Dinner, Gluten-free, Lunch, Salad, Valentine's Day, Vegan
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Rejuvenating Wild Rice Salad with Beets and Dill

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Welcome to part deux of  my Valentine’s Day recipe extravaganza (and don’t worry, there’s even more recipes coming your way these next few days!)

I made this salad in an attempt to rejuvenate wild rice. An oft forgot grain, wild rice is sick and tired of just being “that hard and crunchy Thanksgiving rice”. It wants to break free! It has seen good times with butternut squash, cranberries, mushrooms, and fruits, but it wants something more in life. It is yearning for some new friends, and it wants to be eaten at any time of year, gosh darn it!

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Wild rice, meet beets and dill (and tangy lemon dressing, too!). These players are taking wild rice out of it’s turkey-stuffing days to vibrant lunch and dinner plates. This salad is perfect for winter, but would also be a beautiful addition to a spring or early summer picnic basket.

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I tested out my new mandolin making this recipe, and went to town on these juicy, ecstatically pink beets. I then tossed them in olive oil and roasted them into beet “chips” for the salad. They were not crunchy though, but rather waspy thin, and meltingly soft. I also mandolined some cukes using the wavy blade; they remind me of dill pickle chips- so cute! (I know, I am having way too much fun with this mandolin).

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I added some cucumbers for their crunch and affinity with dill, as well as some chickpeas for protein heft. You and your Valentine (or bunch of Valentine’s Day ex-pats, perhaps), can enjoy this pink salad as a main course, or as a side. I can imagine it would be lovely paired with some lemon baked tofu, and a mess of garlicky greens. I, however, gulped it down on a plate lined with some sliced tomatoes. Perfecto.

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Here it is, all ready to go! I hope you ❤ this recipe as much as I do. My mom also tried it, and gave rave reviews (which is a big freakin’ deal, people!). However, we both agreed this would be even better with some sharp feta on top. So if you are non-vegan, go and feta this up.

Rejuvenating Wild Rice Salad with Beets

Serves 4 as a main course, and 6-7 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 lb beets, peeled and sliced into thin discs
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 cups chickpeas, or 1 can’s worth
  • 2/3 English cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1/2 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • water, to thin dressing

Directions

  1. First, cook the rice. Put 1 cup of wild rice and 3 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Take off heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the over to 400 degrees F. Mix sliced beets with olive oil on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the over for 20-25 minutes, or until soft, with some crispy edges.
  3. Add rice, beets, chickpeas, cucumber, and dill to a large bowl, and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.
  4. Make the dressing: Combine lemon juice, almond butter, a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp water in a small bowl. Stir until combined. For a thinner dressing, add more water. Pour dressing over rice mixture, and stir to combine. Feast on!

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