This beautiful vegan wild rice salad is crammed with festive flavours of cranberries, pecans and allspice. It tastes delicious, feeds a crowd and is supremely easy to make (with no prepping or chopping)! The perfect celebratory dish for all your holiday entertaining or to take to a party as a vegan and gluten-free potluck dish!
This vegan wild rice and cranberry salad has become a firm favourite and will no doubt feature in my holiday cooking every Christmas! I was going to a few Christmas parties and wanted to develop a good vegan and gluten-free potluck dish to take to each party.
I wanted something that I could make a big batch of, looked pretty and festive, appealed to meat eaters and non-meaters alike, and didn’t take too long to prepare. No short order! I also needed it to be a complete meal (with protein and carbohydrate) so that if there was nothing else vegan and gluten-free that I could eat, there would be enough to fill me up!
Once I perfected this vegan wild rice salad recipe, I took it with me and was delighted that it was a big hit. Even the meat-eaters at the party loved it and couldn’t believe it was vegan! It helps that it looks celebratory and festive and has a lovely warming comforting flavour too. So, now we have the perfect potluck party dish to be made on repeat every year!
- Wild Rice blend – there are plenty of wild rice blends available that are usually a mixture of wild rice and different types of brown rice. I love the wild rice blend in this salad as it has a nutty bite and it looks so interesting! You can of course substitute for plain brown rice if you have some leftover in the fridge!
- Tinned Lentils – I love beluga lentils for this salad because they are little and nutty so they go well with the other ingredients. Puy lentils would also be a good substitute. Avoid using the other types of lentils (red, green, brown) which would be a bit too big and mushy. You can leave the lentils out altogether if you don’t like them!
- Dried Cranberries – I like to use dried cranberries for this wild rice salad but if they’re not your thing, you could substitute for other dried fruits or leave them out and use more pomegranate seeds instead.
- Nuts – pecans and almond flakes. You could use whichever nuts you like best (or have in your cupboards). I also love pistachios in this salad. Macadamias or walnuts would work well too.
- Rocket (arugula) – this adds a flash of green to brighten up the brown colours in the salad, and a few dark leafy green vitamins and minerals too! You could swap to baby spinach or baby kale instead if you prefer.
- Pomegranate Seeds (for garnish) - these just look so pretty sprinkled on top of the salad. They add a burst of fresh fruity flavour and a delightful jewelled bright colour! You can leave them out if you like since there are enough flavours going on without it.
- Extra virgin olive oil – for salad dressings, use a good quality extra virgin olive oil (and keep the more refined olive oils for cooking instead).
- Pomegranate Molasses – I just love the sweet and sharp flavours of pomegranate molasses in this dressing. However, if you don’t have any, you could substitute with balsamic vinegar instead.
- Lime Juice – you could also use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- Flavourings – salt, garlic powder, allspice, ground ginger, cayenne. The wonderful festive Christmassy flavour of this salad comes mainly from the use of allspice which adds a flavour reminiscent of stuffing and makes this wild rice salad so devilishly moreish!
Please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
This couldn’t be simpler to prepare.
- Cook the wild rice according to the packet instructions (or use leftover cooked rice from the fridge).
- Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- Mix all the ingredients together and serve!
As I have already mentioned, this was developed for taking to parties and serving alongside other dishes when entertaining. However, it would also make a delicious lunch served with a fresh green salad and perhaps some roasted red peppers and some gluten-free bread.
Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The rocket will start to wilt but it will still taste fine.
Vegan Wild Rice Salad FAQs
This is a great salad to make ahead and store in the fridge until needed. However, keep the rocket (arugula) separate and mix in just before serving so that it doesn’t wilt.
I love having a tub of this salad in the fridge to use for weekday lunches at my desk! It is very portable so would be great in a lunchbox to take to work. You can also stir fry it with some crispy tofu and gravy for a different take on it.
It is best to follow the packet instructions as all blends of wild rice are slightly different. I cook it in a big pot of water for about 35 minutes and then drain in a colander. I do my rice this way so that you can drain off the traces of arsenic found in rice.
Other Great Vegan Salad Recipes
If you like this recipe, you may like these other delicious vegan and gluten-free salad recipes too:
Recipe Card 📖
Vegan Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
- 180 g wild rice blend (490g/1 cup cooked wild rice)
- 75 g tinned beluga lentils (or puy lentils) drained
- 75 g dried cranberries
- 40 g pecans (or pistachios)
- 25 g almond flakes (slivered almonds)
- 35 g rocket (arugula)
- a handful pomegranate seeds
- a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley (chopped small)
- Cook the wild rice according to the packet instructions (35-40 minutes in a big pan of salted boiling water and then drain).180 g wild rice blend (490g/1 cup cooked wild rice)
- Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together or shaking vigorously in a jar.3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp lime juice, ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses, ½ tsp ground allspice, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- Toast the pecans and almond flakes by heating each in a dry pan for a few minutes, shaking frequently and watching like a hawk to make sure they don’t burn. (Do the pecans first then the almond flakes rather than all together!).40 g pecans (or pistachios), 25 g almond flakes (slivered almonds)
- Mix all the ingredients together with the dressing. Serve with some parsley and pomegranate seeds scattered on top.75 g tinned beluga lentils (or puy lentils), 75 g dried cranberries, a handful pomegranate seeds, a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley (chopped small), 35 g rocket (arugula)
- If making ahead, don’t add the rocket until you are ready to serve.
- The salad (without the rocket) will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge and the flavours develop over time!
- Feel free to leave out the lentils if you don’t like them, or substitute for puy lentils.
I’d love to know how you get on with this vegan wild rice salad recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and please give it a star rating too! Thank you!