The Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Network received a recipe from the Mitsitam Café at the National Museum of the American Indian to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. Please join us in learning more about a traditional harvesting method of wide rice and trying this wild rice salad recipe.
Wide rice flourishes in hundreds of shallow lakes and waterways surrounding the North American Great Lakes. The traditional Ojibwe method of harvesting wild rice was to pole a canoe through the rice field and gently knock the kernels off the tops of the grassy plant into the bottom of the boat. Back at the rice camp, the kernels would be parched in a kettle over a slow fire to dry completely. Then, men and boys wearing clean moccasins would dance on the rice to remove the outer hulls. Finally, women would winnow the kernels by tossing them in a large birch bark basket, using the wind to loosen the last fragments of hull. Today, Ojibwe families on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota still harvest wild rice in canoes, but they process the kernels in mechanized mills.
In this salad, the cooked rice is blended with pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries and served on a bed of watercress.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable stock or homemade vegetable stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1 fresh carrot peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
- 3 Tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 fresh plum tomatoes finely diced
- 5 fresh scallions including some green parts, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted and cooled
- 1/4 cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds toasted and cooled
- 3 bunches fresh watercress stemmed
- For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk to blend. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 10 days.
- For the salad: In a large saucepan, combine the stock and wild rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Spread the rice on a baking sheet and let cool.
- Scrape the rice into a large bowl and add the carrot, dried cranberries, tomato, scallions, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds. Toss to mix. Add 1/2 cup vinaigrette and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Salad may be served chilled or brought up to room temperature. To serve, divide the watercress among salad plates and top with the wild rice salad.