Christmas wild rice salad with caramelised pecan nuts and cranberry dressing

Christmas lunches are often about the mains but, like a supporting cast, your side dishes can really enhance the key attraction. Whatever you’re planning on serving this festive season, this somewhat unconventional but utterly scrumptious wild rice salad couldn’t even keep Scrooge at bay.

wild rice salad

Ingredients (serves 4–6):

You can double the ingredients below if you’re serving a crowd.

500g wild rice and brown rice mix
Vegetable stock, to cook

For the dressing

100ml olive oil
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
100g dried cranberries
1 large handful fresh parsley, mint and coriander, chopped
1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped

For the salad

Blanched broccoli or beans, to serve
Grapes, optional as a garnish

For the pecans

40g butter
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp salt
100g pecans

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC for the caramelised pecans. Then get going on the rice.
2. Place the rice in a saucepan and cook according to the packet instructions (approximately 25–30 minutes). Use vegetable stock to cook the rice and the flavour of your salad will be exponentially better.
3. Prepare the dressing whilst the rice is cooking. Mix together all the dressing ingredients and season really well. Drain the rice and toss in the dressing whilst still warm.
4. Once the oven has heated up, place the pecans on a baking tray and pop them in the oven for between 5–10 minutes.
5. Mix together the butter, icing sugar and salt. Toss the hot pecans in this mixture and shake around to coat.

wild rice salad

6. Mix every few minutes until the pecans have cooled.

wild rice salad

7. To serve, toss the rice with the blanched broccoli and beans (if using) and top with your caramelised pecans. For a lovely, fresh summer vibe, cut some seedless green grapes in half and place on top.

wild rice salad

If you leave this salad to stand for a couple of hours, the flavours will only get better, so it’s a great recipe to make ahead of time and save yourself some stress.

With thanks to Jules Mercer for her beautiful recipes and styling.