Wild Rice Salad with Chicken and Grapes is perfect salad for pot lucks and picnics. Chunks of chicken, juicy grapes, crisp water chestnuts, chewy wild rice and salty cashews are all brought together by a light and flavorful dressing.
I love wild rice! It’s chewy, nutty and hearty. It’s also very versatile and is great in salads like this recipe, as well as in soups and hot dishes (a.k.a. casseroles). This wild rice salad with chicken and grapes hits all the right notes, it’s savory, sweet, crunchy and salty. Chunks of chicken, juicy grapes, crisp water chestnuts, chewy wild rice and salty cashews all brought together by a light and flavorful dressing. It’s a perfect salad for pot lucks and picnics and is sure to become a family favorite.
As I mentioned in my How to Cook Wild Rice post, “wild” wild rice is actually a species of grass that grows in marshes and lakes in Minnesota and Canada. It’s traditionally harvested into canoes and roasted by Native American tribes the same way it has been for ages. Wild rice is now also farmed, and that’s usually what you’ll find in the grocery store.
The next time you see delicious looking grapes at the store, consider making this salad. You can use either red or green, although I prefer red here, they’re a little sweeter! The sweet grapes are delicious when paired with the slight bite from the Dijon mustard in the dressing, and the crunch water chestnuts and cashews.
For the chicken, I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but any cooked chicken works!
First you’ll want to make the wild rice. I usually do this the day before I make the salad so it has time to chill in the refrigerator overnight. You definitely don’t want hot rice for this cold salad!
To prep the rest of the ingredients you’ll cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and chop the water chestnuts and scallions. I also like to cut the grapes in half. This is totally optional, but I think it makes the salad easier to eat.
Finally you’ll stir together the ingredients for the dressing and mix everything together. Roasted cashews are a great addition to the salad, but don’t add them until you are going to serve. If you add them too soon, they’ll absorb some of the moisture from the dressing and get a little soft. You want them to keep their crunch!
This recipe will feed a crowd, but also keeps well for a few days if you want to have it all to yourself. I like to serve it simply with crackers or on a bed of lettuce. Give wild rice, and especially this wild rice salad with chicken and grapes a try, you’ll love it!
Wild Rice Salad with Chicken and Grapes
You will love the chewy, nutty flavor of wild rice. This salad is perfect for pot lucks and picnics and is sure to become a family favorite!
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock (or water)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups grapes, sliced in half. I like red grapes, but green grapes are good too
- 1 cup sliced, canned water chestnuts, drained and rough chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus sliced green tops to garnish the dish (or substitute diced red onion)
- 2 ½ – 3 cups cooked chicken, large diced. A roasted chicken from the grocery store works well.
- 1 cup mayo of choice, I used Best Foods Olive Oil Mayo
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon ground thyme. The ground thyme mixes into the dressing easier, but dried thyme leaves work too.
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 cup of rough chopped roasted, salted cashews
- sliced green onion or parsley
- Bring wild rice, stock and salt to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover. Cook approximately 60 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains have popped open. Grains should be chewy, but not mushy. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for an additional 15 minutes. Drain any excess liquid, then chill until the wild rice is cold, or make the day before and refrigerate overnight.
- Add the grapes, water chestnuts, green onions and diced chicken to a large mixing bowl. Add the cold wild rice and stir gently to combine ingredients.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Add to the salad ingredients and stir to combine. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
- Before serving, sprinkle 1 cup of rough chopped roasted, salted cashews on top of the salad. You can also sprinkle some parsley or sliced green onion on top for color.
You can substitute a ½ inch thick slice of smoked turkey from the deli for the chicken. Cube into large pieces. The smoked flavor goes well with the salad.
This salad is best if you let the flavors blend in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, but don’t add the cashews on top until you are about to serve. Serve on lettuce or with crackers.