Wild Rice Is More Than Just a Grain: Here’s What You Need to Know.


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Wild Rice Is More Than Just a Grain: Here’s What You Need to Know.

July 25, 2023
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Wild Rice Is More Than Just a Grain: Here’s What You Need to Know.

When it comes to healthy eating, we often hear about the benefits of incorporating whole grains into our diets. And while staples like quinoa and brown rice have gained popularity in recent years, there’s another grain that often gets overlooked: wild rice. But did you know that this type of rice is more than just a grain? Packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and a unique flavor profile, this ancient grain is a versatile and delicious addition to any meal.

Plus, we’re sharing our recipe for Fruit & Nut-Filled Wild Rice Salad – a recipe you’re sure to love!

Nutritional benefits of California Wild Rice

This ancient grain is not only delicious, but it is also packed with essential nutrients. It’s a great source of complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy and it helps regulate blood sugar levels. It is also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes a healthy gut.

Different types of wild rice

There are several different varieties of wild rice, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common types are true wild rice and cultivated wild rice. True wild rice is the original grain that grows naturally in the wild, while cultivated wild rice is grown and harvested on farms. Both types have a similar nutty flavor and chewy texture, making them perfect for a variety of dishes.

Where to buy this grain and how to store it

California wild rice can be found in most grocery stores, health food stores, or online retailers. Look for packages that indicate the source and quality of the rice. It’s important to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard. Proper storage will help maintain its freshness and prevent it from going rancid. If stored correctly, this grain can last for up to a year.

Incorporating this ancient grain into your diet

This delicious grain can be used as a base for salads, soups, and stir-fries, adding a unique texture and flavor to your dishes. You can also use it as a stuffing for vegetables or as a side dish to accompany your favorite meal. One of our favorite ways to dish up this grain is in a delectable fruit and nut-filled salad.

Ingredients Needed to Make A Fruit & Nut-Filled Wild Rice Salad

A word about vinegar: We recently visited Temecula, California where we met the founders of Temecula Olive Oil Company for a tasting at Olive View Ranch. The team fell in love with their Vanilla & Date Balsamico Vinegar which is perfection in this salad. However, this salad is also delicious with white balsamic, raspberry vinegar, or even champagne vinegar.

A word about dried apricots: You may notice that the dried apricots pictured above are much larger than you typically see in the store. This variety of apricot is called a Blenheim apricot. These dried apricots from Fairhaven Orchards in Hollister, California stole our hearts last year when we tried them at an event held by the Farm Bureau. You can use any variety of dried apricot in this salad or you can also substitute with another dried fruit of your liking.

This recipe is incredibly easy to make and jam-packed with layers of flavor that will keep you coming back for more!

If you’re looking for more recipe inspiration, here are some delicious recipes to try next!

Cool Wild Rice Salad

This cold salad from California Ripe Olives is loaded with flavor thanks to the addition of artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, olives, and feta cheese.

Cool Wild Rice Salad
Close up of a bowl of Pistachio Wild Rice Pudding topped with fresh raspberries and toasted almonds. This easy recipe for rice pudding is simple to make and good for you too.

Pistachio Wild Rice Pudding

This easy recipe for rice pudding is made with creamy homemade pistachio milk and wild rice. Free of refined sugars, this rice pudding has a flavor profile that is pleasantly nutty and rich without being cloyingly sweet! Because this recipe is perfect for breakfast or dessert, this protein-packed, plant-based rice pudding is the perfect addition to your next meal prep menu.

Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers

Add this Easy Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe to your meal plan this week! You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand with this technique, but this is one of our favorites. This recipe is brimming with big, bold flavors thanks to the hot Italian sausage, wild rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and red wine!

Stuffed Bell Peppers with wild and sweet rice. Sweet rice is grown only in california


Craving more CA Grown goodness? Follow us on Pinterest for fresh and fabulous recipe inspiration!

A serving dish with leafy greens and Fruit and Nut-Filled Wild Rice Salad

Fruit & Nut-Filled Wild Rice Salad

Meg van der Kruik
This simple salad is easy to make and completely customizable which makes it a superstar side dish that you can serve at any meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Marinating time 30 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 202 kcal


  • 1 cup long-grain wild rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 navel oranges zest removed from one of the oranges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla & Date Balsamic Vinegar You could also substitute white balsamic vinegar, raspberry, or another fruit-forward vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup seedless green grapes cut in half
  • 1/2 cup walnuts toasted
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons scallions white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head of butter lettuce


  • Place the wild rice in a medium pot with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, until the rice is very tender. Drain well and place the rice back in the pot. Cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes. While the rice is still warm, place it in a mixing bowl.
  • Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Cut the orange into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the rice. Add the zest of 1 orange, olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, grape halves, walnuts, apricots, scallions,1/2 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Taste for seasonings and serve at room temperature.


This salad will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
This recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Wild Rice Salad


Calories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 388mgFiber: 3gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1449IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg
Keyword date vinegar, dried apricot, grape salad, green grapes, olive oil, wild rice
Tried this recipe?Mention @cagrownofficial or tag #CAGROWN!

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ina garten wild rice salad recipe

Love Wild Rice Salad? We do too – we took inspo from Ina Garten’s internet-famous version!

Get Ina Garten’s famous Wild Rice Salad recipe via the Food Network website. We recommend a side-by-side taste test of our recipe and hers!

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