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New to wild rice? Here is everything you need to know about this highly nutritious, deliciously nutty, ancient grain; ways to cook it, ways to use it and why it’s so good for us! This wild rice recipe is simple, tasty and nutritious. Vegan, Gluten-free.
Wild rice tastes deliciously nutty, and earthy, and has the best chewy texture! Cook it on your stovetop or in your instant pot pressure cooker. We love to batch-make this nutritious grain and then add it to salads, soups, bowls or as a hearty side dish during the week. We are head over heals in love with it, and know you will be too!
But first, What is Wild Rice?
Believe it or not, wild rice is not technically rice! Wild rice is actually a seed of wild aquatic grass indigenous to North America.
True wild rice is pictured here on the right. On the left is a more common wild rice blend, (basically a blend of different rice with a little wild rice thrown in). So, to be clear, here we are talking about true wild rice, pictured on the right, which cooks very differently than the blend on the left.
Where Does Wild Rice Come From?
True wild rice grows predominately in the Great Lakes region of North America where it has been a revered staple crop of Native American tribes for generations. In the Objibwe language, wild rice is called manoomin, which means “good berry,” “harvesting berry,” or “wondrous grain.” This aquatic grass holds an edible grain within it. Grown and harvested in the midwest, the majority of wild rice comes from lakes and rivers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even Canada!
True wild rice is often more expensive, compared to other rice because it is hand-harvested. Traditionally, it is gathered from lakes and waterways by canoe in late August and early September. This is a labor-intensive method that involves every grain of wild rice being shaken loose when harvested.
When shopping for wild rice at the grocery store, you may find brands that are not from the Great Lakes region. This means the rice is cultivated (or grown) in a regulated area. While this is not true wild rice, it will taste and cook the same way.
Wild Rice Instructions
- Wild rice: Look for native harvested wild rice if you can find it. Otherwise, commercially grown wild rice will cook and taste the same.
- Water or broth: For every 1 cup of wild rice, you will need 3 cups of liquid. Water works just fine here, but we like to use vegetable broth to add extra richness of flavor.
- Salt: When cooking rice, adding salt to the water helps season the rice. The natural flavor of wild rice will be more apparent when you season the rice during the cooking process.
- Olive oil: We add olive oil to the water when cooking rice to prevent the rice from becoming sticky, but it also adds a nice earthy, balanced aroma.
Wild Rice Instructions (stovetop) | 45 mins
Boil water or broth. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.
Add the remaining ingredients. Add rice, salt and olive oil. Give the pot a good stir. Once boiling, cover, and lower the heat to low. Keep the rice at a gentle simmer.
Cook the rice. Simmer for 35 minutes. At 35 minutes, check the tenderness of the rice. Some grains will have burst open while some will have not. Test a grain that has not burst open. If tender enough to your liking, then turn the heat off. If not, simmer for another 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness. Generally wild rice cooks in about 40-45 minutes on the stovetop.
TIP: Wild rice is best when slightly chewy, so be careful not to overcook! Because of the varying “thickness” of the grains, cooking time is never an “absolute”- you must always check.
Instant Pot wild rice Instructions|50 mins
- Rinse and drain 1 cup of true wild rice.
- Place in an Instant Pot with 1 1/3 cups water or veggie broth (or chicken stock). Add ½ teaspoon salt, and a teaspoon of olive oil.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, sealing the valve.
- Naturally, release for 10 minutes— then release the remaining pressure. Drain any excess liquid.
- Fluff with a fork.
Ways to use Wild Rice
Once your wild rice is cooked, use wild rice in soups, salads, bowls, casseroles, stuffing, or as a simple side dish.
Health Benefits of Wild Rice
- Wild rice is a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It contains phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B6, and is full of antioxidants.
- This naturally gluten-free rice offers 6.5g of protein, 3g of fiber, 4.9mg of calcium, and 52.5g of magnesium per cup of cooked rice.
- As a whole, wild rice has more protein and fewer calories than brown rice!
Storing & Freezing Wild Rice
- Cook a large batch of wild rice and freeze it for easy weeknight meals! To properly freeze cooked wild rice, make sure you drain the rice completely before placing it in an airtight container or jar. In the freezer, wild rice will keep for up to 6 months. Place the wild rice in smaller jars if you know you’ll only need a cup or two at a time. This way you don’t have to thaw all of the rice each time you use it.
- Let the rice thaw in the fridge overnight the day before you plan to use it.
- Cooked wild rice will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
No, you do not need to soak the rice. Soaking the rice beforehand can reduce the cooking time, so if you want to, you can! But this step is not necessary.
We have found that cooking wild rice on the stovetop is easiest and best way to cook wild rice because you can adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the grains which can vary greatly.
On the stovetop: use a ratio of 1 cup of wild rice with 3 cups of water.
In the instant Pot: use a ration of 1 cup wild rice with 1 ⅓ cups water.
You can use either! Water is easy, but if you have vegetable broth, or chicken stock, the rice will absorb it, giving an extra rich, savory flavor.
This can vary, but usually, 1 cup of uncooked wild rice should yield 2 ¾ cups of cooked rice.
Cooking wild rice on the stovetop takes anywhere from 35-45 minutes, depending on how chewy you want the rice to be and the thickness of the grains (which can vary greatly).
Pressure cooking wild rice in an Instant Pot takes 50 minutes of total time. (28-30 minutes of pressure cooking time, plus the time it needs to build the pressure plus time to release the pressure.)
Wild rice should not be crunchy; rather it should have a toothsome, chewy bite, with a tender center.
Wild rice has a nutty, earthy flavor that lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes. It is especially popular in the fall season because its distinct flavor pairs well with winter squashes.
If cooled, and then stored in an airtight container, wild rice will last in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Wild rice is an aquatic grass grown in shallow waters that is harvested by hand, shaking the grains loose. This labor-intensive process was originally harvested by Native Americans who threshed the grasses into their canoes. While the process is more mechanized today, it is still expensive to produce.
We are so excited for you to incorporate this nutritious grain into your everyday life! Let us know how the process went for you in the comments below, and don’t forget to rate the recipe too! 😊
This wild rice recipe is simple, tasty and nutritious Learn how to cook wild rice on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker. Includes both stovetop instructions and Instant Pot instructions.
Instant Pot Method
Stovetop Instructions (45 minutes)
- In a medium saucepan, bring water or broth to a boil. Add rice, salt and olive oil and give a good stir. Once boiling, cover, lower heat to low, and keep it at a gentle simmer.
- Simmer 35 minutes- and check for tenderness. (Timing will depend on the thickness of the grains which can vary.) Some grains will have burst open while some will have not. Test a grain that has not burst open- and if tender enough for your liking, then turn heat off. If not, simmer another 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness.
- Drain over a fine mesh strainer for 5 minutes. It is ready to eat!
Instant Pot Instructions (50 minutes)
- Rinse and drain wild rice.
- Place in an Instant Pot with 1 1/3 cups water or veggie broth (or chicken stock). Add salt, and olive oil.
- Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
- Naturally, release for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork.
Because of the varying degrees of “thickness” of wild rice, cooking time is never an “absolute”, each batch can be slightly different. I prefer the stovetop method because I can more easily gauge this.
- Serving Size: ½ cup
- Calories: 122
- Sugar: 0.8 g
- Sodium: 234.8 mg
- Fat: 1.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 24 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 4.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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