Wild Rice Salad With Sweet Potatoes, Arugula & Aged Cheddar

November 11, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Lauren LaPenna. Food Stylist: Veronica Olson.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6 (as a side)
Author Notes

This wild rice salad strewn with roasted sweet potatoes, leafy greens, crunchy apple, and crumbly aged cheddar is pretty much everything I want in a salad. It’s a big, gorgeous jumble of contrasting flavors, textures, and colors—every bite as interesting as the next. It can be fully assembled in advance and served warm or at room temperature. It's hearty and satisfying enough to call dinner, yet versatile enough to pair with practically any protein.

When creating the recipe, I had a salad bowl from a certain chain I love in mind (I've eaten it more times than I can count!). I changed up the ingredients and ratios to suit my taste—for example, I ditched the chicken, opted for Kerrygold's Aged Cheddar instead of goat cheese, and went heavy on the wild rice, lighter on the greens.

Of course, feel free to customize this salad based on your own taste, or what you have in your fridge and pantry. A few ideas to get you started: Swap roasted butternut or delicata squash for the sweet potatoes. Use other types of rice or grains in place of the wild rice. Try a spicy or creamy vinaigrette instead of the balsamic. Reach for spinach or leafy herbs like parsley or cilantro instead of (or in combo with) the arugula. No matter what you do, with a salad template this good, you really can’t go wrong.

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Kerrygold. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the salad:
  • 1 cup wild rice or wild rice blend
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds (or substitute chopped pecans or walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1 large tart apple (such as Honeycrisp), cored and cubed
  • 2 cups (packed) baby arugula
  • 4 ounces aged cheddar (such as Kerrygold Aged Cheddar), thinly shaved or crumbled
  • For the balsamic vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon's finely grated zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Cook wild rice according to the package directions. (Note: Add a few big pinches of salt to season to the water even if the package doesn’t call for it.)
  3. To make the vinaigrette: Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Adjust acidity and seasoning, to taste.
  4. While the rice is cooking, toss cubed sweet potatoes in olive oil, maple syrup, and Aleppo pepper in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and distribute in an even layer on the sheet pan. (Don’t rinse the bowl; use it for tossing the nuts in Step 5.) Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until mostly tender and lightly browned.
  5. Toss the almonds in the same bowl, coating them in any remaining olive oil and maple syrup in the bowl. Add them to the sheet pan (directly on the hot pan or on top of the sweet potatoes) and roast for about 8 minutes longer, or until the almonds are nicely toasted and the sweet potatoes are fully tender. Immediately toss both the sweet potatoes and almonds in 2 tablespoons vinaigrette, then season to taste with another pinch or two of salt.
  6. Toss cubed apple and cranberries in 2 tablespoons vinaigrette (this will prevent browning of the apple and soften the cranberries). Set aside.
  7. When wild rice is done, immediately toss in 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.
  8. Let the rice cool a bit, then add the sweet potatoes, almonds, apple, cranberries, arugula, and cheese—tossing well and adding a bit more vinaigrette, as needed (you may not need the full amount). Serve and enjoy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Catherine
  • Slick23

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

2 Reviews

Catherine March 26, 2021
Delicious! I subbed out roasted cubed butternut squash for the sweet potatoes, and I used wild rice, not a blend.
Slick23 December 20, 2020
Lame just a waste of good stuff what a disgusting site