Turkey, Wild and Black Rice Salad
The Backstory Behind This Salad
I created a version of this rice salad years ago when my kids were little and I was running around trying to get four kids to all their assorted extracurricular activities, run our household, do my job as a marketing consultant and get dinner on the table. This salad was my secret weapon for always having something nourishing in the fridge that I could grab and go. I didn't create it for my kids, I created it for me, because as everyone knows if mama isn't happy nobody's happy. And if mama's hungry she's not going to be happy. Can you relate?
This was one of my early cook-once-eat-twice recipes. I would start by roasting four turkey thighs and serve them for dinner. I'd chop up the leftovers and put them in this salad, along with wild rice, brown rice and assorted vegetables and finish with a vinaigrette dressing.
Chinese Black Rice
Recently I upgraded this salad to include black rice. In this version, I use Chinese black rice, also known as Forbidden rice, because back in the Ming Dynasty, this rice was forbidden to commoners. Chinese royalty believed black rice was the secret to longevity. Perhaps they were right. Black rice is packed with nutrition, having more antioxidants than blueberries as well as flavonoid phytonutrients, fiber, vitamin E, minerals and protein. So the "eat your colors" axiom for fruits and vegetables also applies to rice. Studies show eating black rice is particularly heart healthy as it reduces atheroscotic plaque and helps maintain healthy cholestrol levels. Black rice's anti-inflammatory properties are thought to help ward off cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes. Black rice is good stuff!
Wild rice is actually a grain and not a rice. It comes from a type of marsh grass that is native to the American Great Lakes region and was a staple for American Indians. Wild rice is also dense in nutrients, including antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, fiber and minerals. Wild rice is gluten free and a good alternative to white rice for diabetics.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
I use Oven Roasted Tomatoes for this recipe, but you can substitute sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil, drained and chopped.
Orange-Infused Olive Oil
I like to use orange-infused olive oil for this recipe as it really adds a bright flavor to the salad. You can substitute any good quality extra virgin olive oil.
A Healthy Make Ahead Salad Does Double Time as a Filling For Lettuce Wraps
I serve this rice as a simple salad, but it also makes a wonderful filling for lettuce wraps. I like to serve this salad with slices of fresh mango, which complements the flavors and adds a pop of freshness.
I use a fine microplane to grate the zest. This tool allows you to finely grate just the zest and avoid the pith. Fresh grated citrus zest will add big flavor and no calories to your salad dressing, marinades, sauces and baked goods. It is one of my most frequently used tools.
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 black rice
- Zest from 1 orange
- 1 T white balsamic vinegar
- 3 T olive oil (orange infused olive oil is particularly nice)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken
- 2 cup celery, diced
- 16 roasted tomato halves, chopped (or 1 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped)
- 1 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and diced
- ½ cup minced shallots
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
- ¼ c chopped parsley
- 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
- Butter lettuce leaves (optional)
- Mango slices (optional)
- In a separate pot bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 55 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
- Put black rice and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan with 1¾ cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to set for about 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
- While rice is cooking make dressing. Put orange zest and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow rice to come to room temperature and then put both black and wild rice in a mixing bowl. Add turkey or chicken, celery, roasted tomatoes, diced artichokes, shallots, walnuts, dried fruit, parsley and basil. Toss with dressing and serve.