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Wild rice, orzo and pepper salad recipe

Wild rice, orzo and pepper salad recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Grain salad
  • Rice salad

Orzo pasta is tossed with wild rice, onion, currants, sweetcorn and peppers in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette.

49 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 100g wild rice
  • 475ml water
  • 200g orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons sweetcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons diced yellow pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons diced green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:25min ›Extra time:2hr chilling › Ready in:2hr40min

  1. Bring the wild rice and water to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the variety of wild rice. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork and cook uncovered 5 minutes more. Once finished, spread into a shallow dish and refrigerate until cold.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water and chill.
  3. Place the chilled rice and orzo into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the red onion, currants, sweetcorn, yellow pepper, red pepper and green pepper. Season with 2 tablespoons basil, salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil. Slowly whisk in the rapeseed and olive oils until emulsified. Stir the dressing into the pasta and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(56)

Reviews in English (43)

by Marianne

My dilemma was whether to make this a four star or a five star rating, but I'm giving four stars because the dressing wasn't quite right for me. It was perfect until I added it to the salad, and then it got lost. I added at least another tablespoon of the white balsamic vinegar, and that seems to make a big difference. Next time I'll start out with a third of a cup of vinegar and just a little less oil and go from there. The directions for the rice and pasta were right on the mark. I used dried cranberries rather than currants just because that's what I had, and my corn was fresh. I used 1/4 cup of red onion, and I added a little more salt (I used kosher). An addition of about 1/3 cup of toasted slivered almonds is perfect with the rice. These are, for the most part, minor changes (though it sounds like more) for this gorgeous salad. I will definitely make this again! UPDATE: I made this again and upped the vinegar to 1/3 cup, the Dijon to 1 tablespoon, and the salt and pepper a lot! I added almost all the dressing to the warm rice and pasta for several hours before adding all the rest of the ingredients for the last several hours. I owe SUCCESS to my friends on the Recipe Exchange, who graciously aided me in my efforts!-23 Aug 2010

by Chef4Six

I love this gorgeous looking dish! It is so colorful and mouthwatering! and tastes spectacular!!! I did not have the wild rice on hand so I skipped it - but I will probably use it next time - as it adds to the colors! I will be making this dish again. The recipe calls for alot of vegetables diced into 3 tbsp. amounts. I woun't cut into 3 different peppers just for 1/4 of the pepper or open a can of corn just for 3 tbs. of corn - so of course I ended up with ALOT of this salad. I doubled the dressing, but I omitted the 1/4 cup canola oil (it would be too greasy) - but added in just the 1/4 cup olive oil. I did not have white balsamic vinegar, so I used regular balsamic.-03 Aug 2008

by yummy2

Excellent. This reminded me of a salad I had at J. Alexander's. It was sooo tasty, not heavy and was an excellent complement to my salmon.-09 Sep 2008

Orzo Pasta Salad with Wild Rice and Cranberries

Refreshing cold orzo pasta salad with a light cranberry vinaigrette dressing and full of veggies and cranberries.


  • ¼ cups Dried Cranberries
  • ¼ cups Cranberry Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Pepper
  • 4 cups Cooked Orzo Or 2 Cups Uncooked
  • 1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Original
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ whole Red Bell Pepper
  • ½ whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • ½ cups Green Onions White And Green Parts Chopped


For Dressing – combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stir until sugar dissolves, pour into a bowl, add garlic and Uncle Ben’s seasoning packet. Stir in vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Let cool in refrigerator..

For Salad – prepare orzo and Uncle Ben’s wild rice as normal, only omit seasoning packet from rice preparation. Drain orzo and put in serving bowl, pour olive oil over top and stir to separate pasta. Add rice, peppers and green onions. Pour dressing over top and stir, coating well. Serve chilled.

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Dishinanddishes on 8.13.2009

Thanks so much for the heads up on the ingredients. I struggled with how to add them early on and I am correcting them now! Glad you loved the recipe! I did too!

Dyana on 8.12.2009

I rated this 4 mitts but only because of the following:
– Sugar amount is not indicated (I added 2 tsps. and that seemed to work out just fine)
– Type of pepper (1/2 pepper) is not mentioned (I can now tell from the photo that it is likely a peppercini? no matter, I didn’t have any on hand)
– No mention of green onions is made in the ingredient list, but the instructions talk about adding green onions (luckily, I happened to have these on hand!)

Outside of these 3 very small things, this recipe is wonderful! The flavors are subtle and well rounded. The cranberry base stands up well against the wild rice, giving this dish a very autumn-like flavor. I could totally gobble this up with some Thanksgiving turkey, and it complimented the Herb Roasted Chicken (found on this site!) perfectly for Day 4’s meal of my Home Eats for 7 Days project. Wish dishes like these, eating at home is easily going to win over eating out!!


  • 1 tablespoon thinly slice fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  • 3 cups cooked wild rice blend (1-1/2 cups uncooked)
  • 2 cups cooked red winter wheat berries (about 1 cup uncooked)
  • 2 cups cooked orzo pasta (about 1 cup uncooked) - I like DeLallo brand
  • 1/2 cup each finely diced red, orange, yellow and green bell peppers (2 cups total)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/3 finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried zante currants
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

J. Alexander’s Orzo and Wild Rice Salad submitted by Melanie

*Note: You may want to double or triple this, the recipe does not make a lot.

DRESSING: (Makes 1 cup)
4 1/2 tablespoons balsamic white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3/8 cup ( 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup) canola oil
3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked orzo
1 cup cooked wild rice
1/4 cup diced red onions
1/4 cup currants
1/8 cup fresh corn niblets
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 tablespoond diced red peppers
3 tablespoons diced yellow peppers
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup dressing (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 cup cut fresh basil

Dissolve vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and sugar with a hand whip (three minute stirring). Fold in the mustard, basil, salt and pepper. Slowly add oils, while whisking vigorously. Refrigerate.

Place all other ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Serve ice cold.

The salad being assembled

Packed with bright flavours, varied textures and colourful ingredients in a zesty citrus dressing, this salad is irresistibly refreshing. It’s just the perfect salad to bring to a potluck or to serve for dinner as a side dish. The salad compliments fish or roasted grilled meats nicely.

Orzo Pasta

Orzo is a small pasta shaped like a melon seed made from semolina flour that’s popular across Europe. Orzo holds its shape when cooked to “al dente”. It’s very versatile and is often used in soups, side dishes and salads like this one.

Wild Rice

Although wild rice is called “rice”, wild rice is actually a grain that is grown in shallow marshes. Once cooked, the skins swell and some curl slightly to reveal a creamy interior. Wild rice adds a nice texture to many dishes. You can find it in most grocery stores or at your bulk food store.

Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. Beige, small, tear drop shaped, they are definitely one of the more expensive nuts because of the time required to grow and harvest them. Pine nuts benefit from a quick toast to bring out the natural oils, flavour and aroma. Mild, sweet and buttery with a slight pine-like flavour, pine nuts are often used in pesto and many other sweet and savoury dishes.

Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours to give the ingredients a chance to mingle. Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy this refreshing and bright salad!

Wild Rice Salad Recipe


  • Wild rice, brown rice mix &ndash Be sure to use a mixture of wild rice and brown rice for the best taste and texture.
  • Dried cranberries &ndash No, you can not use fresh cranberries for this recipe as they will be too tart. However, you can substitute other dried fruit in place of the sweetened dried cranberries
  • Sliced almonds, toasted &ndash Although not 100% critical, toasting the almonds adds so much flavor to this wild rice salad. Simply toast them by placing them in a large skillet over medium heat and let them turn light brown in color. Keep a close on eye on them because they can burn quickly.
  • Sliced green onions &ndash Use both the whites and greens of the onion and slice at an angle.
  • Lemon juice &ndash Although fresh squeezed lemon juice is always best, it is okay to use bottled lemon juice for this recipe.
  • Sugar or honey &ndash A little sweetness goes a long way. Feel free to substitute agave or sugar substitutes if preferred.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Orange zest &ndash Just a reminder for those who don&rsquot use zest often, zest the orange before you cut it for the juice. I also recommend to chop the zest in smaller pieces for the wild rice salad, for easier consumption.
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice &ndash You won&rsquot need a lot. So save for the other half to eat!
  • Salt and pepper &ndash Apply to your preferred taste.


The first step in making this recipe is to cook the wild rice, brown rice mixture. Make 1 cup of rice per the packet instructions.

However, if you have a pressure cooker, you can make the wild rice salad in half of the time! To cook the wild rice mixture in an Instant Pot use 1 cup of rinsed and drained rice and 1 1/2 cups of water.

Then pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Once the cook time is up, allow for 10 minutes of natural pressure release.

All that is left to do is to remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

No matter how you choose to cook the rice, once cooked remove the rice from the pan and let cool to room temperature in a medium size serving bowl.

While the rice is cooking/cooling, prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, sugar (or honey), extra virgin olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

Once the rice has cooled to room temperature add the dried cranberries, toasted sliced almonds, and diced green onion to the bowl. Mix well.

Just before serving, whisk dressing one more time and pour over the wild rice salad. Toss to coat.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. Or heat and serve as a classic holiday side dish.

Enjoy! Mary

To receive our 3 Recipe Articles in your inbox each week, sign up for our free email list located on the side and bottom of each recipe. You can also follow us on Facebook and Pinterest. This article may contain affiliate links where a small commission is paid if you purchase a product at no additional cost to you.

This combo of wild rice, pasta and legumes is a most satisfying one. Good looking too! And with a mild curry spice dressing, the sweetness of currants and crunch of toasted almonds, a much-appreciated contribution to a weekend of fine eating and fun.

It’s also a wonderful make-ahead recipe so just prepare the ingredients before heading away. Then when you arrive, dress, toss and serve. It’s really quite wonderful.

Here’s why it’s a favourite tasty treat.

Currants: these are the small black raisins, dried Zante grapes, labeled “currants” in packages at the supermarket. They are not related to black or red currants even if packaging says so.

Choose wild rice with long, shiny dark brown almost black grains. If you’re in the Toronto area, RUBE’S in the St. Lawrence Market South building is the best source, but you can also check bulk outlets. Pre-packaged wild rice can be made up of shorter grains, even some broken: still tasty, but less glamorous in the salad bowl.

Excellent with salmon – BARBECUED or ROASTED, hot or cold – GRILLED CHICKEN, tofu and any variety of STEAKS, pork or LAMB LOIN CHOPS. For a light “Welcome to the Cottage” Friday night dinner or Saturday lunch, pair the salad with cheeses, charcuterie and either a tossed spring greens salad or a late summer plate of sliced heirloom tomatoes.

We want to send out a huge huge thank you to our dear friend ELIZABETH BAIRD for sharing this wonderful recipe, adapted from BONNIE STERN! Like these two lovely ladies, this recipe too, is a keeper!

Orzo and Wild Rice Salad

Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the variety of wild rice. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork, and cook uncovered 5 minutes more. Once finished, spread into a shallow dish, and refrigerate until cold.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the orzo pasta, and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water, and chill.

Place the chilled rice and orzo into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the red onion, currants, corn, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Season with 2 tablespoons basil, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil. Slowly whisk in the canola and olive oils until emulsified. Stir the dressing into the pasta, and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Several varieties of white rice need to be rinsed or soaked before cooking. This rice doesn’t need to be soaked, only a quick rinse before cooking. The instructions on the bag advise cook for 50-60 minutes however we cook ours for 45-50 minutes and it turns out perfect every time.

Simple flavours in this dish will make it a table pleaser. My son loves it and goes in for seconds and thirds although full disclosure, he picks out the mushrooms!

The key to making the dish is to cook the wild rice first, set aside to cool. Cook your orzo and start your mushrooms. Salt the water for both the rice and orzo and season each portion before mixing and after as needed.

Curried Lentil, Wild Rice and Orzo Salad

This innovative, cool salad partners deliciously with any main dish.


  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 2/3 cups green lentils
  • 2/3 cups brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup currant
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup slivered almond toasted
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch clove
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Nutritional facts Per serving: about

  • Sodium 178 mg
  • Protein 6 g
  • Calories 178.0
  • Total fat 8 g
  • Potassium 231 mg
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Saturated fat 1 g
  • Total carbohydrate 22 g


In large pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook wild rice for 10 minutes.

Add lentils boil for 20 minutes. Add orzo cook just until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and transfer to large bowl. Add currants and onion.

Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, cumin, mustard, sugar, salt, coriander, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne whisk in oil. Pour over rice mixture and toss gently.

Let cool cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) To serve, sprinkle salad with almonds.