Wild Rice + Blackberry Salad Recipe

August 24, 2021

Looking for a refreshing salad recipe to whip up as a side or as the base for a weeknight dinner? This Wild Rice + Blackberry Salad should go straight to the top of your list. It’s delicious, simple and a real crowd pleaser.

greens in a salad flatlay
 Styling/photography courtesy of Haley Hazell.

By: Rachel Riggs of Clean Eating Foodist. Reviewed by: Registered Dietitian Megan Kober.

I consider myself to be the OG of quarantine. My life as a specialty food shop owner was upended by illness, and it has kept me homebound for 8 years now. 

You may wonder how I spend my time within my four walls…or maybe you don’t as that’s been the question we’ve all faced over the last 18 months. One of the positives coming from the pandemic and the related quarantine has been a socially shared context for my personal experience.

Beyond some additional volunteer work, I devote every last bit of stamina to recipe development for my cookbook CLEAN EATING FOODIST. Creating a much-needed resource for people with food restrictions, and those who simply care about scrumptious food that’s also nutrient-dense, is deeply fulfilling.

Oh, and I have a super sweet, nerdy scientist for a hubby who is very much a homebody by nature. That sorta worked out well too.


Chronic Illness and Food Choices

In my days as a specialty food shop owner, I experienced the abundance of cooking with every food in its best form. I had all of that right at my fingertips, anytime, anywhere. After becoming chronically ill however, a strict elimination diet and the discovery that so many foods had an exacerbating effect on my illness led me to make drastic changes. 

The way I eat now was not just a learning curve but a whole paradigm shift. I never dreamt my passion for food, or the joy I get from cooking would return. Equally heavy on my mind was wondering how I could make food that would appeal to my friends and family as well—I live to feed the people who are important in my life, and I wanted to do that in a way that required no apologies or explanations. 

With time, and a fair amount of difficulty, I sorted it out. And I came to discover that when I eat in a way that is motivated by an intense desire for health—not vanity—I am liberated.

And when I look to the California-Mediterranean flavors I have always loved—bursts of citrus, briny bites of olive, depth-building anchovies—I create dishes that satisfy both my palate and my senses. That’s what I want to share with anyone who picks up my cookbook or comes across my recipes. 

The recipes in CLEAN EATING FOODIST are free of gluten, grains, pseudo grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, soy, shellfish, pork, nightshades, peanuts, cashews, obscure flours and artificial sweeteners. And you can be certain they are, most of all, free of deprivation. 

I’m taking a slightly looser approach with the recipes I’ll be sharing on This Organic Girl (more to come!), allowing some 72% chocolate (a yummy dessert hitting TOG this fall) and wild rice into the mix (like you see here). So, without further ado, let’s dive into this late-summer salad recipe.

Follow Rachel @cleaneatingfoodist


Wild Rice + Blackberry Salad

Wild Rice + Blackberry Salad

The melange of textures and flavors in this herbaceous summer salad delivers the seasonal freshness and complexity we crave. The wild rice provides some heft and a toothy bite, and the vinaigrette unites it all. We enjoy this salad paired with black cod, but it would be a great accompaniment for any type of grilled meat or hearty white fish such as halibut as well.
Author Rachel Riggs
Course Salad

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Whisk

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups (uncooked) wild rice blend (I use Lundberg Wild Blend)
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt (to salt the water)
  • 2-6 oz packages of ripe blackberries (set 4 berries aside for the dressing)
  • 2 pieces Persian cucumbers (very thinly sliced, preferably with a mandolin)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup whole tarragon leaves (stems removed)
  • 1 pinch flake salt for finishing

Dressing

  • 4 pieces blackberries
  • 1 piece large garlic clove (finely grated on a microplane)
  • 2 tbsp Red Boat brand fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey

Instructions

Make the dressing

  • Place 4 blackberries in a small bowl and use a fork to mash them.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use. Making it a day in advance its fine, and allows the flavors to meld.

Cook the wild rice

  • Cook 1 1/2 cups of the wild rice blend (plus 1/2 teaspoons of Himlayan pink salt) in a medium pot according the the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Transfer the cooked rice in a large mixing bowl.
  • Fluff it with a fork and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Once cool, assemble the salad – or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The rice can be made a day in advance.

Assemble the salad

  • When ready to serve add the cucumbers, parsley and tarragon to the bowl of rice and toss gently to combine.
  • Add the vinaigrette and toss again to coat.
  • Divide it between 4 plates and top each one with blackberries.
  • Sprinkle with flake salt and serve.

Notes

For best results, I recommend you don’t make any substitutions. In developing this recipe, I tried using white wine vinegar instead of Champagne vinegar, but the dressing lost its brightness. I’ve also tried using English cucumbers, but the texture of a Persian cucumber is much more suitable for this salad.

Let us know if you try it—enjoy!

By Rachel Riggs

Rachel Riggs is a former specialty food shop owner and business development consultant who lives in San Diego with her husband. She's been mostly housebound for eight years now since suddenly becoming affected by ME/CFS and a genetic connective tissue disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome in her mid-thirties. She holds a volunteer position as the clinical coordinator for a renowned researcher at UCSD school of Medicine, and is working on her first cookbook: CLEAN EATING FOODIST. She's obsessed with skincare and dark chocolate, and loves a good nude lip gloss. You can find her on Instagram @CleanEatingFoodist.

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