: serve salad on bed of Romaine lettuce.

To make your own mayonnaise:
1¼ cups olive oil (not extra virgin), divided
1 egg
½ teaspoon dried mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon

In food processor or blender, combine ¼ cup olive oil, egg, dried mustard, and salt. Blend until combined. Very, very slowly, drizzle in the remaining 1 cup of olive oil with motor running, and process until oil is emulsified (thickened to mayo consistency). Add juice of lemon and pulse until combined. Refrigerate for up to one week, but no longer.

2 thoughts on “Wild Rice, Chicken, and Grape Salad

  1. This inspired me.

    I barely ever cook you know. So this is monumental. 🙂

    I have had wild rice sitting in my “pantry” for far too long, and wasn’t sure how long it keeps, but decided it still looked like wild rice and so I used it. Happy to report it still tastes like wild rice too!

    One word about this salad: Yummy!

    Even though I used canned chicken.
    And I added a few craisins [because wild rice and cranberries go together in my mind- plus “red and green” = pretty!]
    And used walnuts instead of pecans because that is what I had on hand.

    Thank you Cheryl!
    Even though I don’t often cook, I enjoy reading your words. And imagining my kitchen being full of creativity as yours is. 🙂

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