My Italian Vegetable Wild Rice Salad is full of protein, vegetables and whole grains–it’s a perfect meal for any occasion. Bonus: It can be made ahead too!
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WHY WE LOVE THIS ITALIAN VEGETABLE WILD RICE SALAD
If you’ve been around awhile, you know it’s no secret that I love any recipe that I can make ahead. I especially like pasta or rice salads like this Italian Vegetable Wild Rice Salad because it is SUPPOSED to be made ahead so that the flavors have time to blend.
And it’s so awesome at the end of a long day to know dinner is done! Prepared salad like this also perfect for bringing to a potluck or making for company so that you can spend more time visiting with friends and family. A couple of other family favorites are my Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad or Simple Ham and Broccoli Pasta Salad.
I remember I first had a cold rice salad at a local restaurant chain called Souper Salad. I LOV1200ED it and loaded up whenever we’d go out to eat there.
I don’t even really remember what all was included in that salad. But I do remember it was made with wild rice and it got me hooked on cold rice salads from then on.
I found this recipe for Italian Wild Rice Salad in one of those church cookbooks where members contribute their tried and true family favorite recipes. I tweaked it a bit by adding some extra vegetables and it’s oh, so yummy!
I also contributed this recipe to the Produce for Kids’ Healthy Family Classics Cookbook. It’s filled with lots of family favorites bursting with produce! I know I can sure use all the help I can get with recipe ideas to include more fruits and vegetables.
I hope you love this salad as much as we do!
HOW TO MAKE THIS SALAD
What goes into this Italian Wild Rice Salad?
Lemon Juice – Fresh squeezed or the kind from the bottle. Either will work. We have a lemon tree, so pretty much always have some lemon juice cubes in the freezer to use in recipes.
Red Wine Vinegar – Sounds fancy, but it’s easy to find in the condiments aisle of your grocery store. I usually buy the store brand to save some money!
Fresh Parsley – Did you know you can chop up extra parsley and store it in the freezer to throw into other recipes like soups? So easy!
Salt and Black Pepper
Olive Oil – I like to buy the store brand or olive oil from ALDI. Always looking for ways to save money and the quality is usually just great!
Wild Rice – I have started buying our wild rice in bulk. Most of our local stores have bulk food sections and I can buy just what I need and sometimes it’s even less expensive per pound than the prepackaged varieties.
Cooked Ham – You can buy this in bulk in the prepared meats section of your grocery store (like where you’d find sliced deli meat or hot dogs). When it’s in a solid piece, it’s easier to dice into just what I need for recipes. I have also bought it from the deli counter—I just ask them to slice it on the largest setting available.
Pepperoni – we usually choose the turkey pepperoni as it’s a little healthier and tastes just the same to us!
Purple Onion – a milder tasting onion.
Yellow and Green Bell Peppers – Check for the yellow peppers to go on sale! They are generally a bit more expensive than the green bell peppers.
Cucumber – if you don’t like the seeds in your cucumber, slice it lengthwise then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then dice it for the recipe.
What are the steps for making Italian Vegetable Wild Rice Salad?
Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you! Once you measure everything out, it really does come together quickly.
I love to make this in my Pyrex bowls. They are pretty enough to serve the salad in but also come with lids so that I can let it chill in the refrigerator.
Then when it comes time to serve—or transport to a potluck event—all I need to do is pull out the bowl, remove the lid, add a serving spoon and I’m good to go. I use this bowl set ALL the time! I got mine at Costco but you can also find it on Amazon.
ITALIAN VEGETABLE WILD RICE SALAD
Can you prepare this salad ahead of time?
Sure thing! As a matter of fact, you SHOULD prepare it ahead of time so that when chilling, the flavors have time to blend making it a tastier salad.
Can you freeze this salad?
Not entirely but yes, a little bit! While you can’t freeze the prepared salad because it will change the quality of the fresh vegetables, you can freeze some of the ingredients. You can make the wild rice ahead of time and freeze it in a labeled airtight container. (Just like this Cilantro Lime Rice, too).
You can also freeze the cubed ham (again, in labeled freezer safe containers). Pepperoni slices also freeze really well!
Just let the frozen rice, ham or pepperoni thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
By the way, I love these reusable freezer labels. They don’t fall off in the freezer, survive a run through the dishwasher and can be used hundreds of times.
LOOKING FOR MORE HEALTHY FAMILY FAVORITE RECIPES?
Earlier, I mentioned that this recipe is included in the Healthy Family Classics Cookbook. In it you’ll find a collection of easy recipes, created by moms, food bloggers and registered dietitians, that make eating healthy a breeze. Sprinkled throughout the book are tips on involving kids in the recipe process. There are so many delicious recipes like the Hidden Veggie Aisan Turkey Meatballs, Broccoli Apple Slaw, Baked Avocado Fries (yum!) and Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Cookies. What’s extra great about these recipes is not only do they taste good and are family friendly, you can feel good knowing that your families will be enjoying good-for-them foods too.
And for every book purchased, 100% of proceeds will go back to help end child hunger through Feeding America’s children’s programs. I LOVE this and am so happy to be part of a project that helps others.
I mentioned earlier I’m a big fan of rice salads. I like branching out to try different types of rice too and a few recipes from some of my blogger friends caught my eye. I thought you might like to try them too like this Asian Black Rice Salad with Ginger Orange Dressing or Fall Wild Rice Salad with Acorn Squash or this Shrimp and Rice Salad. Rice salads are fun way to mix things up from the usual make ahead salads like pasta salads.
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Italian Vegetable Wild Rice Salad
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cups wild rice cooked and cooled
- 1 cup cooked ham diced
- 4 ounces pepperoni chopped
- ½ cup purple onion chopped
- ½ cup yellow bell pepper chopped
- ½ cup green bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup cucumber peeled and chopped
- In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, red wine vinegar, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil. Set aside.
- In large bowl, combine rice, ham, pepperoni, onion, peppers and cucumber.
- Stir gently to mix.
- Chill for at least one hour before serving, up to 8 hours.
- Just before serving, mix in dressing.
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