Wild Rice Salad with Snow Peas and a Ginger Sesame Dressing

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Wild rice is not actually rice. Instead it is a wild grass seed/grain that is high in protein and fiber. Wild rice is native to North America and grows wild in parts of Canada and in states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. It was (and still is) an important element of some northern Native American tribes’ diet. Due to popular demand, wild rice is now cultivated in California and Minnesota. It still can be pricey and somewhat hard to find. I have found it in bulk bins in natural food stores going for up to $14.00 per pound.  A couple of months ago, I discovered 8-ounce pouches of cooked wild rice at Target selling for under $2.50 apiece. Jackpot! I was so happy. The next time I went to Target I noticed it was on clearance. Oh no! I bought what they had and was disappointed that the store would no longer being carrying that product. I’m happy to report that the pouches of cooked wild rice are back at Target, just in different packaging and sporting a new brand name, Simply Balanced.

Here’s a picture of the old packaging:
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This Asian-influenced wild rice salad is wonderful. Not only is it pretty and easy to make, it’s delicious too. The wild rice is a bit nutty and has a chewy texture. The colors of this salad are beautiful. The Ginger Sesame Dressing is addicting.  It doesn’t overwhelm the wild rice. It’s also great on a slaw made with green cabbage, shredded carrots, and cucumbers.

Wild Rice Salad with Snow Peas and a Ginger Sesame Dressing

2 cups of cooked wild rice (1 pouch of Simply Balanced cooked wild rice – found at Target)
4 ounces fresh snow peas (about 2 big handfuls) washed, ends trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced small

1 clove garlic, smashed and finely minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey (you can use white sugar if you wish)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

In a bowl, combine the wild rice, snow peas, and red bell pepper. In a Mason jar, combine the garlic, ginger, canola oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and sesame seeds. Place the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Pour 1/4 cup of the ginger sesame dressing over the wild rice salad and stir to combine. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so. This gives the wild rice time to absorb the dressing. Taste the salad and add more dressing and/or salt if necessary. Serve sprinkled with additional sesame seeds.

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