Greek Wild Rice Salad

Please don’t let the “wild rice” bit fool you, this recipe for Greek Wild Rice Salad is amazeballs.  No joke.  I really am thinking of changing the name to “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things Salad” instead of Greek Wild Rice Salad because it is chocked full of things I love! (feta cheese, olives, artichoke hearts, ugh I have my happy face just thinking about it).

There is so much amazing going on with this recipe, I can’t get over it.  I brought it to my Aunt Marion’s 4th of July party and it was perfect.  Cool and refreshing with that hearty, nutty, yumminess of wild rice.

Here’s how to do it!

Ingredients:

For the Rice-

  • 1 cup Wild Rice Blend (Choose one that has flavors you like, my mix had wild rice, white rice, and brown rice)
  • ¼ cup Israeli Couscous (Some people call this pearl couscous, it’s the big kind)
  • Chicken stock (The amount will be based on the cooking directions of the rice and couscous you choose)
  • 2 cloves garlic

For the Dressing –

  • 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine or white cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, pressed  -or- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red paper (or to taste based on your heat preference)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

The Salad Part:

  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup diced green onions (two should be fine)
  • 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts (NOTE: I used the marinade from the jar and added it to the dressing!)
  • ¼ cup mixed olives, sliced or coarsely chopped.*
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds (I bought the salad toppers and they were cracked black pepper flavor)
  • ¼ cup “drunken” mushrooms (mushrooms cooked in white wine and garlic)
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper

*Using just black olives is fine, but I love olives, so I always have a bunch of varieties.  In this salad I used black olives, kalamata olives, and green olives (no pimentos were involved)

Yum

So yummy, see the garlic clove?

1. Cook the rice and couscous based on their packaging, but with a few minor changes, instead of water, you’re going to use chicken stock (or veggie stock if you’re going vegan/vegetarian), omit ANY butter or oil regardless of what the box says because these will prevent the rice from absorbing any of the dressing, and add 2 whole cloves of garlic while cooking.

I cooked my rice and couscous separately because they had different cooking times, if you are adventurous and want to make them together, have at it!   Here is a picture of the couscous once it was cooked, this is not caused by a camera zoom, the pearls are that big! Much bigger (and tastier) than standard couscous.

Once cooked, drain any excess liquid, remove the garlic cloves, and set aside to cool.  If you’re making everything in a hurry, put the rice and couscous in the freezer while you finish everything else.

If you’re ever making couscous or rice just for the eating, this is a great way to prepare it without adding a lot of extra calories, but adding tons of flavor!

Next, add all of the ingredients for the salad dressing to a container with a snug lid, like this:

Before

Then, close the container, making sure the lid is good and tight. and shake it for a few minutes to get everything good and combined.

After

Set the dressing in the fridge to let the flavors meld.  If possible, make the dressing the day before so everything is nice and combined.  If you taste it right now, you’re going to notice a strong vinegar flavor.  DON’T PANIC, this will temper as the dressing sits.

On a side note, because I used marinated artichoke hearts, I did add the marinade to the dressing right before serving.  It was a last minute idea and worked out great!

Next we’re going to make what I call “Lazy Drunken Mushrooms”.  They’re simple really.  In this case you’re going to saute the mushrooms on medium heat with 1 teaspoon chopped garlic and then add 1/2 cup dry white wine.  Cover and allow the mushrooms to soak up the winey goodness while simmering on medium.

Lazy Drunken Mushrooms

Just before all the wine is evaporated, add the chopped red pepper so they can get in on a little of this action.

Oh, yeah, that’s the stuff.

Now you’re just going to chop up the veggies and crumble the feta.

Once all your veggies are chopped, combine everything with the rice, poor the dressing on top, and toss to combine.  Cover everything and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24 for the flavors to blend before serving.

A couple of notes, first is, you may find that you don’t need to use all the dressing.  This is ok, you want to use just enough to coat everything, but not so much that you have extra on the bottom of your bowl.  Too much will lead to gummy or mushy rice which is not attractive.  You can use the extra for a nice spinach salad!

Though the rice holds up well in the fridge, the longer it sits before serving, the more likely you are to end up with mush, so try to serve it close to when it is prepared.  Viola, Greek Wild Rice Salad.

 

Yummms.

Here’s a printable:

Greek Wild Rice Salad

 

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