Thanks to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this Savory Pickled Cherry Cold Rice Salad Post. I was compensated for this article, however, all content and opinions are my own. #lovesprouts #sproutsbrand #ad
Can’t get enough summer side salads? Neither can we and this Savory Pickled Cherry Cold Rice Salad is completely different from any other and goes great with pork, chicken, lamb and beef. Use an organic wild rice blend for this pickled cherry salad and serve it at all your backyard parties, potlucks and picnics. You might want to have extra copies of this rice salad recipe for your friends, because they’ll ask.
I found all of the ingredients for this rice salad recipe at my local Sprouts Farmers Market. They have an amazing selection of fresh, organic produce, unique whole grain blends and crunchy nuts from their bulk foods department, it’s easy to find everything you’ll need for all your summer side salads.
Ingredients For Cold Rice Salad
- Sprouts Organic Wild Rice Blend
- Pickled Cherries
How To Cook A Rice Blend For Rice Salad Recipe
This organic wild rice blend from Sprouts Market adds texture and chew to the cherry salad, however, the key is to this cold rice salad is to slightly undercook the rice. Because the rice blend is made up of so many varieties (Wild Rice, White and Red Jasmine Rice and Long Grain Brown Rice), each with different cooking times, it’s important to cook the grains until they’re tender, but still retain a firm texture. Follow these instructions to get it right:
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil (no need to measure, just make sure there’s plenty of water in the pot).
- Add the rice and cook on a rapid simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove a few grains of rice with a spoon and test them for doneness. The wild rice takes the longest to cook and will be the most firm — don’t worry so much about that. You want the brown and jasmine rice to be tender, while still maintaining a chew. Al dente, if you will. If the rice needs a bit more cooking, continue to simmer and test every 2-3 minutes until it’s done.
- Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer until all of the liquid has been eliminated.
- Transfer the rice to a large sheet pan and spread it out in an even layer to cool. This will help to dry out the rice and evaporate any excess moisture. This is an important step because if you use hot rice in the salad, it will soak up too much dressing and become mushy. Don’t do it.
Pickled Cherry Salad
Pickled cherries are one of the surprise ingredients in this rice salad recipe and I got the inspiration from the beautiful cherry display at Sprouts. In fact, I went a little crazy and bought more cherries than I needed for this cold rice salad, but they were having an amazing sale and I couldn’t help myself. The vanilla bean pickled cherries are easy to make (and only take about 10 minutes total). Use a bit of the vanilla bean pickling juice in the dressing for the salad.
Best Nuts For Cold Rice Salad
When making summer side salads, I like to include something crunchy in the mix — usually nuts. At Sprouts, their bulk foods area includes a wide selection of nuts, grains, seeds and dried fruits. I chose crunchy, toasted pistachios to add beautiful color and texture to this dish, but you could also substitute almonds, cashews or even chopped Brazil nuts. I’d avoid peanuts for this cold rice salad, however. Their distinctive flavor would overpower the others.
This wild rice and cherry salad has a double dose of pickled cherries. Not only are there pickled cherries in the salad, I also use a bit of the cherry pickling liquid in the dressing to achieve that amazing pantone hue.
Ingredients For Cherry Spiked Dressing
- Dijon Mustard
- Sherry Vinegar
- Pickled Cherry Juice (optional, but awesome)
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
Note: This makes more dressing than you may need for the cold rice salad. Any leftovers would be great drizzled over grilled chicken or fish or tossed in a green salad.
Can You Eat Wild Rice Cold?
Absolutely. Although “cold” is a relative term. Don’t serve the wild rice and cherry salad directly from the refrigerator. It’s actually best enjoyed at room temperature.
How Long Does Rice Salad Keep?
This rice salad recipe will hold up for several days (3-4) in the refrigerator.
Pro-Tip: If you’re making cold rice salad ahead of time, add the pistachios at the last minute before serving to maintain their crunch.
More Summer Side Salads:
- Grilled Vegetables with Feta and Farro
- Zesty Quinoa Salad with Lemon Tarragon Dressing
- Mexican Chopped Salad
- Edamame and Quinoa Salad
- Grilled Greek Orzo Salad
More Cold Rice Dishes For Buffet:
- Asian Wild Rice Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing
- Sicilian Style Brown Rice Salad
- Green Bean and Wild Rice Salad
- Tangy Italian Black Rice Salad
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Savory Pickled Cherry Cold Rice Salad
FOR COLD RICE SALAD
- 1 1/2 cups Sprout's Wild Rice Blend
- 1 cup pickled cherries drained and patted dry
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup toasted pistachios roughly chopped
- 4-6 tablespoons Cherry Spiked Vinaigrette or more as needed (Recipe below)
CHERRY SPIKED VINAIGRETTE
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pickled cherry juice from recipe of pickled cherries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
COOK THE WILD RICE BLEND
- Because this is a wild rice blend, some of the rice cooks faster than other varieties. For this recipe, you want to UNDERCOOK the rice compared to the package directions, so that the rice maintains a chew -- think "al-dente".
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a teaspoon of salt and the rice. Set the timer to about 15 minutes and cook the rice, stirring occasionally. At 15 minutes take some of the tenderest rice and determine if it needs more time anywhere from 4-7 minutes. The wild rice should still be firm and the softest rice will be done. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer until all the liquid has seeped out. Transfer the rice to a large sheet pan and spread it in an even layer to cool to room temperature. This will also help the rice dry out. Do NOT USE HOT RICE TO MIX WITH THE OTHER INGREDIENTS.
MAKE THE CHERRY VINAIGRETTE
- Combine the shallots, dijon, sherry vinegar, pickled cherry juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk until emulsified. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Dressing should be tart-sweet. Set aside.
ASSEMBLE THE RICE SALAD
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled wild rice blend, scallions, parsley, cherries and pistachios. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the Cherry Vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste the salad and see if it needs more dressing. Add additional dressing 1-2 tablespoons at a time, tasting after each addition. You want the rice salad to be lightly coated, but not goopy in the dressing. (Any additional dressing can be used over a green salad or to dress a piece of grilled chicken, pork or fish.)
- Serve the salad at room temperature.