Mandarin Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Mint and Pecans

The Perfect Thanksgiving Side Dish!

This Mandarin Wild Rice Salad recipe has been in our family for years. It’s a hearty autumn salad with cranberries, pecans, green onions, and mandarins with a delightful orange vinaigrette.  It makes a perfect side for Thanksgiving or anytime as it goes great with many fall and winter dishes. I love it with roasted turkey, chicken or pork. When I had my tea room in California, I often served this in the fall in cute glass tea cups lined with spinach. Over the years, I’ve adapted it into this healthier version. The original version came from one of my mom’s collection of Army wives cookbooks. 

Jump To Recipe

Can you make the salad ahead of time?

Yes!  Here’s how:

  1. Prepare the salad according to directions but save out the pecans and mint.
  2. Make the dressing.
  3. Store everything in the refrigerator.
  4. About 2 hours before serving, take out the salad, add the mint, pecans and dressing.  Leave it out at room temperature until ready to serve.

Variations

Turn it into a main meal by adding leftover turkey or roasted chicken!

Mandarin Wild Rice Salad with Orange Vinaigrette Dressing in a glass cruet from Gourmet Done Skinny

You can make it ahead of time, just don’t put the dressing on until about 2 hours before serving.

 

Mandarin Wild Rice Salad is a hearty autumn salad with cranberries, pecans, green onions, chopped mint and mandarins with a delightful orange vinaigrette in a glass bowl from Gourmet Done Skinny

Not only is this a pretty salad, but it’s a hearty salad!

 

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Mandarin Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Mint and Pecans in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon from Gourmet Done Skinny

Mandarin Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Mint and Pecans

  • Freestyle Smart Points:3 Freestyle Smart Points per 1/2 cup
  • Author: Gourmet Done Skinny
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 min (if rice is already cooked)
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Salad/Side
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Mandarin Wild Rice Salad is a hearty autumn salad with cranberries, pecans, green onions, chopped mint and mandarins with a delightful orange vinaigrette.  It makes a perfect side for Thanksgiving or anytime really as it goes great with many fall and winter dishes!


Ingredients

  • 1 c. wild rice, cooked according to directions on package (leave out any salt, butter or oil)
  • 1 c. mandarin oranges, fresh or canned
  • 1/4 c. green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries (You can use Craisins, however you will need to add 1 Smart Point to the total recipe count)
  • 1/4 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 T. red onion, chopped
  • 2 c. spring mix or fresh spinach

Dressing:

  • Olive oil spray ( I like to use my Olive Oil Mister)
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar (use a quality one)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • dash of pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook wild rice according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Place chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Bake about 5 minutes stirring gently. (Or a quick way I use sometimes is to broil them for about a minute or so, watch carefully. They burn fast!)
  3. To make the salad – combine in a large bowl:  rice, mandarins, onions, cranberries, pecans and mint.
  4. To make the dressing – combine in a liquid measuring cup or salad cruet:  orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  5. About 2 hours before serving, spray about 4 sprays of the olive oil on the rice and mix.  Add the dressing. Allow to sit for 2 hours at room temperature.
  6. Immediately before serving, line a pretty bowl with spring lettuce or fresh spinach.  Add the rice mixture. Garnish with a piece of fresh mint if desired.

Notes

You can make this recipe up ahead of time but leave out the mint and pecans until the end (to keep them crunchy) and keep the dressing and salad separate until about 2 hours before serving.

2 Replies to "Mandarin Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Mint and Pecans"

  • comment-avatar
    Joe @ Joe's Healthy Meals November 15, 2018 (9:24 pm)

    What a great combination of ingredients…sounds totally yummy Amy.

    • comment-avatar
      Amy Lawrence November 16, 2018 (5:51 pm)

      Thanks Joe! My mom made a version of it when I was growing up. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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