Wild rice is wildly nutritious. Containing high levels of protein, fiber, iron, and calcium, wild rice is also gluten-free. It is extremely high in folic acid, an essential B-complex vitamin lacking in many people’s diets. Just half a cup of cooked wild rice yields 21.3 mcg of folic acid, where brown rice offers only 3.9 mcg. The niacin content of wild rice is also notably high. Wild rice is a wonderful alternative to any grain that you would use in either hot or cold dishes. My favourite is just to use it in hearty salads, like the recipe I have for you today. It’s rich, nutty flavour pairs well with other earthy foods like beets, sweet potato, pumpkins and squash. As we are slowly working our way into autumn (eek!) you’ll notice those veggies showing up in the market more and more. sprouting: The process of sprouting wild rice is very simple, however, requires a little planning ahead. From raw rice to a fully “bloomed”, edible product, you’re looking at 2-3 days, most of that time being spent doing everything except fussing over your future meal. All it takes is a little soaking time, then a few rinses twice a day until the seeds have opened up. This process is called “blooming” because the seeds actually unfold, very much like little petals, revealing the pale, tender insides. It’s a really fun thing to watch, however slowly, and totally groovy to eat something you’ve seen transform just with the power of water and a little patience.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 cup / 160 g raw wild rice, soaked for 2-3 days (will yield about 2-3 cups)
- 6-8 small beetroots in various colours, if possible.
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
- 1/3 cup each parsley and mint, leaves only, chopped
- a couple spring onions or 1 small red onion, sliced
- sprouts to serve, if desired
- For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. maple syrup or raw honey
- 1 ½ tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- pinch of salt to taste
- Rinse rice well and place in a glass jar or bowl with fresh, pure water. Let soak outside of the fridge overnight. In the morning drain and rinse the rice, then cover with fresh water and put in the fridge. Drain and rinse the rice at least twice per day for 2-3 days until the rice has “bloomed” – some of all of the grains will have split open, and it should be tender to eat.
- Once you have sprouted the rice, drain and rinse and place in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together, then pour half over the rice and fold to coat. Peel beetroot. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice beetroots into thin rounds.
- Place in the bowl with rice and remaining ingredients. Pour the rest of the dressing over and toss. Garnish with sprouts and mint flowers, if you have some. Serve immediately.
- Note: if your rice remains crunchy and none of the grains split after 3 days, your rice might be too old for the sprouting method. Instead, simply boil the rice you’ve tried to sprout, and it should cook in 15-20 minutes. Then buy some new rice and make sure to check the expiry dates before purchasing to ensure freshness. Give it another shot!