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totally orange wild rice salad

October 24, 2012

I’ve got Halloween on the mind.

orange wild rice

Can’t help it when surrounded by Canadians planning their Halloween costumes, when my favorite blogs bombard me with Halloween themed party food like this and this, when even the local liquor store has eery creatures hanging out the windows.

orange salad

It’s kinda fun. I’ve never celebrated Halloween, mostly because it’s nowhere near as big a deal in New Zealand, but also because my family were always a little dubious about such a celebration and instead we got involved in the community’s Light Party.

mandarins, carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots in a wild rice salad

I do, however, keep the date of October the 31st close to my heart. It marks the day Jesse first asked me to Alphabet date him. And so we dated our way from A to Z over that year.. and the following Halloween, he asked me to marry him. Three Halloweens later and we are now (ecstatically married!) in a country that truly celebrates this holiday. And hey, I’m not turning down an opportunity to bake witches fingers cookies, stuffed jack-o-lantern peppers, green monster shots, and jelly worms!

orange medley wild rice salad

Totally Orange Wild Rice Salad
Serves 3 – 4
Inspired by The Healthy Foodie

This is definitely one of those make-something-out-of-nothing meals. It is light and fresh, meanwhile being filling and nutricious. Use whatever you have on hand to create your style of salad. And grain will do, any fruit, vegetable, or nut. I didn’t plan this to be orange overload – I just happened to have a kumara on hand, some baby carrots in the fridge, no dates – only dried apricots, and a bunch of fresh manadarins from a friend. The wild rice carries a lot more flavor than white rice so little more is needed flavor-wise. I threw in some basil from my new basil plant (which I hope survives on the windowsill despite the lack of sunlight from now until next April…) which brought such freshness, and a good squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Some feta or nuts (I added both after photographing it) tossed through are the perfect addition for a completely satisfying meal.

1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 large sweet potato (kumara), diced into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
2 mandarins
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
handful fresh basil
the juice of 1 lemon
dash of balsamic vinegar
freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta
sprinkle slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Lightly grease a roasting tray and place in oven to warm.

Cook wild rice as per package instructions (about 20 minutes). Once cooked, drain and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, throw sweet potato and carrots onto roasting tray with a little salt and pepper and bake in hot oven until tender (about 15 minutes). Keep a close eye on them though as the potato can cook quicker depending on size of cubes.

Toss cooked rice and cooked vegetables together. Peel and seperate mandarin and mix into rice, along with dried apricots and roughly torn basil. Squeeze over some lemon and balsamic vinegar to taste, sprinkle over nuts, feta and grated nutmeg.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2012 9:36 am

    Wow, it’s very generous of you to give me credit for that, Christina. You totally made this your own! I merely placed an idea in your mind but then you let it grow into something that is totally your creation.

    It looks absolutely fabulous though. LOVE the addition of oranges, basil and dried apricots.

    Now I might have to create a whole new salad based on YOUR creation. ;)

    • October 25, 2012 10:13 am

      I guess this is what happens when I desperately want to make your dish using what I’ve got! I love that you didn’t have to add a dressing, just a few spices (I didn’t have fennel seeds) and plenty of seasoning. I’ve never had chestnuts before – must try them. I do really like the sweet, salty and tangyness of this. Enjoy!

  2. October 26, 2012 10:06 am

    I love wild rice – what a bright, colourful way to eat it.

    My favorite part of Halloween is carving pumpkins – I love carving a whole bunch and lining them up in the dark with their lit candles. There’s something eerily cozy about it… Plus, jack-o-lantern carving parties with friends are pretty fun :)

    What is Alphabet dating??

    • October 26, 2012 2:30 pm

      I have never carved a pumpkin! The local greenhouse here was growing the big orange pumpkins for carving but they sold out quick.. I imagine that would be so gorgeous all lit up! As long as they are pleasant faces…

      For us, alphabet dating meant planning a date with the theme of each letter of the alphabet, ie. B: bike ride along the beach, beef burgers and a bonfire… Q: quality time and quesadillas… M: Mexican followed by Movinpick icecream and a walk along Mission Bay.. you get the idea. It was the best time of our relationship getting to know one another and keeping our dates adventurous and interesting. We plan to do it all over again sometime in this new country.

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