Nutty wild rice, tender chicken, grapes and almonds combined in a light lemony dressing, this wild rice chicken salad is easy to make and perfect for lunch or a light dinner.
I first had chicken and wild rice salad in Minnesota when we lived there for several years. It was a staple in the deli counter of a couple of the high end grocery stores in the Twin Cities. This is the recipe a local gave me many years ago for this delicious chicken and grape wild rice salad.
WHAT EXACTLY IS WILD RICE?
Wild rice is actually the seed of an aquatic grass species. It’s not rice, nor is it a grain. It’s called rice because it looks and cooks like rice. It grows abundantly and is cultivated in the Northern Great Lakes region and Canada.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED
- Wild rice, of course!
- Cooked and cubed chicken (poached, roasted, leftover or even a rotisserie chicken will work)
- Mayonnaise, milk and lemon juice
- Green onions and water chestnuts
- Grapes and slivered almonds
HOW TO MAKE IT, STEP BY STEP
Step 1: Cook the rice until tender, cut cooked chicken into bite-sized cubes.
Step 2: Make the dressing and combine with the rice, chicken and water chestnuts. Chill for a few hours.
Step 3: Just before serving, add the grapes and toasted almonds, toss gently to combine.
RECIPE NOTES AND TIPS
- Cook the wild rice to your liking, I like it a little firm to the bite, but you can cook it until it’s as tender as you like.
- I like to roast skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts in the oven for this recipe. Just rub a little olive oil on top, salt and pepper, and bake at 350º until done. Cool, then remove the skin and bones. Tender, juicy chicken every time.
- Toast the almond slivers before mixing in the salad for the best flavor and crunch. Spread on a baking sheet and toast 7 to 8 minutes in 350º oven.
- You can use red or green grapes, I prefer red for the color.
- The salad needs to chill for at least a couple of hours or longer for the flavors to meld and the dressing to thicken slightly. Then add the grapes and almonds just before serving.
- Serve the salad over lettuce for a pretty presentation. I mound it over mixed baby greens, bibb or butter lettuce leaves.
This chicken and wild rice salad with crunchy grapes, almonds and water chestnuts is always a huge hit. My vegan-ish daughter used to request it without the chicken, that’s how much she loved it! It’s a great dish for a crowd or potluck, too. Enjoy! Kelly🍴🐦
Wild Rice Chicken Salad
- ¾ cup uncooked wild rice
- 2¼ cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ⅔ cup milk whole or lowfat
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice from 2 to 3 lemons
- ½ cup chopped green onions white and pale green parts
- 2½ cups cooked cubed chicken or turkey
- 1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ pound seedless red or green grapes, halved
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- Rinse wild rice under cold water, place in medium saucepan with water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 30 - 45 minutes (up to an hour). Drain and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice and green onion until well combined. Add the wild rice, chicken, water chestnuts and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, add the halved grapes and toasted almond slivers, gently toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve on lettuce and enjoy!
- I bake skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts in the oven rubbed with a little olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Depending on size, about 35 to 45 minutes, at 350º until done. Let cool, discard skin and bones and cube.
- Toast the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350º for 7 to 8 minutes.
- You can also use turkey instead of chicken, if desired.