I've gotten into the habit of keeping some sort of non-lettuce based salad in the fridge, so I have the option to make a smarter lunch or snack choices. While I do enjoy cooking, I don't feel like doing it all the time, so making a big batch of a salad like this, gets me through the lulls. The beauty of a grain salad is that you can pack it full of vegetables, even dress it, and it doesn't go soggy on you. Some days I mix my trusty grain salads in with some lettuce to bulk it up and get more greens. So handy.

The following isn't necessarily an earth shattering combination of asian flavors, but they are all things that hold up well for a few days. Wild rice does take a bit longer to cook than short grain rice, but I find the smoky, nutty flavor unique. The rice, which is actually edible grass, is packed with fiber and other vitamins and minerals. I typically reach for yellow miso, but recently picked up a jar of the white and am loving it's subtlety. You could substitute quinoa or millet or even serve the whole thing warm for dinner if that sounds more appealing. If tofu is not your thing, some shredded chicken or shrimp would be a nice alternative. Now that I've given you just about every option to alter the original, it's time for a bowl of goodness.

WILD RICE SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING // Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side
Inspired by the NY Times Recipes for Health

The following makes a decent portion, but if you want it to last you, I would double or triple the amounts. You could get away with less tofu, but increase the amounts of rice and vegetables to ensure leftovers.

1/2 cup wild rice (any rice works, timing will vary accordingly)

14 oz. block extra firm tofu
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
fresh ground pepper

1 heaping cup thinly sliced carrots
3/4 cup cooked, shelled, organic edamame
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Handful of Chopped Cilantro or Pea Sprouts

// Miso Dressing //

2 Tbsp. white miso
2 Tbsp. agave nectar or brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 shallot, minced
Juice of half an Orange

Rinse the wild rice. Bring two cups water to a boil. Add the rice, turn the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 35-40 minutes), adding a bit more water if necessary to finish cooking. You will see a tuft of white pop from the center.
Wrap the tofu between a few layers of paper towel or a dish cloth and set it aside to drain for 10-15 minutes. Cut it into a 1/2'' dice. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat (I love the crust I get in a seasoned cast iron pan). Add the tofu and saute for about five minutes. Sprinkle the soy sauce and a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top and saute another few minutes until the edges are browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together (Don't be tempted to add salt, miso is pretty salty).
In a large bowl, combine the rice, tofu, sliced carrots, edamame. Toss everything with the dressing. Add the sesame seeds and cilantro and give it another toss. Serve room temperature or chilled.

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Reader Comments (82)

just my flavour - dinner for tomorrow night - SORTED - thanks for sharing another beautiful inspiration!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfleur

This looks so delicious. I love wild rice (& I wish my husband felt the same) and the miso dressing is so versatile. I love the idea of keeping salads tucked away for when you need them. Making this for sure.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

I adore grain salads, too. I've been on quite the wild rice kick, but a reader sent me 2 pounds of farro, so we've been enjoying that as well. Thanks for the miso dressing idea-I've been looking for ways to incorporate it more into our diet.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDessertForTwo

My stepmother used to make a wild rice salad that was just awful, so I've been turned off by it for a while, but this might actually make me try it again! Looks yummy!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline @ Pink Basil

That picture of carrots is so. good.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermodernworkinggirl

This sounds absolutely fantastic! Yum!

I would definitely eat that anytime...perfect for keeping in the fridge as a snack!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMallory

I share the same habit, a staple of my diet. The colors of this salad are very inviting. I've yet to purchase miso, although I keep meaning to. Soon, hopefully... and then I'll need to replenish my wild rice stock as well...



January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterheather

I must make this right away! It will be my lunch for the next week.

By the way, a friend of mine came over yesterday and raved about your lentil meatballs/lemon pesto. I don't know why I haven't made it yet, but that's going to change very soon.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian @ A Thought For Food

That looks so good, I have always liked wild rice but never really know what to do with then. I can't wait to try out this recipe.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen @ Forgotten Fancies

It's so true Sara! Ever since I started working from home, grain style salads have had a major roll in my kitchen, just for their adaptability. This one is beautiful!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

What a beutiful colourful salad. This is perfect for me to make ahead of time for days when I know that getting a meal cooked is going to be a stretch. These are the days when I definitely need to have something wholesome on the ready otherwise the temptation to pick on what's not so good for me is too great.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna @ the shady pine


January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

That is a gorgeous salad, Sara! I've been meaning to hunt down some miso; I haven't tried it before but I've heard it is marvelous. Blogging and working from home means I'm always eating leftovers and I'd be happy to eat on this salad for days!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCookie and Kate

Looks delightful, I am always on the lookout for new lunch ideas

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrace

I love rice salads and this dressing is wonderful...great flavors and textures here!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMagic of Spice

oh I love all the colors in this! what a great salad!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimply Life

Oh delicious, Sara - this is going on my list for the weekend!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I've been eating a more diverse selection of rices and grains with the new year, and wild rice has definitely been on my mind. Looking forward to making this dish!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterla domestique

I've done the same lately, making big quinoa salads with grilled veges.. I might try this one next!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNatashia@foodonpaper

Mmm..... this looks divine, and just the type of dish I could eat weekly, slightly warmed and lush, spooning bite after bite happily into my belly. Lovely colors, healthy ingredients, texture, quality. What more do you need??

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

This looks lovely! I have always enjoyed a good grain salad from time to time, especially one that holds up for a couple of days. This would be great to make on a Sunday and then take to work all week. I love the bright colors and combinations of textures, I'll be sure and give this one a try!

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Hi Sara....I've been enjoying you blog for over a year now and had to comment to let you know how excited I am to try this out on my 6 year old...all his favorite ingredients! And I must share a funny story .... I spent the weekend in Del Mar at an AAML function and met your parents. Your mom and I went walking one day and she was telling me about you and your sister... she mentioned you were in the Travel and Leisure mag in the hotel room and when I went back and saw it I cracked up as I already know your blog! My stepdaughters follow you too. Can't wait to tell you mother at one of our next functions! Small world. Cheers, Penny

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPenny Herring

This looks delicious! I love the photo at the first of the post with the wild rice.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

I love the eye popping colors of this dish. It just makes me want to dive in and take a bite or two :)

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjackie @ marin mama cooks

That is so freaking pretty I just fainted 4 times in a row.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

What? You don't feel like cooking all the time Sara?? Lol. :) The salad is beautiful! We need those 'fillers' during those lulls of not cooking . You're saving me from getting into my habit of running out and getting something to go. Thank you for this recipe & ideas! Better for the body & wallet!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYumi

Sara, I don't know that tofu ever looked so good. The mix of flavors is absolutely gorgeous.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrance @ Beyond The Peel

Tofu and wild rice, what a great combination. The eye-popping colours are amazing, truly looks amazing!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Beautiful, and it looks delicious! I'm actually not clear on the difference between the types of miso - I think I buy a different one every time as I haven't developed any preferences.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

gorgeous! what a thoughtful combination and i love the vibrant colors :)

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Wonderful habit. I need to do this more often and this salad looks a great start.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise | Chez Danisse

Oh wow this is beautiful! And so fresh looking. I have been wanting to experiment with tofu!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterASHLEA

i just made this for dinner. so good! except i didn't have miso paste so i substituted 1 tbsp green curry paste which gave it a nice tangy flavor. great recipe!!

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdair

Oh my...This looks so delicious! Such a healthy afternoon snack.

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSini

I just made a farro salad last night with beets, clementines and almonds with lots of extra to grab for lunches this week. But this Asian-inspired rice salad sounds like it may be next up on my list!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Wow! I love your blog! I love healthy recipes and yours are really remarkable. Now following you.

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLayla A

Wow, this looks so yummy!

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina

Oh man. Well, I am doing another yoga retreat lunch next Saturday and had planned to make veg Bahn Mi sandwiches for everyone. I've been banging my head against a wall trying to come up with an accompaniment (besides a winter slaw and snap peas with sesame oil) and I would say this is it for sure, except I don't want to over-soy people. I'm totally hanging on this for another time. I love having leftovers like this around. Delicious Sara.

January 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana

i LOVE the look of this salad!

January 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBest Salads

This salad looks amazing! I love wild rice - and I adore miso! What a fantastic dressing - I bet the orange juice is wonderful with the miso. I'm so excited to make this.

January 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie@Cozydelicious

Wow, we made this yesterday with red rice and peas as a substitute and it was amazing! So tasty and very filling, I will definitely make this salad again! Thank you!

January 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSaskia

gah, this is GORGEOUS!!!! i do love a good miso dressing, am a sucker for fried tofu, and don't have enough wild rice in my life.

but it's the colors the gut-punched me. plus, i can almost taste it...

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermolly

Absolutely adore your pics, they are amazing.

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Migas

This was delicious! I just made it for my lunches for the week. Looking forward to them more now!

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

What is it about winter that makes rice bowls seem so delicious? Miso is popping up in recipes everywhere right now and I would really like to give it a try in my kitchen sometime. I'm going to give this one a try!

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTasha @Tashasdish

White miso, I haven't tried it. Thanks for the tip! As always, lovely photos.

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Easy to make and a feast for the eyes. Just ate mine for lunch. Delicious! Haven't used brown rice syrup in years. Looking forward to using it more often. Thanks for the recipe!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I always make wild rice with more Nordic/Eastern European flavors so thanks for convincing me to switch it up!

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraida mollenkamp

Gosh, I haven't done a miso dressing in a long time. I've been doing raw kale salads non-stop and loving them, but it's time to switch it up a bit. This is perfect, Sara. (Also, love the Pantry Goods idea...good stuff).

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Gordon

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