This dish is so many things, and yet it is so simple. It’s the perfect side dish for summer picnics and barbecues, but it also easily works as a light, refreshing dinner or lunch. You could just as easily make it a day or two ahead as you could make it on a weeknight just before digging in. And best of all, it all comes together in an explosion of color and great textures.
It’s such a complete meal that I didn’t even notice until Joseph pointed out that it’s vegan. But between the almonds and the edamame, there’s plenty of protein and the carrots and scallions make it even healthier (and more colorful!). Sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey give it a delicious Asian flare and dried cranberries provide a sweet, tart contrast (and even more color!).
I think wild rice is often overlooked, but it it’s a fun and yummy base for a salad. Did you know that wild rice isn’t actually rice at all, but a long-grain marsh grass? It’s high in protein and fiber, has some good mineral content, and hey, it’s even gluten free! Even though it’s called “wild,” most of the stuff in stores is actually farmed in California, but it is still hand harvested in Minnesota and Wisconsin, mostly by by the Ojibwe peoples.
Whether or not your rice is truly “wild,” it’s worth cooking up, and I promise, you’d never know it was grass you were eating. It’s easy to make, but with all those pretty colors, everyone will just assume you spent a lot of time on it!