This wild rice salad with kabocha squash and brown butter vinaigrette is delicious and healthy, perfect for the holidays. Full of produce, like squash, mushrooms, and pomegranates, wild rice, and topped with pecans and a brown butter vinaigrette. Gluten-free.
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or water) salt to taste
- 1/2 large kabocha squash, seeds removed and cubed (see notes)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 10 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
Brown Butter Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup unsalted grass-fed butter or ghee (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (see notes)
- First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook the rice. Combine the rice and chicken stock (or water) in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low, and cook for 45-50 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. If there’s extra liquid, drain it.
- Meanwhile, roast the kabocha squash. Arrange the kabocha cubes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown, flipping halfway through.
- Next, cook the mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are softened, adding a tablespoon of stock or water if the mixture begins to stick to the pan. Set aside.
- Make the brown butter vinaigrette. Heat another skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and swirl the pan until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty, about 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt and pepper. Add in the browned butter and whisk again.
- Serve. In a large bowl, mix together the wild rice, roasted squash, mushroom mixture, and brown butter dressing. Season generously with salt and pepper. When ready to eat, garnish with pecans and pomegranate seeds.
Squash options. Sub out the kabocha squash for your favorite: some other good options include butternut squash, delicata, or acorn.
Sensitive to dairy? Try using grass-fed ghee instead of butter (just skip the browning step). It won’t have that same brown butter taste, but it will still be good.
Pomegranate seeds. If you buy a whole pomegranate, this method is my favorite for de-seeding.
Making this salad ahead of time? Keep the pecans and pomegranates separate. When ready to eat, heat up the salad and then garnish with pecans and pomegranate seeds.
Keywords: wild rice salad, thanksgiving salad, kabocha squash salad