Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad

Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad

Asparagus is one of the first tastes of spring in Ontario, and the season for fresh local asparagus is right around the corner. But I can never properly wait for the local growings to arrive — as soon as the weather warms up, I'm reminded of this sweet, tender full-flavored delicacy. Fortunately a nearby store has top quality and astoundingly fresh imported produce all year round — it may be cheating a bit, but who's going to be upset about that?

This simple-to-prepare wild rice and asparagus salad is something that I make every year. The earthy flavors of the wild rice, lentils and mushrooms are accented perfectly by the sweet and crisp asparagus and the tart warmth of a balsamic vinegar dressing. For the vegans in the audience, simply leave out the Parmesan cheese.

Wild Rice and Asparagus SaladWild Rice and Asparagus Salad
Recipe by
Published on April 28, 2007

Simple cooked salad with earthy wild rice, lentils and mushrooms, sweet fresh asparagus and a tart balsamic vinegar dressing

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

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  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb (450 g) white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bunch (1 lb or 450 g) asparagus
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Rinse the wild rice and combine with 8 cups of water and the bay leaf in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Rinse the lentils and add to the rice. Continue to simmer for another 25 minutes or until the rice and the lentils are tender but not overcooked. Remove from heat, drain, and let cool in a large bowl.

  • Asparagus
    Snap off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus, then snap off the tips. Cut the rest of the stalks into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces and slice the pieces lengthwise into thin slivers. Set the asparagus tips and slivers aside.

  • Add the mushrooms, onions and 3/4 cups of water to a large frying pan, wok or saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often. When the pan is filled with liquid, add the celery seed, ground fenugreek if using, and salt. Continue to stir until the liquid is completely evaporated and bits of the mushrooms and onions begin to stick on the bottom. At this point, stir constantly to loosen the mushrooms and onions from the pan until they begin to brown all over. Remove from heat and add to the rice and lentils.

  • Mushrooms
    Return the pan to the heat and add 1/4 cup of water and the asparagus. Cook for a few minutes, tossing the asparagus around with a spoon to give all the pieces a bath in the hot water, until the pieces just begin to soften. Remove from heat and add to the salad.

  • Add the oil and vinegar and toss the salad gently but thoroughly. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and serve at room temperature or cold.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


Reg said...

If we weren't mortal cooking enemies Lisa we would be best friends...

Lisa Turner said...

If it weren't for you, and your rude smackdowns, hiccups would cease along with hairy backs and extra pounds.

Lisa Turner said...

I love you Reg!

Reg said...

Hiccups are for girls. As for belching, that sport is the sole domain of men.

I'm seriously thinking of having the name 'Lisa' shaved on my back. You know like the VW symbol.

Mr. Schnabel said...

Dave must be the best fed man on earth! - I'm Jealous.

Anonymous said...

*Urp* I prefer to think I am doing an essential service by testing quality control around here. So far, so good!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I'm late to the table on this, but I tried this recipe last night and it's another winner in my books. Even the hard core meat and potato farmers at my table took second helpings. The celery seed gave a surprising kick.