Sue’s Lentil & Wild Rice Salad

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Just home from emceeing the Food: Today, Tomorrow, Together conference, where I ate many things – perhaps most notably absolute perfection in the form of a salted caramel macaron (from the new M at the Calgary Farmers’ Market), meaning I didn’t make dinner, left M and W to their own devices and thus have nothing to offer, recipe-wise. But last weekend Sue fed me a suitably grainy-yet-delicious salad of the sort that makes one feel virtuous, well balanced and light on their feet. I even took photos, and totally meant to tell you about it. But then I thought rather than ask her for the recipe I’d ask her to do a guest post, since that seems to be a thing other bloggers do. And it sounds fun.

Figures she’d have to throw in a preface being all complementary of me. As if I wasn’t wearing rugby shirts (and crushed pink shimmery synthetic shirts with tails from Le Château, with my painstakingly crimped hair – I bet I have a photo somewhere in the basement) right alongside her.

So without any further ado, I give you Sue (hey, that rhymes!):

Hi everyone! My name is Sue, and like many of you I’ve been riveted to the computer for the last couple years, reading every Dinner with Julie post I could get my eyes on.

Julie got me hooked on food and cooking right from the start of our friendship, and I’ve known her for a few decades now. I still find myself amazed when I look at one of her new recipes (SO simple! SO PERFECT!), floored by her work ethic, and more often than not absolutely slayed by her humour. The thing about Julie I know best though, is her capacity for friendship. Julie has been an amazing friend to me since we met in Junior High. She never laughed at my appalling Grade 8 fashion sense (rugby shirts and brown-tinted glasses), or at my horrific first boyfriends when they finally appeared a few years later. We’ve both grown up a bunch, or at the very least we’ve quit drinking Southern Comfort and switched to wine.

It’s because Julie is an amazing and generous friend that she invited me to do this guest-post, and I’ll try really hard not to screw it up. I’m hoping that if you can bear having a sub from time to time, it might mean that Julie can take a night off work and just hang with Mike and W, and isn’t that something we’ve all been asking her to do? But not too often, I promise.

Introduction now aside, I’d love to tell you about this salad I make. This is a salad that’s really great to have on the table when you have things like ribs or burgers or smokies there too. Rich meat dishes, especially the all-indulgent ribs are one of life’s great pleasures after all, and I prefer my eating pleasures to be unsullied by guilt. This is a magical, guilt-erasing elixir of lentils, whole grains and raw vegetables and it’s full of lemony flavour (definitely use fresh lemons if possible!), and there’s feta too. Whenever I’ve ever served this salad to people outside my immediate family, they always take the recipe home.

And it’s one of those salads that keeps well for a few days in the fridge, so you can dip into it for lunch the next day, have a couple spoonfuls when you get home from the gym and put it back on the supper table the night after that.

Like most things of this nature, the proportions and ingredients are extremely fluid. I love the wild rice in it because the texture stays that little bit crunchy, and really, it only needs about 1/2 cup uncooked, but wild rice is stupidly expensive. Feel free to substitute brown rice or omit it altogether. Other times if I need to feed a crowd, I’ll keep the wild rice but bolster the salad with some whole wheat couscous. Some of the vegetables should be crunchy, and if you’re planning on leftovers it’s best to cut the core (ie the watery bits) out of things like tomato and cucumber so as not to have an unappetizing soggy mess the day after tomorrow. Other than that, use what you already have in the fridge, or whatever looks good at the store.

You may notice in the photo a total absence of tomato and fresh herbs. That’s because I live a half hour’s drive to the grocery store, and I was already a glass of wine to the good when I started making this. The salad was fine without, and don’t you think it’s good to be happy when things turn out differently every time you make them? One last thing: you may want to keep an additional lemon on standby, or I suppose a couple tablespoons of red or white wine vinegar would work fine too. I’m always wanting to add that little bit more, but then I’m a bit obsessive with all things lemony.

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25 comments on “Sue’s Lentil & Wild Rice Salad

  1. Jan (Family Bites)
    February 19, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Welcome Sue! Great post and thanks for sharing your friend with us, Julie. I’m in need of something a little different for some entertaining this weekend and I think I’ve found just the thing.

  2. Ann
    February 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Your salad looks and sounds great! I have company coming next week and it’s wonderful to have recipes I can put together ahead of time and then just pull out of the fridge. Thanks, Sue!

  3. Lana in South Mountain (ON)
    February 19, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Welcome Sue and thank you, Julie, for sharing your friend with all of us!
    This recipe and photo looks great!

  4. margo
    February 19, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I can just imagine how tasty this would be… but I won’t leave it up to my imagination. This sounds like my kind of salad. Thank you!
    Sue, I think it’s great if you share your ideas with us so Julie can relax; what are friends for? : )

  5. Vivian
    February 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

    That salad looks tempting and I’m so in the mood for a healthy hit. Heading out right now (20-minute drive to the nearest grocery store) to get a few fresh things I don’t have on hand. Nice idea Julie, to let us hear Sue’s “voice” too.

  6. Pat L
    February 19, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I got my Blog Aid cookbooks by delivery just now! My mouth is watering – can’t wait to try some of these at the Retreat!

  7. Donna
    February 19, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    My blog aid cookbooks arrived this morning.
    I chose slow mail, but transit time was quite fast.
    Great looking books – I can’t wait to explore them.

  8. molly
    February 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Still chuckling over “glass of wine to the good”! I firmly believe all recipes should be so flexible. Looks lovely.

  9. Erin M
    February 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Welcome Sue! The salad looks delicious. Can I suggest Quinoa instead of the couscous option. I’m a bit of a Quinoa freak but it really is simple and complete protein 🙂

  10. Eleanor
    February 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Just got Blog Aid books today, well done and thanks.

  11. JulieVR
    February 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Erin – great suggestion! I love quinoa. Sue, unfortunately, is allergic to it!

  12. Barbara
    February 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Julie,

    I notice that on your blog you have an impressive array of recipes – love today’s wild rice recipe! I’d like to encourage you to try our wild rice as we are just getting into stores in New York. I can arrange for some to be sent to you free of charge if you are interested in trying out the Goose Valley brand. Please let me know where you would like it sent, and check out our website at http://www.goosevalley.com.

    Best regards,


  13. Carol SB
    February 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Well, Sue, I’m pleased to meet you.
    Any friend of Julie’s is a friend of mine.
    I agree with all y’all, this is a good idea: Julie, remember your “get out of posting free” days? And you just asked us to leave recipes in the comments section. Well, I like this further step. And I like the look of this salad.
    Let’s do it again.

  14. Carolyn
    February 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Julie — thanks for posting so much this week! I’ve loved getting my Julie (and friends) fix before I head south for a week!

    Just wondering if anyone else is having trouble with the Print button in your posts? Every time I try to use it it aborts Internet Explorer.

  15. Laurie in Burnaby BC
    February 20, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Sue – welcome! Lovely to meet you. This is a lovely dish. I think I’ll try it warm with mint instead of dill.
    Julie – thank you so much for sharing your talented friend with us. What do you do when someone lifts your entire posting and puts it on their blog, picture and all?
    Erin M – I would totally do the quinoa variation since I don’t touch pasta (couscous is a type of pasta.)
    This means between us Sue and I have the spectrum covered, since she doesn’t do quinoa and I don’t do couscous. 🙂

  16. JulieVR
    February 20, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Carolyn – I don’t know – you’re the first I heard of a printing problem! I’ll look into it.
    Laurie – yes, couscous is little pasta bits – I like whole wheat couscous – a little nuttier, and obviously better for you! Really, this salad could be made with any number of grains. I’m a particular fan of barley.

  17. Melanie
    February 20, 2010 at 10:59 am

    welcome Sue!! You did a great post – the salad looks amazing! I’ve been hooked on lentils lately (who would have thought – I feel so ‘bright’ and energetic after eating them) so am eager to try this out!

  18. Laurie in Burnaby BC
    February 21, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Wow, I never thought of barley. Thanks, Julie, that would be a great flavour.

  19. Natalie (GA)
    February 21, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Sue – THANKS. In-laws were in town and I needed a salad to complete a pulled pork meal. It was TERRIFIC. I even ate the rest of it with eggs this morning!

  20. sue.d
    February 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Thanks everyone for the welcome, and I love the suggestions with other grains and herbs!

    Natalie – so glad it worked out, wish I was there for the pulled pork!

  21. Denise
    August 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    this recipe is heavenly … it’s now my go-to salad, especially when serving barbecued salmon, steak or ribs. Even more delicious the next day.

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