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Wild Rice Salad

Judith Dunbar-Hines prepares wild rice salad for Low-Mileage Kitchen column. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Judith Dunbar-Hines prepares wild rice salad for the Low-Mileage Kitchen column. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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½ cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1½ cups wild rice

3 cups water or broth

¼ cup pecans

2 pears, cored and chopped into ½-inch pieces

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

8 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup Basil Vinaigrette (below)

In a 3-quart saucepan, saute onion in 1 tablespoon oil until wilted. Add rice and stir to coat grains with oil. Add water and bring to a boil, then lower to gentle simmer and cover. Cook until grains are tender but not split, about 30 minutes.

While rice cooks, toast nuts in a dry skillet and set aside; prepare vinaigrette.

In a large skillet, heat second tablespoon of oil and toss pears and thyme until pear is just tender. Add spinach, tossing gently until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked rice and toss just until warmed through, then season with salt and pepper and drizzle the vinaigrette over it. Garnish with nuts just before serving.

Serve warm as a side dish or at room temperature as a salad.

Basil Vinaigrette


1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup olive

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until thick. Let stand 10 minutes to allow flavors to mellow before using. Can be stored in a tightly lidded jar in refrigerator for 1 week.

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