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a bowl of wild rice salad with seared apple chicken sausage

Wild Rice Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Balsamic Mushrooms

  • Author: Jenni
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Mains, Salads
  • Method: Oven / Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


This Wild Rice Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Balsamic Mushrooms is a delicious fall recipe that's hearty enough to enjoy as a meatless main dish or perfect as a side dish paired with almost any protein of your choice.



For the wild rice:

  • 270 g (1 1/2 cups) wild rice blend, rinsed
  • Chicken broth (may sub for vegetable broth if vegetarian):
    • Stovetop: 36-48 oz (4 1/2-6 cups)
    • Instant Pot: 18 oz (2 1/4 cups)
    • Rice cooker: 24 oz (3 cups)

For the cinnamon garlic sweet potatoes:

For the maple Dijon vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 clove minced garlic)
  • 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar, to your preference
  • A pinch of Kosher salt

For the kale:

  • 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for 1 tbsp olive oil)
  • 1 bundle (145 g) Lacinato (Italian) kale, destemmed and chopped (may sub for curly kale)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste

For the balsamic mushrooms:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (may sub for 1 tbsp olive oil)
  • 8 oz cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

For the rest of the salad:

  • 30 g (1/4 cup) pepitas
  • Optional: apple chicken sausages (or protein of your choice)*
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 oz (1/2 cup) water


For the wild rice - 3 methods:

  1. Stovetop: In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the rice and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 35-45 minutes or until tender. Fluff with a fork and reserve to the side.
  2. Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot): Add rice and broth to the bowl insert. Cook on high pressure for 20-minutes, then natural release pressure for 10-minutes. Carefully release the remaining pressure, fluff with a fork, and reserve to the side.
  3. Rice Cooker: Cook rice and broth according to your machine for 45-minutes. Allow to rest for 10-minutes before opening the rice cooker. Fluff with a fork and reserve to the side.

For the cinnamon garlic sweet potatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F / 220 C. Line a baker's half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Transfer the diced sweet potatoes to the lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with garlic oil, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Toss by hand to combine.
  3. Transfer the pan to the oven to roast for 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender, lightly caramelized, and the skins are crisp. Reserve to the side.

While the potatoes are roasting:

  • Make the maple Dijon vinaigrette
    1. In a small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic-infused olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of Kosher salt. Taste and add an additional 1 tsp balsamic vinegar if desired. Reserve to the side.
  • Cook the optional sausage, if using:
    1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once shimmering add the sausages. Sear until golden brown on the first side, about 3-4 minutes then flip and sear on the opposite side for 2 minutes.
    2. Add roughly 4 oz (1/2 cup) water to the pan and cover with a lid. Continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until the internal temperature of the sausages has reached 165 degrees F / 74 C. Remove from heat and reserve to the side.

For the pepitas (pumpkin seeds):

  1. Once the sweet potatoes have finished roasting, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F / 175 C. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (you can use the same one you roasted the sweet potatoes on or use a new one), add the pepitas. Roast for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. You may hear a few of them start to "snap" in the oven when they are ready. Remove from the oven and reserve to the side.

For the kale:

  1. In a skillet (or you can wash and reuse the same pot you cooked the rice in if you used the stovetop method) over medium-high heat, add the garlic-infused olive oil. Once shimmering, add the kale and stir to combine. If you've just washed your kale and it's still a bit wet you shouldn't need to add any additional water. If you pre-washed your kale and it's dry, I find that adding a small splash (no more than a tbsp) of water to the pan helps the kale steam. Season with salt and sautee for 3-4 minutes or until the kale has shrunk in size, darkened in color, and tenderized. Remove from heat and reserve to the side.

For the balsamic mushrooms:

  1. In a skillet (or you can reuse the same pot you cooked the kale and rice in) over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp butter. Once melted, add the mushrooms in an even layer and cook undisturbed until brown on one side, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir and cook another 3-5 minutes until evenly browned. As the mushrooms disgorge liquid they will begin to look glossy. You’ll want to cook until all liquid has left the pan and they are nice and golden, then salt at the end and reserve to the side.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Once it has begun to thicken slightly (this should happen quickly), add the mushrooms back to the pan and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

To assemble:

  1. In a pot or large salad bowl add the rice and pour in the vinaigrette. Using two wooden spoons, gently toss until well combined. Then add the reserved sweet potatoes, kale, and mushrooms. Gently toss again to disperse. Finish with a sprinkle of the toasted pepitas and serve. If serving with the optional sausages, I like to slice these and serve them on top.


Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.

Nutrition information does not include the optional sausages.

* You can also serve with other proteins, cooked to your preference: sausages (classic bratwurst, Italian sausages, or Andouille sausages), roasted chicken (whole chicken, bone-in thighs, breasts), steak, salmon, and crispy tofu are all good choices.


  • Serving Size: 1 portion
  • Calories: 543
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Sodium: 1020 mg
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 83 g
  • Fiber: 10 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg

Keywords: wild rice, balsamic, sweet potato, kale, mushroom