This isn't your average wild rice salad! For added flavor, the wild rice is cooked with pomegranate Juice before being tossed with roasted squash, sliced scallions, crunchy hazelnuts, and pomegranate arils.
Today I'm sharing my take on wild rice salad. It's packed with seasonal flavors like chewy wild rice, roasted acorn squash, crunchy hazelnuts, and juicy pomegranate arils.
A lot of the wild rice salad recipes I've seen online cook the wild rice in plain water. While that gets the job done, it leaves something to be desired in the flavor department.
My solution? I cooked the wild rice in a mixture of water and pomegranate juice. The pomegranate juice adds so much flavor to the wild rice without overpowering the entire dish!
I also added pomegranate arils to the salad for added pomegranate flavor and crunch.
Pair this wild rice and acorn squash salad with your favorite holiday entrees for a feast you won't soon forget!
The base of the salad is the wild rice, which is actually a variety of grass and not rice at all!
The wild rice is cooked in pomegranate juice before being tossed with roasted acorn squash, skinned hazelnuts, and sliced scallions.
To balance out the sweet-tart pomegranate juice and earthy squash, I added fresh basil and parsley to the salad.
Once the salad is tossed together, it's drizzled with the most incredible white balsamic pomegranate dressing.
How to Make Wild Rice Salad
This roasted squash salad has a few extra steps than your average green side salad, but it's an incredibly simple recipe to prepare.
- Combine water, pomegranate juice, salt and wild rice into a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the rice has popped and is tender. Drain rice in a colander.
- While the wild rice cooks, prepare and roast the acorn squash until tender.
- For the dressing, combine pomegranate juice, white balsamic vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in some olive oil.
- To assemble the salad, combine the rice, squash, scallions, nuts, herbs and pomegranate arils. Mix in half the dressing and reserve the rest.
Tip: I like to reserve a little dressing on the side for anyone who wants to add extra to their individual serving.
Can Another Variety of Squash Be Used?
Yes, you're welcome to make this warm winter salad using any kind of squash you have on hand.
Just keep in mind that different varieties of squash may require different roasting times than what I've indicated in the recipe card below.
Should the Salad Be Served Warm or Cold?
I prefer serving this as a warm winter salad, but leftovers can also be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
What to Serve with Wild Rice Salad
Wild rice and acorn squash salad pairs well with your favorite fall and winter dishes. Here are some suggestions of entrees that pair well with this salad:
- Roasted Turkey
- Slow Cooker Turkey Meatloaf
- Vegetarian Meatballs
- Beef Tenderloin
- Honey Ham
- Spicy Maple Bacon Chicken Drumsticks
Tips for Making This Winter Salad
- Wild rice isn't cooked like your average white rice. It's boiled until tender and then drained, similar to how pasta is prepared.
- I used acorn squash to make this winter salad, but I imagine any variety of squash can be used.
- You do not need to skin the acorn squash before eating it. The skin is edible and has no overpowering flavor!
More Winter Salad Ideas:
Pomegranate Wild Rice and Roasted Squash Salad
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup pomegranate juice (8oz)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small acorn squash skin washed
- ½ cup sliced scallions
- ½ cup skinned hazelnuts toasted and chopped
- ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil chopped
- 1½ cups pomegranate arils
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Cook the rice: Put water, pomegranate juice, salt and wild rice into a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes or until rice has popped and is tender. Drain rice in a colander.
- Roast the squash: Heat oven to 425ºF. Cut squash into quarters and remove seeds and stem. Cut each piece into ½ inch slices. Brush squash slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Stirring once half-way through.
- Make the dressing: For dressing combine pomegranate juice, vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl combine the rice, squash, scallions, nuts, herbs and pomegranate arils. Mix in half the dressing.
- Serve salad with remaining dressing for anyone who wants to add more.