Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

Two delicious fruits are currently in season: Pomegranates and Satsuma Oranges.

When I was a kid my dad would buy pomegranate as soon as it appeared in stores. Back then the fruit wasn’t “cool” and no one was talking about how it was a good source of antioxidants. In fact, I would take it to school for lunch and other kids would ask, “What is that?” (I got that a lot — I always had the most “interesting” brown bag lunches.) I’ve adopted my dad’s habit, and hop on pomegranate season as soon as the fruits look bright and red and juicy. I put them in salads (like this one with kale and delicata squash or this one with brussels sprouts) and add the juice to smoothies. My favorite is my dad’s Pomegranate Sorbet (!), but this wild rice salad is a a healthier way to enjoy the flavor.

Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins
Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

When it comes to citrus fruits, I’ve never been the biggest fan — it’s not that I don’t like oranges, there are just other fruits I like more. BUT during citrus season, when everything is at it’s peak and you can find blood oranges and ruby red grapefruits and mandarins… that’s when I get on board. Satsuma Mandarins are the best, aren’t they?!

These two fruits together sing winter to me — they are a pop of fresh in an otherwise dull season, little gems in this wild rice salad.

Wild rice, by the way, is another key here. It’s nuttier than white rice and gives this salad great texture and flavor. Either use leftover rice or cook the rice ahead of time. You can do this in an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) by placing 1 cup water and 1 cup wild rice in the pot and setting it to High Pressure for 28 minutes, and then allowing the pressure to release naturally.

The whole thing is tossed with arugula (which is why it can be called a salad 😏). The bitterness of the greens are a good balance to the sweetness of the fruit and nuts. Add toasted pecans on top of that, and every bite is a combo of nutty and fresh and savory and sweet.

Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

Published January 10, 2018 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled wild rice (leftover rice does great!)
  • 3-4 Satsuma Mandarins, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils 
  • 3/4 cups toasted pecans
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Make the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar. Close jar and shake to combine.
    2. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, wild rice, mandarins, pomegranate perils, and toasted pecans.
    3. Drizzle vinaigrette over rice salad to taste, adding additional salt & pepper to your preferences. Toss and serve.

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    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    You know that feeling the week after the holiday season, or a vacation, when you just want a bowl full of veggies, because you haven’t had enough recently? Because I do! And salads like this are the answer. A bowl full of greens, but also sustenance — sweet potatoes, walnuts and goat cheese!

    And, this salad is one even veg-haters will like (said it already, but: potatoes, cheese, nuts… I mean is it even a salad? You don’t have to tell them there’s — ehem - kale under all those potatoes).

    Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite roots. Their flavor is SO good, and they pair well with virtually anything. They are also super rich in beta carotene (dark orange sweet potatoes have more beta carotene than carrots!) and vitamins A and C. 🙌

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    The whole thing is then drizzled with an apple cider vinaigrette which has shallots and dijon mustard and even a little bit of honey — just the right balance of sweet and acid. It’s a pretty classic vinaigrette and one that you can use on just about any kind of salad or with any veggie (not just this salad!). (And if you don’t have shallots, it’s OK to skip them — but they really are good and worth the effort, so go ahead and just add them to your grocery list right now).

    Lastly, if you’re into meal planning (I’ve never been that organized, but if you are, I’m in awe), you can make a big sheet pan of sweet potatoes ahead of time. Use some of them on this salad for light lunches throughout the week, and use the other half as a side with this Parma Rosa Chicken for dinner.

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    P.S., If you like this salad combo, you may also like this Fresno Mint Broccoli Salad with Sweet Potato!

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

    Published January 8, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil, such as avocado
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Roast sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss potatoes in 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in oven for 40-45 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soften all the way through and crisping on the edges. Set aside to cool.
    2. Prep the kale: place torn kale pieces in a salad bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the kale with the lemon juice until the kale is bright green (Why do this? It makes is softer, easier to digest, and nicer to eat).
    3. Top kale with sweet potatoes, cranberries, walnut pieces, and goat cheese crumbles.
    4. Make vinaigrette: combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in a jar and shake to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and serve.

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    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    I grew up on the sort of sweet potato casserole that is topped with marshmallows, and I love the stuff.

    One Thanksgiving in California is vividly stamped in my mind — the year we visited my grandparents and I realized for the first time that my grandma cooked almost every dish for Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave. IN THE MICROWAVE! Coming from rather culinary parents, it was a bit of a shock, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t noticed in previous years (I don’t even remember other Thanksgiving dinners at their house; maybe this was a first).

    Anyways… this sweet potato casserole is not made in the microwave (do I even need to say that?) and so it’s off to a far superior start already! But it’s also been revised in other ways, calling for less sugar and being topped with crumbly, crispy pecans and oats instead of marshmallows. Because, sugar and marshmallows just don’t leave me feeling my best.

    Sweet potatoes are quite sweet as they are, so adding sugar to the filling feels unnecessary (most recipes call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of added sugar). In this version the filling is “natural,” meaning all the sweetness comes from the sweet potatoes, and the topping is made with maple syrup and cinnamon (which has sweet notes of it’s own!).

    As Oliver would say, this dish comes out of the oven “smelling sweeter than a plate of yams with extra syrup.”

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Tip: Cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time! You can cook the potatoes up to three days before you’re going to make this casserole. Here are a couple of ways to cook them (affiliate links ahead!):

    • In an Instant Pot: Place whole sweet potatoes in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of water (use a steamer basket if you have one). Use manual mode and set to high for 15 minutes (vent in sealed position). Allow pressure to release naturally, then open pot. Allow potatoes to cool, and then remove skins, which should easily pull off at this point.

    • In an oven: Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and rub with oil (such as coconut oil). Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a sil-pat and bake for 45 minutes.

    In both of these methods, the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes will caramelize so that your sweet potato casserole tastes sweet without the added sugar.

    Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK. What else are you making? What’s your favorite thing once you sit down at the table?

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

    Published November 20, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 4 hours



    Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups mashed sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup half and half or canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • For Crumble Topping:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 heaping cup rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup pecan halves

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
    3. Spread sweet potato mixture in an even layer in a 9x9 baking dish.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for crumble topping. Spread crumble topping in an even layer over the sweet potatoes.
    5. Place baking dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Sweet potatoes should be warmed through and pecans on top should be lightly toasted. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

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