Earth Day

Earth Day is a great time to cook with ingredients that come from the land in northern Minnesota. Pass up processed foods and prepare a meal from scratch. Locally harvested wild rice and honey are abundant and ground buffalo is fresh from a local ranch. These ingredients can be enhanced with organic foods purchased from the grocery store.
Knowing where food comes from and how it is grown or raised allows consumers to choose safe foods. Combining these foods with organic foods from the grocery store can safeguard you and your family’s health as well as protect the health of our earth and our environment.
Full of nutty wild rice and beans, Hearty Wild Rice Salad can be served at room temperature, making it the perfect dish to take to Spring potluck dinners and picnics under the sun. Once the wild rice is cooked, the salad quickly comes together with very little chopping involved. Seasoned with ground cumin and curry powder, this salad whispers a hint of Morocco.

Hearty Wild Rice Salad
1½ cups uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can small red beans, rinsed and drained
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
½ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup dried cranberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fill a large saucepan with 4½ cups of water. Add rice and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender, yet still a bit chewy. Drain any excess liquid. Rinse rice under cold water and drain well. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
Add chickpeas, beans, water chestnuts, green onions and dried cranberries to rice and toss to combine.
To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, cumin, curry powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and minced garlic. Gradually add the olive oil and whisk until blended.
Gradually pour dressing over rice mixture. Gently toss and continue to add dressing until all ingredients are lightly coated. If you have some dressing leftover, store it in the refrigerator in a jar.
Season salad with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. The salad can be made ahead of serving time and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature and toss before serving. Makes 6 large main dish servings.

Tips from the cook
Meat lovers can add chopped cooked ham, chicken or turkey to the salad.