This Cherry Wild Rice Salad is the perfect summer dish with its hearty wild rice, creamy chevre balls and succulent cherries. The arugula, basil and hibiscus dressing really adds a beautiful dimension to complete this salad! Enjoy it as a side or as a meal!
Hello, my friends! Are you excited for summer? I am so excited about all of the upcoming summer events. We are celebrating the beginning of summer with a potluck on the beach this weekend with some of our good friends. I met up with my friends Erika and Natasha last night for a much needed girl’s night out. We met at a local winepub and enjoyed some great conversation along with wine, food and a lovely view from the deck. This was the first time the three of us has gotten together since I moved here. It was so nice to spend time together since we all grew up in the same area and had so much to talk about! I seriously need to do that more often!!
Robby and I are going on vacation next week. We are off to Oceanside for a mini family reunion with Robby’s dad’s side of the family. I am excited to meet his uncle because I never had the chance to meet Robby’s dad before he passed. Robby’s cousin is also going to be there with his family as well. This is only the beginning of our summer activities! What do you have planned for the summer?
I love a crisp dry white wine with this salad. I Enjoyed it with a Sauvignon Blanc but it would also be great with a sparkling wine.
This salad could be called “The Farmer’s Market Salad” because almost everything in it is from our local farmers market. I used arugula but you can substitute the arugula with kale or any other greens. I flavored the champagne vinegar with hibiscus flowers for a few days and then I strained out the flowers to produce a gorgeous tangy vinaigrette. The cool thing is that you can save the vinegar soaked flowers and use them in many other recipes like these crostini. What else do you see yourself using them on? This healthy salad is naturally gluten free and chocked full of vitamins.
Cherry Wild Rice Salad Recipe
- Hibiscus Vinaigrette – recipe below
- 1 Cup Wild Rice – recipe below
- 5 Cups Arugula – washed
- 1 Cup Cherries – pitted or whole – or to taste
- 1/2 Cup Radish – thinly sliced
- 1/4 Red Onion – minced – optional
- 1/2 Fennel Bulb – cored – thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup Basil – torn
- 1 Cup Raw Walnuts – toasted – ground to a crumble
8 oz. Chevre – rolled into balls
- 1/2 Cup Wild Rice
- 1 1/4 Cup Filtered Water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small Clove Garlic (optional)
- 1 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube (optional)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
- 1 Cup Dried Hibiscus Flowers
- 1 Bottle Champagne Vinegar (I used 12.7 oz. Napa Valley Naturals)
Hibiscus Vinaigrette – You can make half of this recipe if you don’t want extra.
- 1/3 Cup Hibiscus Champagne Vinegar
- 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 Teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 Small Shallots or 1 Tablespoon – minced
- 1 Large Garlic Clove or 1 Teaspoon – minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Prepare this 4 days to a week ahead.
Add the hibiscus flowers to a jar and pour the vinegar over the petals. Let sit for 4 days to a week. (I did a week)
With a fine mesh strainer, strain into another jar. Save the vinegar hibiscus soaked flowers for other recipes like this one.
Add the hibiscus vinegar, olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a jar. Shake vigorously. then add the minced shallots and garlic then shake again. Set aside.
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 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.
Toasted Walnut Cheese Balls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the walnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Place the walnuts on the middle rack and toast until they start to brown and smell toasted about 7 to 10 minutes.
Make sure and check them frequently so they don’t burn. Make sure to cool completely.
Put them into a food processor with the salt and pulse until it is a fairly fine crumble.
Measure a teaspoon of the cheese and roll into a ball, continue until the cheese is gone.
Next, roll the cheese balls in the ground walnuts as best you can, then add some walnuts to the palm of your hands
to roll more onto the cheese for full coverage.
Place them into a covered container and refrigerate until the salad is ready.
Toss everything together except for the cheese balls and dressing. Serve the cheese balls and dressing on the side.
You can leave the cherries whole or cut in half to remove the seeds. I like to serve extra cherries on the side as well.
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 of 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.
Arugula is a super food that cleanses the blood and detoxifies cells. It is an extremely high anti-oxidant making it a free radical absorbent and increases oxygen levels. It has a cooling effect on the body and contains 90% water so it keeps your body hydrated making it a great addition to your diet in the summer heat. Arugula has very high levels of chlorophyll, which helps with liver damage and contains phytochemicals that fight cancer-causing carcinogens. The leaves have an excellent source of vitamin A helping with vision, skin and respiratory health. It has good levels of vitamin C that is great for cell and skin health. Arugula also contains decent levels of minerals, especially copper and iron. It has high amounts of calcium and vitamin K that strengthens the bones. Its high fiber content helps with colon health and reduces chronic inflammation as well. It is high in folate (B9), which helps to slow down the aging factors of the brain and supports your metabolism.