Chickpea Wild Rice Salad
In Minnesota, wild rice is a big thing. Wild rice soups and salads are the most popular way to use the grain here. I have turned the classic chicken wild rice soup into a vegan version with lentils and mushrooms, and I love it so much I make it weekly! Not only that, I make it in the deli I work in as well, and it always goes over well, even among the meat eaters. Now that Spring is here though, I am thinking more about salads, and so this week, I decided to turn a classic chicken wild rice salad into a vegan version, the chickpea wild rice salad. Now, I admit the classic version of this salad with the chicken never really appealed to me at all. It is the standard around here, served at most deli counters with a salad case, with slight variations. A sugary mayonnaise based dressing, chicken, grapes, maybe a few other add ins like almonds, or celery, or bell peppers. Although the original didn't sound good (because I am not a mayo fan, sugar fan or chicken fan), I came up with a version in my head that would suit me.
It would have the wild rice, chickpeas instead of chicken, some carrots and celery for crunch, the grapes and a creamy non-mayo dressing. Not that there is anything wrong with vegan mayo, I just don't care for it. For my dressing, I made a creamy coconut cashew base made tangy with a touch of lemon juice, and sweet with a little maple syrup. It was delicious, and I knew it would make the salad taste wonderful!
Once it was all tossed together, it looked as pretty as the classic salad, but no animals had been harmed in the process. It tasted really good too, way better than any of those chicken wild rice salads I had eaten at picnics growing up. If you have ever been a wild rice salad fan, you need to give this one a go! I think it would be perfect as part of an Easter brunch or dinner spread as well! Or if you are going to a Spring pot luck.
Chickpea Wild Rice Salad
- 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 cup carrots, cut julienne
- 2 cups red grapes
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/3 cup raw cashew butter
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place the wild rice in a pot, and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until wild rice has flowered (the grains have split), which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the wild rice you have (mine takes about an hour, it is the long grain Minnesota rice). So pay attention to the package or bulk directions when you buy it. Once rice has finished cooking pour it into a bowl and allow to cool.
- Add veggies, grapes and chickpeas to the bowl with the rice.
- whisk together dressing ingredients until smooth.
- Toss rice and veggies together dressing, and serve!