Native american wild rice salad

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I have been thinking about this salad ever since I had it in Washington DC at the Mitsimam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian almost a year ago now.  We were staying with family friends of the Dr’s while we were there and they suggested that while we were visiting the museums that we have lunch there.  At first I was kinda skeptical, a recommendation to go to a cafe in a museum?  hmmm, ok.

The cafe is super cool in that it’s set-up in stations of different Native American Regions, such as the Great Plains, Mesoamerica, Northwest Coast and you grab a tray and go help yourself to foods of a particular region.

The cafe still had quite a cafeteria feel to it but how many opportunities do you get to try Native American cuisine?  To be honest, most things we tried wasn’t anything to write home about (that could have been just the choices we made) except this salad.  You only got a small portion, which I imagine is because wild rice is quite expensive but god it was good.  I was kinda bummed that my generosity bone kicked in and I offered to share it with the Dr but with the few mouthfuls that I had I tried to make note of all the ingredients I could see and the flavours of the dressing I could taste so I could try to recreate it at home.

Let’s just quietly say that I think I nailed it.  When I taste tested it, I did a little celebratory dance and moonwalk across the kitchen.

Native american wild rice salad

serves 6

What you need:

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup pepita seeds
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3 spring onions/scallions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of half an orange
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

What to do:

Combine the chicken stock and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 45 mins or until the husks have split.  Taste the rice, it should be tender but still have a bit of bite to it.  Drain the rice and then cool by spreading on a baking tray.

Whilst the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Put the pepitas and pine nuts on a baking tray and toast them for 5 – 10 mins until they are golden brown.  Cool

In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and mustard.

In a bowl, mix together the wild rice with the pepitas, pine nuts, spring onions, chives, cranberries and the vinaigrette and serve!

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  • Leighbee

    I had something like this recently but with chopped, fresh parsley. I like the idea of the chives even better. Thanks so much for this!

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      It’s a pleasure. I think chives gives it a lovely flavour but parsley would also work well too!

  • Leah

    I had the same salad in the same museum when I visited DC! Will definitely try this recipe out. Also, my friend has a great wild rice soup recipe she got from indigenous Canadians when she visited there, I’ll send you the recipe :)

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      what a coincidence! Ooh that wild rice soup sounds really good, please do send me the recipe.

      • Leah

        Made the salad today for a picnic, scrumptious and elicited requests for the recipe. Sorry I forgot about the soup recipe – have sent my friend an SMS but she’s lazing on a beach somewhere and is being unresponsive…slacker!

        • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

          It seems a lot of people have been making this one over the christmas/new year period. Makes me want to make it again now!

  • NicoletteBarnes

    Do you think this would be ok if I used regular yellow mustard in place of the dijon?

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      Hi Nicolette, yellow mustard is just probably a lot milder than dijon which is a bit tangier and sharper. Sure you could use it, but you probably wouldn’t taste it as much.

  • Mike

    Try honey in place of the maple syrup.

  • Mike

    question

  • Jen

    I have the actual recipe from the cafe’s cookbook. The dressing is 6 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup canola oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Boil 1 1/2 cups dry wild rice in 6 cups of vegetable stock or chicken broth. Cool completely and add 1 diced carrot, 3 tbsp dried cranberries, 1 finely diced plum tomato, 4-5 finely chopped scallions, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds. Mix dressing in and serve on a bed of watercress.

    • http://www.merci-mama.com/ Jules

      Hi Jen,
      Thanks for posting the recipe, will have to definitely try the original and see how it compares!