O Canada wild rice salad with apple vinaigrette

Making good use of one of Canada’s important crops!

One of the best pot luck parties I ever hosted was inspired by a desire to celebrate the foods of Canada. I assigned each guest a province or territory and they had to come up with a dish that represented their region. Most people were pretty creative and took the time to discover some of the many wonderful foods grown, harvested or produced across our beautiful country. Should you wish to try out this theme yourself, I’ve provided a few great tastes of Canada to get you started. I’d love to know what other items you’d add to this list. 

I’m also happy to share this new recipe which incorporates many fantastic Canadian flavours. Wild Rice hails from Manitoba, as does Cavena Nuda (also known as Naked Oats or Rice of the Prairies). Maple and apple trees are found across the country while canola is grown in many provinces, particularly Alberta. Cranberries are native to the Maritimes but now grow both wild and commercially in many other places, including Ontario and Nunavut. I’ve included some basmati rice to make the salad a little lighter in texture; you could add some Saskatchewan lentils or Alberta barley instead if you prefer!


For the salad:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) wild rice
  • 3 cups (750 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white basmati rice
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted pecan pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Cavena Nuda (naked oats) *optional but delicious!
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) butter (*use canola oil for vegan version)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt

For the apple vinaigrette:

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider or juice
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) canola oil


For the salad:

  • Place wild rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water for one minute.
  • Put rinsed wild rice and 3 cups water in a large, heavy saucepan.
  • Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil then reduce heat so it is just simmering.
  • Cook 45 minutes until rice is tender (but still a little bit firm).
  • Drain wild rice using the sieve and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • While the wild rice is cooking, rinse the basmati in the sieve with cold water.
  • Put basmati and 3/4 cup water in a small, heavy saucepan.
  • Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil then reduce heat so it is just simmering.
  • Cook 15 minutes (don’t lift the lid to peek!) until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, covered.
  • Put basmati into a broad, shallow dish and use a fork to break up any clumps of cooked rice. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.

For the vinaigrette:

  • Combine shallot, garlic, Dijon, maple syrup, salt, pepper, vinegar and apple cider in a small bowl.
  • Pour the oil into the bowl in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning (maple syrup, salt, pepper, vinegar) to your liking.
  • Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.

Cavena Nuda crunchy topping:

  • Put 2 teaspoons of butter (or canola oil) in a medium pot and melt over medium-high heat, then add the Cavena Nuda.
  • Cover pot and shake gently as the grains pop.
  • As soon as the popping slows down, put popped grains in a bowl and sprinkle with salt; set aside.

To assemble:

  • Put the drained wild rice and the basmati in a serving bowl. Add cranberries, pecans and celery.
  • Shake the dressing to remix it then drizzle the salad with just enough dressing to coat lightly (you don’t want a huge puddle in the bottom of the bowl).
  • Top with parsley and popped Cavena Nuda.
  • Can be refrigerated until ready to serve.

Salad serves 6 – 8.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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