January 28, 2014

Red and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash and Other Yummy Things

Sometimes choosing a recipe is like buying a new shirt. You search through racks and racks of clothing looking for something interesting, something different. You promise yourself you’re not going to buy another black sweater. But then you see one that has a different neckline. And just as you reach for it, your shopping buddy spots you and yells, “Put that down right now! The last thing you need is another black sweater.” You protest weakly, pointing out the neckline.

Your buddy isn’t buying it. She hands you a blouse. It's yellow. With buttons. You look at it in alarm. You look at her in alarm. “But it’s yellow. I never wear yellow. What would I wear it with? I don't even know what goes with yellow.” “Just try it on,” she says. And you do.

And you love it. This colorful, not-black, not-remotely-your-taste shirt that you never would have considered picking up off the rack.

This wild rice salad is my yellow blouse, courtesy of my sister. I saw it in this month’s Bon Appetit. So did she. I glanced at, then turned the page. She looked at, bought the ingredients, made it, and loved it. She told me about it. And I protested. Salad in winter? Pomegranate seeds? Don’t they get stuck in your teeth? Microgreens? Really? How pretentious.
Thai red rice and wild rice

She walked me through it. The rice had an unusual, earthy flavor. The squash was creamy and substantial. The pistachios added a salty crunch. The microgreens lent the salad a hint of bitterness. And the pomegranate seeds supplied a refreshing pop of juice when you bit into them.

She’d sold me on trying it. But would I like it? I did. I really did. The taste was interesting, complex and unexpected.

The yellow blouse really wasn’t my style. Or so I thought until she took it off the rack and made me try it on.

 Cut butternut squash and place it on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast until squash is tender.

In the meantime, bring salted water to a boil. Add black (or red) and wild rice.

Cook until rice is tender but not mushy. Drain, rinse and set aside. (Isn't that red rice pretty?)

Whisk together vinegar, honey and olive oil.

Place rice in a large bowl.

Add vinaigrette, scallions, pomegranate seeds and pistachios and mix gently.

Add squash and microgreens and incorporate gently into the salad. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Red and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash and Other Yummy Things

Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

1 1/2 cups black rice (I searched everywhere for black rice but couldn’t find it. I substituted Thai red rice and it turned out fine.)
1/2 cup wild rice
Kosher salt
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into pieces
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup microgreens or sprouts
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 450°F.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add black and wild rice and cook uncovered, over medium heat, tender, 35–40 minutes. Drain and rinse, shaking off as much water as possible. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

3.  Meanwhile, toss squash with 1/4 cup (or less) oil on another baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 20–25 minutes. Let cool.

4.  Whisk vinegar, honey, and remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl.

5.  Add black rice and wild rice, squash, scallions, pomegranate seeds, microgreens, and pistachios. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

6.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 8 as a side or 4 as a main dish.

Note: Salad (without microgreens) can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.


  1. Yummy. I just made this...and the cauliflower for my superbowl party. Thanks, Urmila!

  2. Just wanted to let you know that people took *pictures* of this rice dish, they liked it so much. Lots of compliments :)

    1. I'm so glad everyone liked it! It is a pretty dish, and tasty too!


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