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

This gorgeous salad just happened to be created. I cobbled together the leftovers from my fridge when on the verge of a hangover: fresh arugula, cooked wild rice, baked sweet potato fries (because, why not? ), and ginger dressing.

I sprinkled some crumbled feta cheese on top and added the remaining roasted nuts and seeds that had been sitting in a bowl by the sink.

So  took some notes about that salad because it was so delicious, and now you may read them.

Reasons This Salad Works

A base of healthful, green arugula is spicy. The salad dressing’s fresh ginger counteracts the sweetness of the roasted, caramelized sweet potatoes. Due to the wonderful, chewy-tender texture and nutty flavor that wild rice delivers, I’ve recently become hooked with using it in salads.

This salad is bright and gorgeous for the fall and winter months thanks to the addition of crumbled feta, green onion, and dried cranberries. This is a bowl-meal scenario.

Salad Remarks

This salad is enormous and keeps well as leftovers. If you plan to have leftovers for a few days, make sure to store the salad and dressing separately. It can all be combined at once, although the arugula wilts quite rapidly, which isn’t a terrible thing if you plan to eat it all right once.

If you don’t want to make a large quantity at once, you could also easily cut this recipe in half. In either case, you’ll have some extra dressing that you may use to create custom salads. Please let me know how they come out.

Check out the recipe notes for a simple and quick way to cook the wild rice if you have an Instant Pot (affiliate link).

Change It Up

This recipe is versatile. Here are a few ways to change it to suit your needs:

  • For extra protein, add cooked chickpeas.
  • Butternut squash would work well in place of the sweet potato. Or, you could save time and simplify the recipe by swapping raw diced apples for the sweet potato.
  • Any cooked whole grain (about 3 cups) will work in place of the wild rice; farro or wheat berries would be really nice.
  • Sub your favorite green for the arugula (massaged chopped kale or baby kale, spinach, spring greens, etc.).



  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium or 3 small), peeled and sliced into 1” cubes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, chopped pecans or almonds, or any combination thereof
  • 5 ounces arugula (about 5 packed cups)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
Ginger dressing (this makes extra)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • About 20 twists of freshly ground black pepper


  1. To cook the wild rice: Bring a large pot of water to boil (or see Instant Pot option provided in notes). 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, stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, to roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the cubed sweet potato on the pan, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Toss until the sweet potatoes are lightly and evenly coated in oil. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until they are caramelized on the edges and tender when pierced through with a fork. Leave the oven on and let the sweet potatoes cool for a few minutes.
  3. To make the dressing, simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Combine the arugula, wild rice and roasted sweet potatoes (keep the parchment paper) in a large serving bowl or platter.
  5. Spread the seeds and/or chopped nuts on your parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant (be sure to set a timer; we’re toasting at high heat here).

Also read: Simple Healthy Slaw

  1. Spread the toasted seeds/nuts over the salad. Top with the crumbled feta, green onion and dried cranberries.
  2. If you’re serving the salad immediately, go ahead and drizzle most of the dressing on top (you probably won’t use it all). Gently toss to combine, and let the salad rest for a few minutes so the rice has time to absorb some of the dressing. Serve.
  3. If you’re planning to have leftovers, divide the salad into portions and store the dressing separately. The salad and dressing will keep well, each covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Leftover dressing is great to keep on hand for future salads!


MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: Omit the feta. For a vegan salad, be sure to use maple syrup instead of honey.

MAKE IT NUT FREE: Use pepitas and/or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts.

INSTANT POT OPTION: Add the wild rice and 1 ¼ cups water to the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select the Manual/Pressure Cook option and cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid and give the rice a stir. Let the rice cool for at least 10 minutes before tossing with the remaining ingredients.