This Roasted Sweet Potato, Wild Rice, and Arugula Salad is filling and fresh with a deliciously simple lemon and olive oil dressing.
I say that all the time, and in theory it’s a total oxymoron, but lately salads are my favorite way to get all the food I want to eat (flavor, texture, color, nutrition, give me everything) all on one plate. I know, I’m a food hog, and salads are my vice.
Part of the appeal of salads is my love affair with dressings. Simple, homemade dressings that have lots of flavor. For example, garlic, olive oil, lemon. As pictured above. But more on that in two seconds.
Let’s reflect on wild rice. Being a born and raised Minnesota girl, I feel this deep pride for that dark, nutty, chewy northern wild rice that can take on any shape and form and be universally delicious. I’ll be the first to admit – chicken wild rice soup has been posted at least 82 times on this here blog (but can it ever be overdone? I mean, really?) and I think way back when the blog started I would do “experimental” things like wild rice flatbread, which I will not link and don’t search it because I cannot confidently vouch for the quality of that recipe. I do remember loving it, but the recipe? I don’t know. I was just a blog baby. Have compassion.
But then things started to get interesting in the wild rice department. I started to branch out and use wild rice in salads. Okay, one, in particular. And so many of us loved it so much together, which sent me to the moon and back and landed me back at my dining room table with yet another wild rice and other yummy stuff salad in front of my face. Because when something works, don’t reinvent the wheel.
Just reinvent it a little bit and add roasted sweet potatoes.
Today we celebrate the wonderfulness that is wild rice in a salad with fresh, sweet, earthy ingredients. And a lemon dressing that is 200% plate-lickable.
On a really happy note, Bjork and I are headed to Arizona in a few weeks. No, DAYS. I just realized that as I was typing. Holy wild rice, time has been so sneaky lately.
We are going to visit my sunny grandparents in sunny Arizona and it’s going to be a sunny good time. See the theme there? Other than eating my grandma’s cooking and sitting on the porch with my grandparents smelling the lemon trees in the backyard, I have a singular goal during this trip: to come back very bronzed-up and saturated with Vitamin D. Yes, I really am that deep of a person. I call it: girl on a mission.
In my defense, 50 days of below zero weather? YAH.
In all seriousness, I’m trying to be less of a person who sees salads as a pre-pool, pre-swimsuit, pre-post-winter-eating-vacation requirement and more of a person who loves salads because they’re healthy, whole, and make you beautifully naturally glowy and all that. But the true me is probably a little bit of both, so safe to say this is going to be salad week at our house.
aaand to that I say — JACKPOT!
Anyone else traveling somewhere warm? And will you be able to fit both Bjork and me in your suitecase, or just me? Lemme know.
Roasted Sweet Potato, Wild Rice, and Arugula Salad: served with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. I licked the plate clean. 300 calories.
- 2 cups cooked wild rice (about 1/2 cup raw)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3-4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup cashew pieces
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons – more to taste)
- zest of the lemons
- 1/3 cup good quality olive oil
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cook the wild rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, make the dressing by pureeing all the dressing ingredients in a food processor. When the rice is done, toss it with a little bit of the dressing and refrigerate. Let it rest for a little while so it takes on the flavors of the dressing (I let it chill completely, but you wouldn’t have to do that).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the sweet potato pieces directly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir directly on the pan to get everything mixed. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring every so often to keep from burning. When the sweet potatoes are golden brown on the outside, remove from the oven and set aside.
- Toss the arugula, wild rice, sweet potatoes, cashews, and the remaining dressing together. Serve warm or cold. YUM.
Nutrition is for 6 servings. This salad is a little higher in calories and good fat (thank you, olive oil and cashews) but if you wanted to lighten it you could definitely cut some of the oil, the cashews, or add more arugula to bulk it up. You could also add more lemon juice to your dressing to make it go a little father while still keeping it light.