Wild rice has an identity problem, said Sarah Karnasiewicz in Chow.com. In genetic terms, it’s about as close to regular rice as “chimpanzees are to humans.” Both rices are grains harvested from semiaquatic grasses, but the former is a product of the genus Zizania, the latter of the genus Oryza. Often, wild rice isn’t even wild anymore. Once harvested solely from wild grasses, it’s now grown in paddies in California and Minnesota. Like its ancestor, however, today’s wild rice is “nutritious, high in protein, and low in fat,” with a taste that’s “neutral enough to be versatile.” The salad below, which is “fast, healthy, and surprisingly addictive,” uses its toothsomeness well.
Wild rice and edamame salad
½ cup blanched slivered almonds
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2 tbsp white sesame seeds
4 cups cooked wild rice
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced, white and light-green parts only
2 cups shelled cooked edamame
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
½ cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, plus more as needed
2 tsp honey
freshly ground black pepper
Place almonds in frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes (do not burn). Transfer to large bowl. Repeat with sesame seeds, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with almonds; add rice, scallions, edamame, carrots, and cranberries. Toss to combine.
Whisk olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper, and vinegar. Cover and chill at least one hour. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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