Vegetable Wild Rice with Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Citrus Pesto

This Vegetable Wild Rice is a fantastic side dish, so flavorful and full of texture.  It has a little bit of spice from the jalapeno peppers, a tiny bit of smokiness from the roasted pepper, a slight chewiness from the rice and a good amount of crunch from the fennel.  All of that combined with the Cauliflower and Citrus Pesto makes a very delicious dish you can enjoy warm or cold.


After I made the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Citrus Pesto I knew I wanted to turn it into a great side dish and I have been so into wild rice lately and I thought let’s see what it’s like together.  I loved it right away but felt it needed a little more to it so I add the veggies and it was perfect!

 When I was little, I was a very picky eater. I was always picking things out of my food like the onions my mom would try to sneak in. When I turned 14, she quit cooking for me except she would make me a pot of some sort of beans and a pot of brown rice.  I would mix the two together with cheese, sour cream, carrots, frozen peas and corn then eat it on top of toast.  Since then, I can no longer stand brown rice except for basmati.  Wild rice has become my new go-to rice and what’s cool is it’s a complete protein.  Luckily, I still love all beans.



4 – 6 Servings

  • 1 Recipe Wild Rice – recipe below
  • 1 Recipe Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Citrus Pesto – recipe below
  • 1/2 Fennel Bulb – quarter – core removed – thinly sliced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper – minced
Wild Rice
  • 1 Cup Wild Rice
  • 2 1/4 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Unsalted Bouillon Cube
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups Cauliflower Florets – chopped
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup Sartori’s Rum Runner Cheese ( if you can’t find it you can use aged Asiago cheese)
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Squeezed Tangerine Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons  Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste

Make sure you rinse well before you cook to remove any particles.

Bring water, garlic, bouillon and salt to a boil then add the rice, cover and turn the heat to in-between medium-low and low.

Cook between low and medium-low for 50 – 60 minutes or until rice has split open.  Every stove cooks differently so if you still have some water left just drain it.

* Unlike other rice it is ok to take the lid off to check if the water is gone, just put the lid back on.   Some people add 3 cups of water then drain after.


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces, measure and in a bowl toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a dash of salt then spread out on a baking sheet.  Place on the middle shelf for 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly golden then let cool.

Grate the cheese and measure cut the stems off the jalapenos and cut in half to remove seeds.

With a hand held lemon juicer, juice the tangerines and lemons then measure along with the rest of the ingredients, add everything to the food processor or blender and puree.

Roasted peppers

Roast the bell pepper on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.


Cut the stalks off the fennel, cut in half and cut out the core then cut the halves in half and slice as thin as you can.

Mince the jalapeno and when the rice is done either let it cool then mix everything together or heat up the pesto, peppers and fennel just enough to warm it up and mix with the rice.

 Health Benefits:

Wild rice is a good source of fiber, therefore, it helps with digestion and to lower cholesterol.  It is a complete protein and has twice as much protein as brown rice.  Wild rice contains all the essential amino acids, but it’s a bit low in lysine.  It is extremely high in antioxidants so regular consumption protects you from disease and aging.  A serving of wild rice is lower in calories than other any other rice and provides 15 percent of the recommended daily value of zinc.  It has good sources of essential minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, folate, Vitamin B6, and niacin.

Cauliflower is supercharged with antioxidants and is a great source of vitamin C, a whole 77 percent of the recommended daily value.  It is also a very good source of manganese and has an excellent source of vitamin K, one of the best anti-inflammatory nutrients, as well other anti-inflammatory nutrients that help keep inflammation in check. Cauliflower contains over 9 grams in every 100 calories of fiber, which is great for digestive system support and also helps protect the lining of the stomach.  It is a good source of choline, a B vitamin is known for its role in brain development and may boost cognitive function, and improve learning and memory.  It is found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function.  Compounds found in cauliflower also show anti-cancer effects.

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