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Red wine grape, tangerine & wild rice salad

For many, the holiday centers around the main course — ham, roast beef, turkey — but for millions of other Americans, it’s all about the sides.

A good salad, bursting with an assortment of flavors and textures really completes a perfect meal, and this hearty salad is full of the best flavors of fall, as savory wild rice combines with crunchy celery, nutty pumpkin seeds, and tangy orange slices. And the sweet grapes soaked in red wine contrast perfectly with a slightly-tart balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Add some fresh herbs like mint, basil and parsley and you have got a dish that is complex and filling, but also light and fresh tasting.

Red wine grape, tangerine & wild rice salad

This salad recipe is also a great way to use up grapes that have seen better days, as they will return to their former plump glory after soaking in a little wine. The leftover vinaigrette also makes the perfect marinade for your grilled or baked chicken or pork. This salad is great for entertaining or for lunches-on-the-go, because it can be made well ahead of time and stored in your fridge for up to two weeks! Served as a side, or as a meal on its own, this is a dish your family is sure to love.

Red wine grape, tangerine & wild rice salad

Yield 12

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups wild rice blend (combination of white and wild rice)*
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 60 ** roasted red grapes in red wine, stems removed
  • 1 cup red wine (merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • juice leftover from roasted grapes
  • 2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • juice from one orange
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons basil leaves, minced
  • ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare the roasted grapes recipe (directions below)
  2. Combine rice, chicken stock, salt and 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil, stir once. Cover with a lid, simmer for 45 minutes, or until done.
  4. Mix together balsamic vinegar, orange juice, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and red wine juice left over from the roasted grapes.
  5. Add herbs and ground pepper to taste. Mix well.
  6. To assembly, using a large mixing bowl, place cooked rice blend, celery, onions, nuts, roasted grapes, Mandarin oranges, and herbs.
  7. Five minutes before serving, add the vinaigrette. Mix well. Allow to set for 5 minutes, then strain off juice. Pour salad into a serving bowl.
  8. Serve.

Directions for roasted grapes

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place 60+ washed grapes in a damp towel and dry.
  3. Remove stems from grapes.
  4. Place grapes in a shallow casserole dish large enough to spread out the grapes without touching one another.
  5. Combine 1 cup of red wine and 3/4 cup sugar, mix well. Add wine mixture to grapes, stir well.
  6. Roast for 2 hours on 200 degrees. Remove and allow to cool. Place in refrigerator with juices for up to two weeks, or use immediately.

Notes

* Use hard wild rice, not quick cooking.

** This is a good way to use grapes that are beginning to shrivel.

*** May also be used as a sauce with grilled/baked chicken or pork.

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