I’ve heard that when we’re taking good care of ourselves, our bodies crave what they need. Well mine must need whatever is in this salad, because I find myself dreaming about it weekly! I’m also in a phase where I like to combine sweeter, richer foods like sweet potatoes and squash with a tart punch of citrus to balance things. This salad hits all of the right notes, and because it’s served at room temperature, you can make it the morning of and enjoy it all day long!
1 1/2 cups [255 g] wild rice
2 1/2 lb [1 kg] butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2 in [12 mm] dice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup [90 g] dried tart cherries
1/2 cup [60 g] shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup [15 g] chopped fresh mint
3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup [60 to 120 ml] Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
To cook the wild rice, place in a 4 qt [3.8 L] saucepan. Add 3 cups [720 ml] of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir, and cover. Reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is still a little chewy but not hard, about 40 minutes. If there is any liquid left in the pan, strain the rice. Place it on a sheet pan to cool to room temperature.
While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 425°F [220°C]. Combine the squash, oil, and thyme on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer. (If necessary, use a second baking sheet.) Roast until the squash is golden and beginning to crisp, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the rice, squash, cherries, pistachios, mint, and green onions. Drizzle with 1/4 cup [60 ml] of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and additional vinaigrette as needed. Serve.
This vinaigrette is wonderful over peaches and arugula with a little goat cheese. It’s also a delicious marinade. Add a little chipotle in adobo sauce for heat.
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
Makes 3/4 cup / 180 ml
1/4 cup [30 g] minced red onion
1 tsp grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup [60 ml] fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup [80 ml] canola oil
In a small bowl, combine the onion, lime zest, and honey. Slowly whisk in the lime juice to dissolve the honey. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes, so the lime juice softens the red onion a little. Slowly whisk in the oil. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reprinted from The Vibrant Life by Amanda Haas with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019
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