Winter Kale & Wild Rice Salad
If you’re a Utah native, you’ve likely spent many a lunch meeting or dinner date at one of the most popular locales, Cubby’s. Each time I go, I found myself ordering the same salad, chock-full of ingredients that would have made me shudder just one year ago, like kale, cranberries, and wild rice.
Now, I’m a fiend. Their famous kale and wild rice salad has long been my go-to, but since they just hiked up their prices the other day (!), I have officially decided to transfer my favorite salad to my own pantry. Not as fun as being waited on, but for sure the cheaper option.
This salad is ridiculously easy to make (and, oddly enough, not too messy). And, while the original recipe comes with chicken, that’s one thing we don’t consume. However, if there’s anything I know, it’s that goat cheese completes the salad. And a lot of it. So I either make two batches for my husband and I (one with goat cheese, and one without), or we just go hard on the goat cheese.
I originally found this copycat recipe from Meaningful Eats, but I’ve changed up the recipe and process in order to make it what I absolutely love, while still tasting dead-on accurate.
1 bunch kale, sliced extremely thin (one full bag from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 - 1 Lime, juiced
1 cup cooked sprouted / brown / jasmine rice
3 TBS of Everything Season (Trader Joe’s or Costco)
1 apple, diced into thin, small pieces
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
3-5 oz goat cheese, chopped and crumbled (available in small packages)
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 shallot, minced (or 1/3 of a medium red onion, minced)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp maple syrup
Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender. Pulse very briefly, just enough to further chop up the red onion pieces and garlic, and mix oil and balsamic. If you prefer to forgo a blender, place all ingredients in a lidded jar, screw on the lid, then shake well to thoroughly mix.
Cook the rice according to package directions, and then put it in the refrigerator to cool. Once at a basic room temperature (or close to), put in Everything Seasoning (many stores have variations of this, although I love Trader Joe’s variation here, and I just recently bought a bulk size from Amazon for $12 that makes all my other seasonings taste bad – see it here.)
While the rice is cooling, chop the kale into tiny pieces (this allows it to mix better with the rice, packing each bite with a punch). Place the kale into a large bowl and juice 1/2 lime over the greens. Massage with your hands or mix with a spoon until the kale begins to darken and become softer.
Add all remaining salad ingredients (besides the goat cheese) once the rice is at an even temperature, and toss together with about 1/2 of the dressing. Once it is fully tossed, add the goat cheese and remaining salad dressing, then toss further until the goat cheese is evenly distributed.✽
✽ If you prefer to keep your salad for 2-3 days in the fridge, refrain from topping it with goat cheese and dressing until you sit down to eat.