With its spectacular leafy green colour and complexity of summery tastes, this Wild Rice Chicken salad with avocado is sure to become a household favourite. It shouts fresh and wholesome with vibrant flavour, promising to transforming what used to be casual sides into main meal fare.
This salad celebrates grains and plant-based produce that offer balanced sustenance without feelings of meagre depravity. In fact, it’s the kind of recipe that despite it’s impressiveness, is simple enough to toss together in under 30 minutes, just the kind of food that fits into busy weeknight schedules or relaxed weekend entertaining.
There are a couple of essentials to a really great salad. In this case, it’s succulently juicy chicken fillets and a sensational salad dressing that pulls everything together. Nothing dry or tasteless here. I used Knorr Balsamic & Pineapple Salad Dressing for the marinade, along with a squidge of honey that encourages deep caramelisation and lemon, of course, for that all important acidic edge.
For the grain component, I used wild rice. The nutty taste compliments the creaminess of the avocado perfectly. And no salad worth its salt should be sparse on vegetables, so a hefty addition of all things green is crammed into this grain bowl. My favourite way of adding greens is bundling handfuls of mixed leaves together and giving it a rough chop, as you would herbs. I then toss it into the rice and douse the whole lot with a tangy pineapple dressing. It tastes like summer and who doesn’t love that? With kale, spinach, zucchini and toasted pumpkin seeds, this salad stands head and shoulders above bland.
As a busy cook, I’m always open to recipes with lunch box potential. This wild rice salad is a prime example of how to upgrade leftovers. For a vegetarian option, replace the chicken with roast butternut, sweet potato and pan-fried chickpeas. Tumble in a handful of creamy goat’s milk cheese or feta, if you prefer. If you’re using avocado, remember to drizzle cut slices with a lemon juice to keep it from discolouring.
Now for the fun part. Knorr is inviting you to share your most deliciously creative salad recipe. There are fabulous weekly prizes up for grabs. Once your salad is tossed and dressed for the occasion, share it on the @Whatsfordinner Facebook page. Remember to tag your entry #KnorrSignatureSalads. For competition Ts&Cs, head on over the knorrwhatsfordinner website.
Wild rice chicken salad with avocado
Serves 4 – 6
- 3 cups cooked wild rice
- olive oil for cooking plus 30ml for dressing
- 1 small bunch destalked kale, shred-cut
- 5 zucchini, sliced into rounds
- 4 chicken fillets, lightly pounded
- 120ml (1/2 cup) Knorr Balsamic & Pineapple Salad Dressing
- 50ml water
- zest of 1 lemon plus juice of half (30ml)
- 5ml (1 tsp) honey
- 40g baby spinach leaves
- 40g (1 pack) rocket leaves
- a handful of each, Italian parsley and basil
- 2 avocados, sliced
- ¼ cup toasted seeds
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Place the cooked rice in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat 10ml olive oil in a pan and flash fry the kale for 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and add to the rice.
- To the same pan, add another drizzle of oil. Over high heat, fry the zucchini for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and add to the rice.
- Season the chicken lightly on both sides and pan fry in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 3-4 minutes on each side. Add 60ml Knorr Balsamic and Pineapple Salad Dressing and the 50ml water. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is reduced and the chicken, cooked through. Slice into strips.
- To make the dressing, place 60ml Knorr Salad Dressing, lemon zest and 30ml juice, honey, salt and pepper into a jar and shake to combine.
- Bundle the spinach, rocket and herbs together. Roughly chop and add to the rice. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together.
- Transfer the rice salad to large platter, arrange the chicken and avocado on top and scatter with toasted seeds.