Fun fact: wild rice is not rice at all. It’s actually a type of grass that grows naturally in shallow freshwater marshes.
Native Americans traditionally grew and harvested wild rice for hundreds of years, using it as a staple food. The original name, Manomio, means “good berry”.
There’s also a variety of wild rice (Zizania latifolia) found in Asia, and it’s eaten as a vegetable.
Wild rice plants can grow up to ten feet tall and just needs shallow water in which to thrive. It’s not commercially grown so supply is scarce.
A rice that’s not quite a rice, but what wild rice is – is healthy and flavoursome, while also having a good amount of protein, folate and magnesium and zinc. And it has a chewy, nutty, earthy flavour that appeals to many palates and plates.
And for many big families, it’s great for the pocket too as the grains triple in size so one cup of dried rice gives you at least three cooked cups. That’s a lot of healthy in one pot!
Wild rice has since made its way around the world as a substitute for brown or white rice, as the basis for pilaf or biryani, or added to casseroles for extra flavour and substance.
Wild rice isn’t just a pretty face and taste (hello, nutty, toasty, and earthy with a chewy texture!), it’s loaded with healthy nutrients.
Think of it as white rice’s healthier, more filling cousin!
Compared to white rice, wild rice nutrition is on another level. It has more protein, zinc, iron and fibre.
And wild rice can even be popped like corn for a quirky and tasty version of popcorn. It is at its roots, a grain after all.
“But what can I eat it with?” you wonder. Pretty much anything that calls for rice – or you can be wildly (rice) imaginative.
Go wild with your wild rice recipes. This rice is so versatile, it pairs well with many things on the menu. Add to salads for a healthy crunch, into soups for fibre goodness, or even mixed with other grains to make veggie burgers. Tasty, wholesome, and easy.
What to know about wild rice
Does it substitute for all rice dishes?
Absolutely! Wild rice gives any rice-based dish a serious dose of healthy goodness, whether it’s pilaf, pilau, biryani or simply rice as a meal.
How to make wild rice
Wash your rice well, and then simmer as you normally would with white or brown rice. Taste test as you go, it should be soft and chewy to eat in about 45 minutes.
Does it need salt?
You can add a pinch or teaspoon of salt. Remember, this rice already has a nutty, earthy flavour so no need to overpower its natural goodness. But you can get a bit creative with herbs too, play around with parsley, cinnamon, cumin, or cardamom to bring out a fragrant warmth to the bursting flavour.
Where can I get it?
Look in the speciality aisles of your supermarket if wild rice isn’t stocked with other grains. You can also try ordering it online or from organic and natural food stores in your area.
Is wild rice healthy?
Wild rice calories clock in at about 100 per every 100 grams. This will vary according to your portion size. The nice thing about wild rice is that it’s hearty and filling so a little goes a long way.
Go wild in the kitchen!
Check out these tasty wild rice recipes. Warning: you’ll be making seconds…