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Wild Rice Harvest Salad

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A colorful, eat-the-rainbow, hearty salad; loaded with fresh, flavorful and satisfying crunchies! This wild rice salad with grapes dressed with maple dijon vinaigrette is perfect for anytime you are looking for a bright, crispy, fresh, in season salad.

Salad lover? Or maybe you think salads are kinda boring, I honestly can bounce between both emotions; but this wild rice salad is anything but girly, boring or plain!

It’s the perfect salad to make for a luncheon, or even make individual appetizer sized salads for a party.

If you are thinking about the perfect fall salad right now, you might also enjoy these fall inspired recipes; Sweet Maple Apple Pecan Salad, Pumpkin Curry Soup, or Pumpkin Spice Cake!

Harvest Wild Rice Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com

You will make this recipe again and again! Slices of sweet, crisp apples, crunchy pomegranate arils, creamy goat cheese, hearty and nutty wild rice, chewy pecans, juicy grapes, bacon all layered beautifully on a bed of peppery arugula.

Dressed up all fancy-like with this easy to prepare maple Dijon vinaigrette

Wild Rice Salad with Grapes

This Wild Rice salad should not be reserved for the holidays or even fall or winter! Since we enjoy many produce items year round, this recipe should be a regular on your menu.

Plus, it’s so easily customized to your tastes and what’s in season and at the end of the post I give you a TON of variations and substitutions.

plated wild rice, harvest salad with apples, pecans, goat cheese, bacon and pomegranates

I first spied this amazing salad from one of my favorite bloggers, Brenda at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles, I’ve made a few tweaks, but honestly this salad and dressing just shine!

Every time I make it, people rave about it and ask for the recipe. So get on board the beautiful, hearty, healthy salad train

How to Make Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Make the maple Dijon vinaigrette first, so it can chill while you assemble your salad.

This dressing is emulsified which (roughly and by roughly I mean very non-scientifically) means taking a heavier liquid (oil in this case) and combining with a lighter liquid (vinegar & maple syrup) that don’t typically combine and whipping at a fast rate to combine to a creamy or emulsified state. 

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette | www.thefreshcooky.com

The Best Way to Cook Wild Rice

Let’s make wild rice — this takes the longest and can’t be rushed. In a medium pot, over medium-high heat, pour in chicken broth, bring to simmer, stir in wild rice and sea salt.

And please use real wild rice, not brown rice or white rice or wild rice blend, it’s a bit pricier, but so worth it.

Reduce heat to low/simmer and cover for about 45-60 minutes, until rice is split open and curly. I’ve made it the night before on several occasions, cooled and refrigerated.

wild rice on slotted spoon | www.thefreshcooky.com

You will probably have leftover broth, wild rice won’t absorb all the liquid. Remove rice with slotted spoon to bowl to cool and place in fridge until ready to use.

****Save leftover rice broth to use in a soup or give as a treat to your pet. 

removing_wild_rice_cooling | www.thefreshcooky.com

How to Make Harvest Wild Rice Salad

There are several ways you can prep this harvest salad ahead of time, assembling it just before you serve it. You can assemble it on a large platter for a show-stopping salad presentation or

wild rice harvest salad platter | www.thefreshcooky.com

Or on individual salad plates for an equally impressive presentation.

Make Ahead Hack!

If you make individual salads, you can make them a couple hours ahead of time; they keep quite well covered tightly in plastic wrap, leave off the bacon and the dressing adding just before serving.

I actually had one salad left over and I ate it the next day, everything was still crisp and lovely, not that I recommend making these 24 hours ahead of time, more like an hour or two ahead, just saying. 

HOW TO MAKE INDIVIDUAL APPETIZER SALADS

At Christmastime, I hosted a Favorite Things Party and I made these appetizer sized salads in clear plastic cups, placing the dressing in a small pitcher on the side for people to dress their own. 

Pouring dressing on Harvest Wild Rice Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com

Wash and dry apple — cut in quarters, slicing out core, the slice into thin slices. Place in covered glass container or ziplock baggie; squeeze fresh lemon juice; toss gently to coat, refrigerate until ready.

Wash and pat dry your grapes, slice in half and place in separate baggie or covered glass container, place in fridge until ready to use. 

Fry or bake bacon (350° on foil lined cookie sheet for about 12-18 minutes depending on thickness), drain and cool, crumble into small pieces, set aside.

Seed pomegranate, or purchase pre-packaged pomegranate arils. Make sure you have your desired nuts, cheese. 

Assemble Wild Rice Salad Recipe

On desired platter, plates or cups, place a layer of greens. Arrange the balance of the ingredients in pretty patterns, whether in straight rows, or in patterns, or toss together.

When ready to serve, drizzle with maple Dijon vinaigrette, toss and serve. 

Dripping dressing on Wild Rice Harvest salad | www.thefreshcooky.com

Variations and Substitutions for Harvest Apple Salad

Your imagination is the limit with these salads, make it your own! Here are some swaps and suggestions. 

  • Try a hearty quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, barley or farro cook according to package directions substituting recommended liquid with chicken broth.
  • Substitute apples with pears, or go the citrus route with oranges or grapefruits.
  • Instead of pomegranate arils, try blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dried cranberries or strawberries.
  • Replace the goat cheese with crumbled blue cheese, gorgonzola or even feta cheese.
  • Try adding pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or almonds in place of, or in addition to the pecans. Also, roasted pepitas, pine nuts and/or sunflower seeds would add a fun crunch. Any roasted and salted nut or seed would work great, or try candied nuts or make a batch of these bourbon maple pecans!
  • Replace the grapes with other grape variety, any berry or even melon balls.
  • Making vegetarian or vegan? Omit bacon (unless you are like some of my vegetarian friends who make an exception for bacon…tee hee) and cheese as desired.
  • Or try substituting the bacon with turkey bacon, a firm chopped pepperoni or salami, or crispy prosciutto (ooh with cantaloupe, yum)

And if you like this recipe, try these other always requested salads!

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Image of wild rice fall salad with dressing being poured over the salad filled with wild rice, apples, grapes, bacon and goat cheese.

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Yield: 10-12 Servings

Wild Rice Harvest Salad

Pouring dressing on Harvest Wild Rice Salad | www.thefreshcooky.com

Wild Rice Harvest salad is overflowing with lots of satisfying crunchies, and you'll enjoy eating the rainbow of toppings. Dressed with this easy to prepare maple Dijon vinaigrette.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Wild Rice

  • 1 pound bacon (nitrate, nitrite free), cooked and crumbled
  • 1 whole medium Honeycrisp apple, washed, sliced thin (or other sweet/crisp apple)
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced (for the apples)
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups red or green grapes, washed, halved
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (substitute other creamy cheese, like Blue Cheese or Feta)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted salted pecans (or other nuts)
  • 8 cups fresh greens (such as arugula, chopped romaine, baby kale)

Instructions

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

  1. Pour veggie oil into blender, jar or bowl; I like using grapeseed oil or avocado oil, both delicious and high in omega's and nutrients. Add Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and balance of ingredients and blend until lighter, creamy and smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use and refrigerate any leftovers. For more detail and variation ideas on dressing, see post.

Wild Rice

  1. In a medium pot, pour chicken broth and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in wild rice and sea salt. Reduce heat to low/simmer and cover for about 45-60 minutes, until rice is split open and curly.
  2. You will probably have leftover broth, wild rice won't absorb all the liquid. Remove rice with slotted spoon to bowl to cool and place in fridge until ready to use. Save leftover rice broth to use in a soup or give as a treat to your pet. 

Prep and Assemble Salad

  1. Wash and dry apple -- cut in quarters, slicing out core, the slice into thin slices. Place in covered glass container or ziplock baggie; squeeze fresh lemon juice; toss gently to coat, refrigerate until ready. 
  2. Wash and pat dry your grapes, slice in half and place in separate baggie or covered glass container, place in fridge until ready to use. 
  3. Fry or bake bacon (350° on foil lined cookie sheet for about 12-18 minutes depending on thickness), drain and cool, crumble into small pieces, set aside. Seed pomegranate, or purchase pre-packaged pomegranate arils. Make sure you have your desired nuts, cheese. 

Assemble the Salad

  1. On desired platter or plates, place a layer of greens. Arrange the balance of the ingredients in pretty patterns, whether in straight rows, or in patterns, or toss together. When ready to serve, drizzle with maple Dijon vinaigrette, toss and serve. 

See tips, serving ideas, variations, substitutions on original post Wild Rice Harvest Salad

Notes

Easily adjust (increase/decrease) this salad according to needs!

Variations and Substitutions for the Salad

Your imagination is the limit with these salads, make it your own! Here are some swaps and suggestions. 

  1. Try a hearty quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, barley or farro cook according to package directions substituting recommended liquid with chicken broth.
  2. Substitute apples with pears, or go the citrus route with oranges or grapefruits.
  3. Instead of pomegranate arils, try blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or strawberries.
  4. Replace the goat cheese with crumbled blue cheese, gorgonzola or even feta cheese.
  5. Try adding pistachios, cashews, walnuts, or almonds in place of, or in addition to the pecans. Also, roasted pepitas, pine nuts and/or sunflower seeds would add a fun crunch. Any roasted and salted nut or seed would work great, or try candied nuts or a spiced nut as well. 
  6. Replace the grapes with any grape variety (though keep seedless), any berry or even melon balls.
  7. Making vegetarian or vegan? Omit bacon (unless you are like some of my vegetarian friends who make an exception for bacon...tee hee) and cheese as desired.
  8. Or try substituting the bacon with turkey bacon, a firm chopped pepperoni or salami, or crispy prosciutto (ooh with cantaloupe, yum)


Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1585mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 21g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

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pouring vinaigrette into jar | www.thefreshcooky.com
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What a beautiful salad! We made this for lunch and loved it!

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Thank you Julie! So glad you loved it!

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