Imagine being gluten-free at Thanksgiving. It can feel daunting. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be offering plenty of recipes so that you can feed your gluten-free family or friends. But imagine being gluten-free, dairy-free, and not interested in eating meat on Thanksgiving.
This wild rice salad, the first version of which appeared on our website in 2009, is so full of flavor that you won’t ever think of it as “vegan” or “special food” or “healthy.” It’s just good food, warm and filling on a cold November day. The wild rice clings to the chanterelles, which bounce back against the fork, and the sour cherries add a sweet bite. If you’re the kind of family that likes a wild rice stuffing for Thanksgiving? This could be yours.
Wild Rice Salad
2 cups wild rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh chanterelle mushrooms (you can use any mushrooms you like)
1/4 cup fine-diced shallots
1/2 dried sour cherries
1 tablespoon fine-diced tarragon
1 cup toasted cashews
Cooking the wild rice. Put the wild rice into a large saucepan and cover with 6 cups hot water. Add the salt and stir. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the rice, covered, until the rice is tender to the teeth, about 45 to 50 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Cooking the mushrooms. Set a large skillet over high heat. Let the pan grow really hot, hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on it. Add the oil. When it swirls in the pan, toss in the chanterelles and cook, stirring, for a few moments. Add the shallots and cook them both, stirring. When the chanterelles are soft and shrunk in size a bit, toss in the tarragon and cook until it releases its fragrance, about 1 minute. Add the cherries and toasted cashews. Cook for a moment, stirring. Add the wild rice and cook until it is heated through.
Serve the salad warm.
We didn’t need vinaigrette with this. However, if you find you want a bit more bite, we suggest a lemon vinaigrette with this salad.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 t salt
2 ounces fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
about 3/4 cup water
Cover the cashews with water and let them soak overnight.
In the morning, drain the water from the softened cashews. Put them into a food processor, along with the salt and lemon juice. (We liked this lemony. If you want to mask the taste more, use less lemon juice.) Twirl it all up, pouring in the fresh water until the “cream” has reached your desired consistency. Refrigerate it for a few hours to let it thicken even more.
You can make the cashew cream up to three days in advance. It does thicken the longer it stays in the refrigerator so be aware of that. At first, it’s thick but pourable. This is when use it anywhere you might use heavy cream. As it thickens, it becomes more like the consistency of sour cream, which is how we use it here.
You can find more of Shauna and Danny’s recipes, essays, photographs and words of comfort about living gluten-free at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Shauna shares food ideas and answers questions on Twitter. She also pins photographs and recipes on Pinterest and Foodily. There’s a great community at the Facebook fan page for Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.