Greetings, chickpeas! For today’s recipe I really wanted to sneak in one last Christmas-worthy dish. And that dish is my Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad!
This recipe is fantastic for a holiday table. Many of the flavors are winter holiday favorites, it is simple to throw together, and it is absolutely beautiful! Now, let’s dive in!
Inspiration for Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad
I’ve made a number of wild rice salads over the years, so to create this one I pulled inspiration from all my favorite parts of the others I have made! I knew that I wanted to include pomegranate for a delicious pop of flavor, and that I wanted an orange-based dressing. I also loved the idea of adding in some toasted nuts and seeds for a bit of nuttiness, and I wanted everything to be oil-free!
It was also important to me that this felt at least slightly Christmas-inspired. While some of these ingredients aren’t specifically winter or Christmas themed, I made sure to throw in a couple of ingredients that were – and I really wanted them to stand out! Pomegranates are a winter fruit, so they automatically remind me of Christmas (plus they are a beautiful Christmasy red color!). Oranges also fit the bill because there are many legends and traditions where oranges represent the holidays. And lastly, pumpkin seeds may not technically be a Christmas thing, but they still pull in some end-of-year holiday vibes that go with our salad perfectly!
I just love the delicious combination of flavors that these fresh ingredients give us! Many grocery stores should carry all of these things this time of year, but I will also include substitute ideas in the “Tips & Tricks” section in case you can’t find something!
- Wild rice: a necessary ingredient for any wild rice salad. Wild rice tends to have a slightly chewy texture and a somewhat earthy flavor. I love the combination of textures in this salad, largely because of what the wild rice provides us!
- Pomegranate: another necessary ingredient. These add a delicious little burst of sweetness to our salad.
- Carrot: carrots add a bit of sweetness, and since we are grating them they also add some varying textures. And they add a fun pop of color!
- Arugula: I tested this salad with a number of different greens and arugula was definitely my favorite. I liked the slightly peppery flavor of it with all of our other ingredients!
- Sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds: we are going to toast these and they will provide some fun crunch and a delicious nutty flavor!
- Orange juice and zest: these will be added to our dressing for a zing of citrus flavor! I am a big fan of orange-based dressings, and this one does not disappoint!
- Tahini, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and dijon mustard: the other components of our orange dressing! The tahini adds some creaminess, the apple cider vinegar and the dijon mustard add some acidity, and the maple adds a touch of sweetness.
How to Make Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad
The procedure here is pretty simple. As always, keep scrolling for the full instructions. But here’s the basics:
- Toast your almonds and pumpkin seeds on the stovetop.
- Mix ingredients for the orange dressing.
- Add dressing to all salad components.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill in fridge.
- Lastly, serve and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
This one can easily be altered to fit your preferences! Here are some ideas I’ve got for you if you want to mix things up.
- Arugula is technically more of a fall green, but most stores carry it year-round. That being said, if you are having a hard time finding it (or if you just aren’t a fan of the arugula flavor) feel free to replace it with another green! Spinach was my next favorite option here while testing.
- If you don’t have almonds or pumpkin seeds, feel free to use any other nuts or seeds of your choice! These mainly provide a fun crunch and some toasty flavors, but you can get those things from whatever nut or seed you prefer.
- If you’re making this in the warmer months and have a hard time finding pomegranate, be sure to check the freezer section of your store to see if they have frozen pomegranate seeds! But if you still can’t find any, I think dried cranberries would be a fun replacement!
- Looking for something fun to serve with your Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad? Check out my Baked Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese or my Tomato Basil Soup to pair with this!
Pomegranate Wild Rice SaladCourse: Sides, Salads
This Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad is the perfect combination of flavors: slightly nutty, slightly earthy, slightly sweet, and overall delicious. A great option for any meal, but especially perfect for a holiday table as many of these flavors are a slight nod to the winter holidays!
*Note that “From Start To Finish” is an estimate – it includes 45 minutes for you to cook your rice and 45 minutes to allow it to cool (and assumes you will prep your other ingredients at some point during this time), 20 minutes to actually follow the recipe directions, and 60 minutes to allow your salad to chill in the fridge before serving. So most of this time is simply waiting for your rice to cook/cool, or waiting for your salad to chill!
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3.5 cups cooked wild rice, completely cooled (for the most flavor, cook according to package directions but use vegetable broth instead of water!)
Pomegranate arils from 1 medium pomegranate (about 1.5 cups)
1 medium/large carrot, grated
2 cups arugula, roughly chopped
Orange juice and orange zest from half of one navel orange
1 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a nonstick pan on the stovetop to medium heat. Add your sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds. Stirring once a minute, allow your nuts and seeds to toast on the stovetop for about 5-7 minutes (or until they are toasted to your liking). Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature for a few minutes.
- Add your cooled cooked wild rice, cooled roasted almonds and pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, grated carrot, and chopped arugula to a large salad bowl. Toss it all together.
- Create your orange dressing by combining orange juice and orange zest, tahini, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and dijon mustard in a small jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake until ingredients are evenly incorporated (Alternatively, you could simply combine in a bowl by whisking with a fork).
- Pour your dressing onto your salad mixture and toss to combine.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and give one last toss.
- Place in the fridge and allow to chill slightly (I like to give it an hour, but this is up to you! You can even serve it right away if you’d prefer, but I personally think it is best slightly chilled.) Serve and enjoy!
Stay Joyfully Balanced!