Like most people, I have a few go-to autumn salad recipes that I make during the holidays. They are those dishes that I have been making for many years and have been able perfect over time. This Wild Rice Salad recipe is one of them.

Plus, here at Foolproof Living, we love wild rice. I know you like it too because two of our most popular fall recipes, Wild Rice Stuffing and Wild Rice Pilaf, feature this magical ingredient.

A plate full of Wild Rice Salad recipe

Originally shared by Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa), this cold wild rice salad recipe is a great way to brighten your holiday table with some color and sweet and savory flavors. Plus, it is a great make-ahead salad recipe that you can serve cold, which I think is the best part because you can get it ready a day before and put it on the table right before dinner.

That being said, it is also a great salad for potlucks and summer picnics, as it pairs well with grilled meats and veggies.


You will need two sets of ingredients to make this Vegan Wild Rice Salad recipe:

Ingredients are placed in small bowls and photographed from the top view.
  1. The Dressing: Gather olive oil, freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest, and salt and pepper.
  2. Salad Ingredients: Cooked and cooled wild rice (recipe & method below), grapes, oranges, scallions (aka green onions), dried cranberries, pecans, and a handful of pomegranate seeds (optional.)


  • Wild rice: While wild rice is the main ingredient in salad, you can also use wild rice blend, black rice, or even quinoa in this recipe.
  • Green Onions: You can use red onions or shallots if you are out of scallions.
  • Fruit: You can use a cubed apple in place of green grapes.
  • Lemon juice & lemon zest: You can substitute lemon juice and lemon zest in the dressing. However, you will need to add in a sweetener like a tablespoon of agave, maple syrup, or even honey syrup to break the sour taste. On another note, red grapefruit can also be another substitution for orange juice and zest to make this cold wild rice salad.
  • Nuts: Walnuts and sliced or slivered almonds would also work in this salad.
  • Salad Greens: If you want to turn it into a green salad, feel free to add in a handful of spring mix or arugula. I love to serve wild rice arugula salad for Thanksgiving dinner to add a pop of color to my holiday menu.

How To Make Wild Rice Salad?

The recipe for this cold wild rice salad has 3 folds.

First, cook the wild rice. I wrote a lengthy post about how to cook wild rice and Instant Pot Wild rice a while back, so I won’t bore you with the details. However, if you need a quick guide, below is my wild rice-to-water ratio for the perfect, wild rice recipe.

How To Make Wild Rice

  • 1 cup wild rice (rinsed well) * soaked for 2 hours
  • 3 cups water (or vegetable stock)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Place everything in a saucepan, put the lid on, bring it to a boil, turn the heat down, and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until it is tender and most of the water is absorbed. Drain any liquid and use it in your salad.

I recommend cooking wild rice in advance to save time. I usually cook a batch over the weekend and keep it in the fridge to add it to salads and soups (like I did in this Lightened Up Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Soup).

person showing how to make wild rice salad with cranberries.

Second, prep the salad ingredients: Simply place cooked (and cooled wild rice), grapes, orange slices, scallions, pecans, and cranberries in a large bowl. Set it aside.

To make the dressing, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, and salt and pepper. Here, I highly recommend zesting the orange before squeezing it to make it easier on yourself.

Finally, drizzle the dressing over the wild rice mixture. If using, sprinkle it with pomegranate arils. Give it a gentle toss, taste for seasoning, and add if necessary.

If you have your wild rice cooked and ready, the whole process takes no more than 20 minutes. If you have the time, cover it with stretch film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

How To Make Ahead and Store:

This wild rice pomegranate salad is ideal for meal prep or dinner parties as it can be made ahead and it stores well. Here is how I do it:

  • Make-Ahead Instructions: This salad can be made a day in advance. As a matter of fact, I recommend doing so, as it allows all the flavors to mingle and create an incredible flavor profile. Simply mix all the ingredients (including the dressing) in a large bowl a day in advance. Cover it with stretch film and store it in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour before you are ready to serve it so it can come to room temperature.
  • To Store leftovers: Place the leftovers of this Minnesota wild rice salad in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

What To Serve it With?

This healthy wild rice salad recipe goes well with so many meat and vegetarian meals. Below are my favorites:

Wild rice pomegranate salad is being served by a person in an oval plate.


What meat goes with wild rice?

Turkey and chicken recipes are ideal to serve with wild rice dishes, as their earthy flavors pair well with poultry.

Does wild rice need to be soaked before cooking?

While soaking wild rice for a few hours help shorten the cooking time, you do not have to soak wild rice before cooking.

Other Healthy Wild Rice Recipes You Might Like

There you have it. A quick and easy-to-make wild rice salad recipe that is wholesome, filling, and festive with bursts of flavor in the form of oranges, grapes, cranberries, and pecans. Here are a few more wild rice recipes you might want to try:

If you try this Wild Rice Salad with cranberries and pecans, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

This recipe has been adapted from Ina Garten’s Wild Rice Salad recipe with minor changes to the originally published recipe.

Wild Rice Salad Recipe

4.80 from 20 votes
Yields6 servings
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Wild Rice Salad recipe tossed with orange vinaigrette, crunchy pecans, and sweet grapes. It is a a great gluten free and vegan fall salad that can be made ahead and served cold.


For The Wild Rice Salad

  • 3 cups cooked wild rice, cooled *
  • 1 cup green grapes, cut in half
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped – both green and white parts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans
  • Handful of pomegranate arils for color, optional

For The Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, from one orange
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed (from one to two oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Place cooked and cooled wild rice, grapes, orange slices, scallions, cranberries and pecans in a large salad bowl.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the wild rice salad. Give it a toss.
  • If you have the time, allow it to sit for 30 minutes in the fridge for all the flavors to blend before serving. Serve.



  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can make this wild rice salad a day in advance. As a matter of fact, I recommend doing so, as it allows all the flavors to mingle and create an incredible flavor profile. Simply mix all the ingredients (including the dressing) in a large bowl, cover it with stretch film and store it in the fridge. 
  • To Store leftovers: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 249IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

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4.80 from 20 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I’m in Australia, and for us Xmas is in summer when its hot, so last Xmas Day I made this salad
    to go with Duck, fresh Prawns, Ham etc.
    It was a smash hit.
    Had to alter a few things. Added some extra fresh herbs and used packet pre cooked wild rice. Made it Xmas Eve overnight in the fridge.

    1. YAY! So happy to hear that you enjoyed this wild rice salad recipe Vallimai. Thanks for sharing your experience and taking the time to leave a review.

  2. 5 stars
    Best wild rice recipe I have ever made. Outstanding as a side dish. Great over salad. I made one small change toasting pecans in butter which I prefer and feel are slightly sweeter.

    1. Hi Marc,
      This makes me so happy to hear. And I would agree with you on toasting the pecans in butter. I am sure they tasted amazing.

  3. I tried multiple times to download your free ebook but to no avail. Any suggestions.? I really was looking forward to the recipes.
    Thank you
    Jo Bodenstein

    1. Just sent you an email with the link Jo. Please let me know if you don’t get it or need further assistance.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for a great salad! I am always looking for cool meals in the summer and this was easy to put together. I cooked the wild rice well and it absorbed the orange flavor well. I roasted the pecans for a little extra pop.

    Next I’m looking for a fun way to pair wild rice and asparagus … any ideas, oh brilliant cook?

    1. Hi Maggie,
      So glad to hear that you liked it. Wild rice salads are a favorite in our house especially during the summer months.
      I should come up with a great salad recipe made with asparagus and wild rice as they go SO well together.
      Stay tuned… 🙂

  5. 2 stars
    Sorry to have to go against the grind here but I’ve tried this salad before and it was one of the most bland and boring things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life (I work in hospitality and have seen my fair share of different kinds of food over time).

    The issue with a salad like this is that the wild rice serves no distinguished purpose in the recipe as it overloads the crunchiness which is already provided by the pecans.
    Wild rice blocks the dressing from being able to properly bind to all of the ingredients meaning the flavours are competing with each other as the dressing is unable to act as a dressing and instead acts more like a side sauce; salad dressings are meant to bridge all of the ingredients but rice has a highly absorbent quality to it where it draws in lots of liquid while it’s cooking and afterwards when it’s mixed in with other liquid-based flavours.

    A better alternative to wild rice for this salad would be something like shredded red cabbage plus dicing up the pecans; this will better balance out the flavour palate and make the dressing the vehicle of the show (the dressing is a good one).

    1. Jared,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I am not sure how you cook your wild rice, but I usually cook mine to be soft. So I am not sure what you mean when you compare it to the crunch comes from the pecans.
      This recipe happens to be one of my favorite lunch recipes that I make for myself often.
      However, I respect people’s taste and preferences so I understand what you mean.
      With that being said, I totally agree with the fact that the dressing and the filler ingredients (grapes, oranges, and scallions) used in this recipe would compliment the shredded red cabbage pretty well, especially if you let the cabbage marinade in the citrusy flavors of the dressing for a few hours.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      1. 4 stars
        First of all, I agree that ‘crunchy’ isn’t what one is looking for in cooked wild rice… but I do think it’s a excellent sturdy or hardy vehicle for this dish.
        Secondly, I loved your reply and think it was very gracious and respectful of the reviewer’s comment (but the comment was off base ) 😉

  6. 5 stars
    I served this most extraordinary salad along with roasted ducks for our Christmas dinner. It pares so well with duck, and the vegetarian/vegan guests were especially impressed with the remarkable explosion of flavors. This will most surely be on every holiday table from now on.

    1. Hi Kayelle,
      This is such a nice note. Thank you!
      I feel the same way about this salad and I am so happy to hear that you and your guests enjoyed it.
      Serving it with duck is such a great idea. I might do the same for our NY eve dinner.
      Happy holidays!