Rice is rice, right? (Hmmm…say that three times fast!) Well, maybe not - at least not when it comes to wild rice. Contrary to the name, wild rice is not a member of the rice family at all. It belongs to a group of grasses that are native to North America. But, like rice, it grows in water; specifically, the shallow waters and gentle streams of fresh-water lakes found mainly around the Great Lakes. Much of the wild rice available these days is actually cultivated rather than harvested from growing wild. Considered a whole grain, wild rice has a nutty, earthy flavor and a rice-like shape. One cup of cooked wild rice contains just 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat or cholesterol, only 5 mg of sodium, 3 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. It delivers important B vitamins and minerals, namely magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. And just like rice, it's gluten free. Wild rice is perfect for pilafs, salads, soups and stuffing. But it doesn't end there. I love it in pancakes, muffins and bread too! To begin, cook up a batch and keep it on hand. Here's your basic recipe:
Basic Wild Rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup thoroughly washed wild rice
- Throw a handful into a slow simmering soup or stew. Add more liquid if needed. Try this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup With Mushrooms.
- Serve topped with stir-fried veggies
- Stir half cup cooked wild rice in your favorite muffin recipe. Great with nuts and raisins!
- Mix with dried cherries, blue or feta cheese and sprinkle over salad greens.
- Try it on its own as a salad with added fruit, chopped veggies, and a light vinaigrette dressing. Here's a Wild Rice Salad with Oranges and Currants and another Wild Rice Salad with Pecans and Cranberries.
- Enjoy as a hearty breakfast cereal - try it with milk, non-dairy milk, maple syrup and pecans or walnuts, or add to hot oatmeal
- Stuff it into baked squash or pumpkin like in this Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins.
- Try it as a replacement for a stuffing dish
- Use it just about anywhere you use brown rice
- Cook together with brown rice. Try this Brown and Wild Rice with Herbs and Garlic.
- Cook separately but add to other cooked grains such as millet, quinoa, different varieties of brown rice and white Basmati rice
- Make it as a side dish with sautéed onions and slivered toasted almonds. Try this Wild and Brown Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms.
- Stuff it in a chicken - be sure to cook until fully done!
- Try it with sautéed apples and pork chops
- Here's a great way to use leftover turkey in this Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole.
- I also enjoy the Arrowhead Mills Wild Rice Pancake and Waffle mix. You may want to give it a try too.