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Wild rice is a rare gem in the culinary world. It is a crop native to North America yet adored the world over for its exquisite nutty flavor. Perfect for pilafs, salads, and even soup and dessert, wild rice is versatile and delicious. Curious about how to cook it? Join us as we unearth some fun facts about this special ingredient along with recipe that show you how to cook wild rice.
What Is Wild Rice?
Surprisingly, wild rice isn't a type of rice at all. In reality, it is a tall grass native to the Great Lakes area between Canada and the United States. Traditionally, it is cultivated by Native Americans but commercial forms of wild rice are also grown in California, Texas, and across the Midwest.
Botanically speaking, there are four main varieties of wild rice: Zizania aquatica, Zizania palustris, Zizania texana, and Zizania latifolia.
Wild Rice Nutrition
Wild rice is rich in antioxidants and is a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, according to the Whole Grains Council.
Wild Rice vs. Brown Rice: What's The Difference?
A lot of people confuse brown rice with wild rice. It is understandable as these two are commonly bundled together in a number of recipes. Wild rice is a pricy ingredient and combining it with brown rice is a cost-effective way to enjoy a flavorful dish.
Brown rice contains its husk (hence the color) and takes about the same amount of time to cook as wild rice does. Its flavor complements the nuttiness of wild rice.
How Do I Cook Wild Rice?
There are two things you should know when it comes to cooking wild rice: it takes a long time to cook and it should be cleaned thoroughly.
Unlike white rice, which cooks up in about 20 minutes, wild rice requires 45 minutes to an hour of cooking on the stove top. Naturally, using a pressure cooker can cut that time in half.
How To Clean Wild Rice
The best way to clean wild rice is to place it in a bowl and rinse under cold running water. Allow it to sit in water for a few minutes so any debris can float to the surface. Discard any debris, rinse well, and drain.
Water Ratio for Cooking Wild Rice
To cook wild rice you'll need 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. The rice will triple in size once cooked and fluffing it with a fork is recommended before serving.
Wild Rice Recipes
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Traditionally, wild rice takes about 45 minutes to cook but this tasty soup can be on the table in 25 minutes thanks to a quick-cooking varietal of wild rice. Check out the easy recipe in the video above.
Wild Rice with Blueberries and Grilled Salmon
Blueberries, salmon and wild black rice are an unusual yet tasty pairing. You'll love the savory blueberry jam laced with notes of lavender, rosemary and tarragon. Get the recipe.
Wild Rice Salad
A great way to use leftover wild rice is to turn it into a salad. You can dress it up with just about any vegetable and cheese combo but tomatoes, olives, cucumbers and feta cheese are especially tasty.
For more inspiration, take a look at this easy video recipe for wild rice salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds and a tangy dressing.
Lamb Shoulder with Wild Rice Pudding
This hearty main course is the perfect way to cook lamb shoulder in the winter time. It is braised with herbs, spices and mushrooms then served over a silky wild rice pudding.
Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf
If you have an Instant Pot (or another electric pressure cooker) you'll love this easy recipe for brown and wild rice pilaf with almonds and cranberries. It is great on its own but would also make a great stuffing for turkey come the holidays.
Hungry for more?
If you love rice then don't miss this our special A to Z guide: 26 fun facts you probably didn't know about rice.