This delicious Wild Rice Salad is the perfect combination of textures and flavors. Made with chickpeas (or chicken breast), cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, in a simple lemony dressing. Vegan!

Wild rice salad with cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and fresh herbs.

Here’s a tasty Wild Rice Salad, made with end-of-summer ingredients. Fresh and light, yet hearty enough to be a light meal, this salad is totally satisfying.

While on a trip to Walla Walla last weekend, celebrating a good friend’s 60th birthday, one of my girlfriends made an incredible Wild Rice Salad. While I was eating it, I kept asking myself why I never think to make rice salads. The day I got back, I went straight to the store and made a similar version. My husband (who LOVES rice) devoured this. Hers included cooked chicken breast (also really tasty) but I swapped it out for chickpeas and made a vegan version. (See the recipe notes for chicken.)

Why You’ll Love this!

  1. Simple ingredients! This colorful salad uses pantry staples (wild rice, chickpeas) and common ingredients like cherry tomatoes, red onion, herbs, and lemon. Wondering how to cook wild rice? Here is a guide!
  2. Nutrient-rich: Both wild rice and chickpeas are high in protein (you can sub chicken for the chickpeas if you prefer!). Wild rice is also high in fiber and rich in antioxidants.
  3. Herbs take center stage: Fresh parsley and mint make up the greens in this herby salad. While they are often used as a garnish, this recipe packs them in for a peppery, minty, and earthy flavor.
  4. Hearty lunch: Serve this Wild Rice Salad with dinner or enjoy it on its own for a filling lunch. The grains give this salad some extra umph!
  5. Perfect for dinner parties and holidays! This salad is an easy and impressive side dish to bring to social gatherings and makes for a beautiful salad to serve with your next holiday meal.
  6. It’s versatile: If you have any veggies, beans, or protein that you need to use up, this salad lends itself to your creative variations! Add chicken breast if you like!

Wild rice Salad Ingredients

wild rice salad ingredients in bowls.
  • Wild rice- As the main ingredient of the salad, wild rice offers a nutty, earthy flavor that is nurturing and filling. Use dry wild rice, and do not use a blend!
  • Salt- Salt is used in boiling the rice, as well as mixed into the salad before serving. Salt is essential for balancing out all of the flavors to really make the dish come alive!
  • Olive oil A little extra virgin olive oil is added when mixing the salad to create a light and balanced dressing.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes- Sweet summer omatoes add a juicy, colorful addition to the salad that bring in a subtle sweetness.
  • Chickpeas- Add this high-protein legume for a bit of extra heartiness, or sub for chicken breast if you prefer. See the recipe notes if making this swap!
  • Red onion- Crispy red onion gives this salad a lovely crunch, while adding a little extra bite of spice! Feel free to use green onions or scallions if you prefer.
  • Italian parsley- Chopped, peppery parsley is mixed into the salad to offer an herby aroma that elevates the dish as a whole.
  • Fresh mint leaves– A little mint gives this dish a distinctive flavor that’s cooling and subtly sweet.
  • Lemons- Use both lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice in this Wild Rice Salad for a bright and citrusy dressing.
  • Black Pepper- To finish it off, add freshly ground black pepper for a little kick!
  • Optional additions: Add capers or minced garlic clove to this dish if you like a briney or pungent edge to your salad. Feta cheese and/or olives would work too. This Wild Rice Salad is incredibly versatile.

Wild Rice Salad Instructions

Cook the wild rice. Bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large sauce pan. Once boiling, add the wild rice and a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir and bring back to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to low, gently simmering.

Cooked wild rice on a spoon.

Check the rice at 35 minutes. Add more time ( 5-10 mins) if needed. Wild rice can vary in thickness, so the cooking time will vary. Cook until the unburst rice is just tender but still slightly chewy. Be careful not to overcook the rice or let all the rice grains burst. You must be vigilant here! Cook until the intact rice grains are al dente, and then immediately turn off the heat. Drain the rice over a fine mesh strainer and let cool.

Make the salad. Slice the tomatoes into halves and add them to a large serving bowl. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas. Chop the red onion finely, and add them to the bowl. Chop the Italian parsley and mint, and add to the bowl. When the rice is close to room temperature, add it to the bowl.

Dress the salad. Add the olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the serving bowl. When zesting the lemons, start with just one and add a second after tasting the salad. Season the salad with salt and pepper and give it a good toss.

wood spoon mixing a wild rice salad in large white bowl

Taste the salad. Add more lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste. If you plan to prep this salad in advance, re-taste the salad before serving it. The rice may soak up the salt, so you will likely need to add a little bit more.

Expert Tips

  1. Be careful not to overcook the rice. No multitasking allowed during this step! Keep an eye on the rice as it nears the end of cooking- at about 30-35 minutes. The rice should be tender and slightly chewy, and most importantly, in tact! Over-cooking the rice will cause the grains to burst and get mushy.
  2. Tips for prepping it in advance: If you plan to prep this salad the day before serving, be sure to bring the dish back to room temperature. Let it sit out for 30 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt and lemon, adding more if needed. The rice is likely to soak up the salt overnight.
  3. Make the rice up to 3 days in advance. You can go ahead and prepare the rice 3 days in advance. Simply cook the rice as instructed below, and then store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temp while preparing the remaining ingredients. (You can also freeze the rice if you need to prepare it further in advance.)
  4. The best way to enjoy leftovers: If saving leftover salad, you can bring the flavors back to life by squeezing a bit of fresh lemon juice into the salad, along with a little extra salt. The salad will save for up to 4 days.
Wild rice salad with tomatoes and herbs in serving bowl with wood spoon.

Buying Wild Rice

You can find wild rice in the bulk or grain section of your grocery store. It is available packaged, or you can buy it in bulk. If you buy it in bulk, measure out the exact amount you need for this recipe ( 2 cups). Wild rice can be stored in the pantry, but since it is unrefined, its natural oils will cause it to go rancid after a year.

Make sure to read the labels! Besure to buy wild rice, not a blend. A wild rice blend contains other types of rice that will interfere with the cook time listed below and can result in too mushy of a grain for this salad.

Health Benefits of Wild Rice

Wild rice is naturally gluten-free and provides many vitamins, like folate and B-6, and minerals, like magnesium and phosphorus. This antioxidant-rich rice is a grass, not a type of rice, even though it is labeled as such.

Wild rice is high in protein with 6.5g per cup of cooked rice, which is even higher than brown rice (5g). Rich in dietary fiber, wild rice is filling and satisfying, which is why we simply had to create a salad around it!

More Grain-Based ReCipes!

FAQS

What is wild rice?

Wild rice is a type of grain that is technically not rice, but instead the seed of a type of grass. It is native to North America and has been traditionally harvested by Native Americans for centuries. Wild rice has a distinctive nutty and earthy flavor, with a chewy texture. It is often used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, stir-fries, and side dishes. Despite its name, wild rice is not related to other types of cultivated rice and requires different cooking techniques. It is also a nutritious food, rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

What should I eat wild rice with?

The earthy nutty flavor of wild rice along with its chewy texture makes it a great addition to both salads and soups.

Is wild rice the same as black rice?

No, black rice is a whole grain like brown rice. Despite its name, wild rice is a seed of a semi-aquatic grass. Each require different cooking techniques, and they taste very different.

Why is wild rice more expensive than other types of rice?

Due to its harvesting methods and because it grows in the shallow waters of streams. Wild rice was originally harvested by Native Americans who threshed the grasses into their canoes. Today the process is more mechanized, but it is still labor intensive and expensive to produce.

What state is known for wild rice?

Minnesota! Wild rice was adopted as the state grain in 1977, and has been a staple food for Minnesota’s Indians for centuries. It is called manoomin in the Ojibwe language.

wood spoon with scoop of wild rice salad.

We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you do, don’t forget to rate and comment to let other readers know what you think! 😊

xoxo

Sylvia

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This delicious Wild Rice Salad is the perfect combination of textures and flavors. Made with chickpeas (or chicken breast), cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, in a simple lemony dressing. Vegan!

Wild Rice Salad Recipe

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 ½ cups 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: tossed
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This delicious Wild Rice Salad is the perfect combination of textures and flavors. Made with chickpeas (or chicken breast), cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, in a simple lemony dressing. Vegan!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups wild rice (dry, do not use a blend)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 14-ounce can chickpeas (drained) or sub chicken breast, see notes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large bunch Italian parsley, chopped, thin stems ok (at least 1 cup packed)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, more to taste
  • 2 lemons, zest and 1/4 cup juice, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, more to taste
  • optional additions: 1 tablespoon capers, 1 garlic clove,

Instructions

  1. Cook the wild rice: Bring 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in a large saucepan. Add the wild rice and olive oil. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to low and simmer gently. Check at 30-35 minutes. Add more time if needed ( 5-10 mins). *Wild rice can vary in thickness, so cooking time will vary. Cook until the unburst rice is just tender, but still slightly chewy. Be careful not to overcook it or to have all the the rice grains burst- so be vigilant here- cook until intact rice grains are al dente. Turn the heat off. Drain over a fine mesh strainer and let cool.
  2. Make the salad. Halve the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Add the drained chickpeas. Chop the red onion finely, and add them to the bowl. Chop the Italian parsley and mint, and add to the bowl.  Once the rice is close to room temperature, add it to the bowl.
  3. Dress: Add the olive oil, lemon zest ( from 1 or 2 lemons -start with 1) and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Give a good toss.
  4. Taste. Add more lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste. (If making this ahead, re-taste right before serving as the rice can soak up the salt. )

Notes

Chicken: Instead of chickpeas, feel free to add 2 cups cooked, seasoned chicken breast,cut into bite-sized pieces.

Leftovers will keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

Make it ahead: The salad can be made in completion 1 day ahead.  Wild Rice can be cooked up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated until ready to make the salad (or freeze it).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 288
  • Sugar: 2.7 g
  • Sodium: 310.4 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41 g
  • Fiber: 5.9 g
  • Protein: 9.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: wild rice salad, easy wild rice salad, vegan wild rice salad, healthy wild rice salad,

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Comments

  1. Yummy and healthy! I had to use a wild rice blend and it still worked out thankfully. Cooked really nice in the rice cooker. I added your air fryer salmon bites for more protein and it was perfect together.

  2. I brought a double batch of this Wild Rice Salad to a party last night and it was the first thing to disappear- everyone asked for the recipe.

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