Pumpkin, Wild Rice, and Lemongrass Salad
Here is a salad full of dramatic contrasts. Sweet roasted pumpkin or squash wedges are enhanced by a tangy Asian-style lemongrass dressing, with wild rice providing a striking black color and chewy texture. Wild rice has to be dried and roasted before it’s edible and this process gives the grains their extra-deep nutty flavor and hue. It’s often sold mixed with regular long-grain rice, sometimes with the addition of gluten-containing flavorings, so check the details on the package for gluten content and cooking time. Toasted hazelnuts add a harmonizing element to finish.
- 1 1/4 cups wild rice
- 1 medium pumpkin or delicata squash, halved, seeds and membrane removed, peeled, and cut into wedges
- Peanut or vegetable oil, for drizzling
- 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 2 avocados, sliced
- A handful of mixed cilantro and flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons shoyu soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced red chile
- Salt, to taste
- Lime wedges
- Shiso leaves or other microgreens (optional)
Cook the wild rice according to the package instructions (usually simmered for about 45 minutes), then drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the pumpkin or squash wedges in a bowl, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Flip the wedges over and roast on the other side for 10 minutes or until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the lemongrass dressing in a bowl until well combined.
To serve, toss the roasted pumpkin or squash with the cooked wild rice, top with the toasted hazelnuts, avocado, and herbs, and drizzle with the lemongrass dressing. Serve warm with lime wedges for squeezing and shiso leaves, if you wish.
Reprinted with permission from “Feasts of Veg: Plant-Based Food for Gatherings” by Nina Olsson. Published by Kyle Books.