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Wild Rice Salad with Orange Maple Vinaigrette

This Wild Rice Salad with Orange Maple Vinaigrette is a salad worth serving on Thanksgiving! It's hearty, filled to the brim with texture, and tossed with a mouthwatering orange maple vinaigrette. It's made with wild rice, shredded brussels, pomegranate arils, thinly sliced shallots, kale, toasted pepitas, and fresh thyme. It's a fantastic holiday side dish to make for any type of winter entertaining!

Course Main, Salad, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Holiday, Plant Based, Thanksgiving, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword christmas salad, easy fall salad recipe, holiday salad, thanksgiving salad, wild rice salad, wild rice salad vegan, winter salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA


For the salad

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 small-medium bunch lacinato/Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and shredded (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced*
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 medium shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pepitas, toasted*
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for serving
  • orange zest for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the orange maple vinaigrette

  • 1/2 of a medium shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 navel orange
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Begin by making the rice. Cook the rice according to package directions. Make sure you season the water with a geneous couple pinches of salt! Let cool compeltely. You can also do this a couple days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge!

  2. Make the vinaigrette. To a medium bowl, add the shallot, garlic, orange zest, maple syrup, dijon, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking until combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

  3. To assemble the salad, add the kale to a large mixing bowl along with a tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette and a generous pinch of salt. Massage the kale for a minute or two until it has softened and decreased in volume. Add the brussels, pomegranate, shallots, pepitas, thyme, a few pinches each of salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Season to taste the salad with more salt and pepper (don't be shy here!) Finish the salad with a few grates of fresh orange zest and more fresh thyme leaves. Serve!

Recipe Notes

*You could also buy the pre-shredded brussels sprouts to save time!
*To toast your pepitas, just toast them in a dry skillet over medium-low until they start to make a popping noise and they're golden and fragrant!
*This is exactly how I'd recommend prepping this salad ahead of time for your Thanksgiving or holiday dinner:

  • make the orange maple vinaigrette up to 3 days ahead of time and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge
  • cook the wild rice up to 2 days ahead of time and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge
  • the morning of, combine all of your ingredients (minus the toasted pepitas and the vinaigrette) in a large bowl and keep it in the fridge until you're ready for it
  • when you're ready to serve, toss in the pepitas and the vinaigrette, along with a few pinches of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • finish the salad off with a little orange zest and fresh thyme!
  • serve!