Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

**This post was originally published in October 2014.ย  I’ve updated the photos and recipe, but most of the text remains the same.

Warning! ย I’m going to complain about the intense heat here in the San Francisco Bay Area once again, so skip over it if you don’t want to hear me whine.

We’re having record breaking heat for October…I mean temperatures in the 90’s? ย It wasn’t even that hot very often here over the summer.

The heat is messing with my need for fall comfort foods because it’s too hot to really enjoy them!ย  Luckily, this Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette was cool enough to enjoy and it gave me a huge dose of fall.

Huge. ๐Ÿ™‚

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

I made a wild rice salad similar to this oneย towards the end of my cooking school program. ย It was late February when I made it, and I was on a big winter squash kick.

Kind of like the one I’m on right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

In school I served the wild rice salad stuffed in roasted dumpling squash topped with a spiced Greek yogurt dressing and pumpkin seeds.

If you followed along with my cooking school posts, you may remember it.ย  If you didn’t, you can check it out here.

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

My cooking school version was meant toย be a vegetarian main dish, which is why it had more going on.

This particular wild rice saladย  is certainly satisfying enough to be a meal, but I served it as a side dish with roast chicken.

And was it ever good with roast chicken!

This would be such a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table or fall entertaining. ย The colors are gorgeous and just scream fall, don’t they?

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

Now I love hazelnuts, but for some reason I don’t use them very often.ย  They added so much to this salad and made it very special indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you follow along here, you know I put maple syrup in almost everything. ย I love adding it to my vinaigrettes as a sweetener, and when it’s fall, it’s especially warranted.

The combination of maple syrup with dijon and apple cider vinegar is simply amazing, and it was the perfect dressingย to toss this harvest wild rice salad with.

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

If you don’t care for butternut squash, any type of winter squash would be delicious here as well as sweet potato.

Pomegranate would be a festive substitution for the dried cranberries, especially if you’re watching your sugar intake.

The options of this Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette are endless, but the end result will be a fabulous fall side dish, lunch, main dish or however you decide to serve it.

This dish is the epitome of fall, and everyone will love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

More fall recipes you’ll love!

Butternut Squash Casserole with Pecan Oat Streusel

Dry Brined Orange Rosemary Roasted Turkey

Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Fried Shallots

Roasted Delicata Squash, Fig and Persimmon Wild Rice Salad

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}

Ingredients

For the wild rice:

  • 1 cup wild rice blend, cooked according to package instructions and set aside to cool slightly.

For the butternut squash:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash (1" cubes)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1ยฝ teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ยผ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Assemble the salad:

  • โ…“ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large green onion, white and green parts, sliced thinly on the bias or a handful of chives, chopped
  • โ…“ cup goat or feta cheese, crumbled (love honey goat cheese here!)
  • chopped toasted hazelnuts, for garnish*

Instructions

Prepare the butternut squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Prepare the vinaigrette:

  1. Place the vinegar, dijon, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil in a steady stream while whisking constantly to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Assemble the salad:

  1. When the rice and squash have cooled slightly, place in a large serving bowl.
  2. Add the cranberries, green onion, and feta or goat cheese, then toss with the desired amount of dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  3. Top the rice with the chopped hazelnuts and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Total time above includes about 10 minutes to cube your own butternut squash. You can buy pre-cubed butternut squash to save some time.
  • The rice will absorb the dressing as it sits, so add more to leftovers as necessary.
  • I used pre-toasted hazelnuts from Trader Joe's which saved a significant amount of time. You can toast your own whole hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, then wrap them in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove some of the skins.
  • Omit the cheese for a vegan option!

Harvest Wild Rice Salad with Maple Vinaigrette is a hearty wild rice salad with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, hazelnuts and goat cheese! {GF, Vegan option}