I have a whole traditional Yule menu completely down: my family’s big Christmas supper is celebrated on Christmas eve with the Slovak Vilija table, and that’s what I would prefer to do on Yule as a religious event. But for Yuletide potlucks and as a general healthy dish to have around the house to stave off overindulgence of sweet treats, it’s hard to beat this wild rice salad. It uses the only native grain to North America and heavily features “winter foods” like citrus, cranberries, and nuts. Plus, the contrast of bright green onions and bright red cranberries against the dark rice is certainly a Yuletide color scheme.
Wild Rice Cranberry Pecan Salad
4 to 6 servings
1 cup wild rice
3 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
¼ cup chopped green onions or chives
3 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring the wild rice rice, ½ teaspoon salt, butter, and water to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 50 minutes. Do not stir the rice, and do not uncover the pot. Remove from stove and let sit, covered for 10 minutes. Then uncover, fluff up with a fork, and let cool to almost room temperature.
In a medium sized serving bowl, mix the rice, cranberries, pecans, and green onions together.
In a separate jar, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, orange zest, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, mix dressing in with the rice mixture. Serve warm, chilled, or room temperature.