Arugula and Wild Rice Salad with Zippy Lemon Dressing

Have you ever included wild rice into a salad? I’m addicted! Chewy, nutty, and hearty describe wild rice. It gives wholesome green salads a solid foundation because of its high protein and B vitamin content.

With a lot of hearty arugula and flavorful additions like toasted almonds, creamy feta, dried sour cherries, and fresh basil, this salad is nutritious and full.

Years ago, I posted this recipe, but I’m afraid the pictures didn’t do it credit. You should really consider include this salad on your Thanksgiving menu. It might serve as both a filling for wild rice and a robust vegetarian dish. As the holidays draw near, it’s a fantastic, nutritious weekday choice (leftovers pack well for lunch).

I have a short narrative to share with you if you aren’t completely sold on the idea yet. My boyfriend originally turned down the salad because, in his opinion, arugula is too “peppery.” He took a look at it and then requested a mouthful. “This salad is extremely good,” someone then said. “Why is this so good? ” she asked after a few more nibbles. What is inside? Then, “This is fantastic. Are you able to prepare this for me on my birthday? Victory!!!

Tips for a Wild Rice and Arugula Salad

To prepare this salad ahead of time: The wild rice needs to be cooked previously, at the very least. You might also prepare the salad and whisk the dressing together (do not toss the salad with the dressing until you are ready to serve). For up to two days, keep any components covered in the refrigerator.

If you have an Instant Pot, you can use that to prepare the wild rice. It comes out fantastic, and it’s nice not to have to watch over the pot as it cooks. For more information, refer to the recipe notes (I created this wild rice salad from Megan’s The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and learnt how to cook wild rice in this manner).

Don’t forget to add the toasted almonds. This salad gets a ton of delicious savory flavor from toasting the almonds! Keep an eye on the almonds while they cook since they can burn rapidly.

Hand-crumble the feta. Instead of purchasing pre-crumbled feta (or goat cheese), I usually advise crumbling it with a fork before using. Pre-crumbled doesn’t taste nearly as delicious and is more expensive per ounce because it is covered in powder to prevent clumping. The only exception I’ve yet discovered to this rule is the Organic Valley crumbled feta.

The dish is simple to double if you’re serving a bigger group. It makes 4 medium-sized, robust salads as indicated, but it might be increased to make up to 8 side servings. Although the wilting of the arugula is pleasant, it does make the salad appear less substantial than it actually is.

Also read: Hearty Sweet Potato, Arugula & Wild Rice Salad with Ginger Dressing



  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces arugula (about 5 packed cups)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (from one ⅔ ounce container)
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries or cranberries, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (about 2 ounces)

Lemon dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon), to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. To cook the wild rice, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rinsed rice and continue boiling, reducing heat as necessary to prevent overflow, for 40 minutes to 55 minutes, until the rice is pleasantly tender but still offers a light resistance to the bite. Remove from heat, drain the rice and return the rice to pot. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and let the rice cool.
  2. To toast the almonds, warm one teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and a pinch of salt and cook until they’re turning lightly golden and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended.
  4. To assemble the salad, transfer the cooled rice to a large bowl. Add the arugula, chopped basil, almonds, sour cherries and feta. Pour in the dressing, toss well, and season to taste with additional salt (I usually add another pinch or two) and pepper. If the salad needs more fresh, bright flavor, add up to 1 tablespoon more lemon juice.
  5. Set the salad aside for 10 minutes before serving, to give the rice time to soak up some of the dressing. This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for two to three days. You might need to wake up leftovers with an extra drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon (the rice absorbs the dressing over time).