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Kale, Chile Cashew, and Wild Rice Recipe

Have you met my all time favorite wild rice recipe? This nourishing, satisfying salad has chewy kale, tender wild rice, roasted carrots, and chile-fried cashews all in a creamy tahini dressing.


A kale salad with wild rice and carrots on a gold plate.

Growing up in the Midwest meant wild rice played a larger part in my diet than maybe someone who is a native Californian or Southerner. My grandmother’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup was creamy and delicious as was her Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. There was often wild rice stuffing at Thanksgiving and her wild rice pilaf recipe was the stuff of dreams. I loved it all.

Are you a fan? If so, you are going to love this recipe.

Typically wild rice is paired with heartier, creamier ingredients but this substantial salad is actually my favorite way of eating it. It starts with tender wild rice, toothsome kale, and sweet roasted carrots. All this gets tossed with a lemony tahini dressing and then topped with chile-fried cashews and dried cranberries.

It is an awesome grain salad to serve as a vegan main course or add it to your side dishes at the holidays this year!

What is Wild Rice?

A close up of the wild rice recipe with roasted carrots, toasted, chopped cashews, dried cranberries, and kale on a gold plate.

Before we dive too deep into the recipe, let’s take a closer look at this intensely flavored whole grain. Despite its name, wild rice is not actually related to rice at all. Like white rice and brown rice it is a type of aquatic grass native to North America and grown mostly around the Great Lakes.

You can find it in the rice section of most grocery stores—even Trader Joe’s sells it. A lot of times it will be sold in a variety of wild rice blends where the wild rice is mixed with other grains. For this wild rice salad however, you want only wild rice, not a blend.

Wild rice is gluten-free.

Ingredients To Make This Wild Rice Recipe

All the ingredients to make this wild rice recipe including wild rice, cashews, dried cranberries, lemon, kale, and more.
  • Garlic
  • Tahini
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Dried arbol chiles
  • Raw whole cashews
  • Wild rice
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Dried cranberries
  • Edible flowers for garnish, optional

How To Make It (Step-by-Step Instructions)

step one

Make the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a bit more hot water if it is too thick. Taste and add more lemon juice, honey, or salt as needed.

Tahini dressing in a blender. The lid is removed from the blender and sitting to one side. The knife is on the other side.

step two

Fry the cashews. Heat oil in a small frying pan and add the cashews and chiles. Cook, stirring frequently, until the nuts are fragrant and starting to turn a darker shade of brown. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with salt, and let cool. Stir every once in a while as they cool to prevent from burning. If they are getting too dark, remove from the pan to a plate.

Chopped cashews in a small black frying pan with whole, dried red chiles sitting on a white counter top.

step three

Cook wild rice. Pour 4-5 cups water into a large saucepan. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add rice and simmer by reducing heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked, tender, but not falling apart or mushy.

Wild rice being cooked in a stainless steel saucepan with a wood spoon holding  a few of the cooked kernels over the water.

step four

Roast the carrots. Heat oven to 425°F. Toss carrots in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your carrots but should take somewhere between 20-30 minutes.

A baking sheet with roasted carrots on it coated in oil and sprinkled with salt sitting on a white counter.

step five

Toss and serve. Place kale in a large bowl add dressing and even though it is messy, rub dressing into the kale, massaging it with your hands. This is the best way to soften it a bit and get it well coated. Add the wild rice and carrots and toss all together. Transfer to a platter or plates and top with the cashews and dried cranberries. Sprinkle edible flowers (if using) and a bit more salt over the top and serve.

A golden platter topped with kale salad made with roasted cashews, wild rice, roasted carrots, and sprinkled with flowers.

Serving Suggestions

This wild rice recipe makes an excellent vegan main course dinner or lunch but you can also serve it as a side dish with:

What Make This The Best Wild Rice Recipe?

A gold platter filled with kale salad made with wild rice, roasted carrots, cashews, edible flower petals, and dried cranberries.
  1. I will admit, this wild rice recipe is kind of crazy involved for a salad but it is so worth it. I’ve made it at least 5 times and never regretted the time it takes to make it.
  2. The texture on this salad is incredible. It is chewy, crunchy, and tender all at once.
  3. This salad bridges the gap between the seasons. Roasted carrots and kale are decidedly wintery and the lemony tahini dressing beckons spring, perfect for the lesser salad seasons.

Wild Rice Recipe FAQ’s

Can I make the wild rice in the Instant Pot? Sure! Combine the 1 1/4 cups of wild rice with 1 3/4 cups water. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 10 minutes.

More Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love!

Meet Your New Favorite Wild Rice Recipe

If you’ve never had wild rice before or have been less than impressed, you’ve got to give this wild rice recipe a try. It will be a game changer, I promise. When you do, take a pic and let me know by tagging me on Instagram @katesbestrecipes  so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) !

Kale, Chile Cashew, and Wild Rice Recipe

A flavorful, hearty side dish with chewy wild rice, dried cranberries, sweet roasted carrots, torn kale, and chile-fried cashews tossed in a honey-tahini dressing.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 157kcal

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the cashews:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 small dried chiles such as arbol chiles
  • cup raw cashews roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt for seasoning

For the salad:

  • 8 ounces 1 1/4 cups dry wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 pound about 4 medium carrots peeled, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cut any thick carrots in half lengthwise.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  • Blend the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender, puree together until smooth. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice, or honey as needed. The dressing will be thick, that's okay.
  • Fry the cashews. Heat oil and chiles in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat. Once chiles start to sizzle, add nuts and cook, stirring frequently until they are dark golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt and let cool.
  • Cook the wild rice. Bring a large saucepan of salted water toa a boil. Add rice and simmer until tender, but not falling apart, about 30 minutes. Drain, return to the pot, cover and keep warm.
  • Roast the carrots. Heat oven to 425°F. Place carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with the tablespoon of oil and season with salt. Toss to coat in the oil and arrange in a single layer. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Toss with the dressing. Place kale, wild rice, and roasted carrots in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Arrange on a platter and garnish with dried cranberries and chile cashews.

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