Wild Rice and Kale Salad

November 13, 2019

This wild rice and kale salad is bursting with sweet, tangy, and salty notes with apple, cranberries, almonds, feta, and a delicious maple-mustard dressing.

Winter Wild Rice and Kale Salad

I’m in love with this wild rice and kale salad from the Two Peas & Their Pod cookbook. This kale salad is super easy to throw together, and is bursting with sweet, tangy, and salty notes with the rice, lemon juice, apple, cranberries, almonds, feta, and the maple-mustard dressing. This kale salad also looks gorgeous, and is fantastic for the holiday table or other winter dinners.

My sister-in-law, Leah made an incredible warm winter kale salad for thanksgiving about 10 years ago, and I have been dreaming of it ever since that lunch. So, I was really excited when I found a similar recipe in Maria’s cookbook! I immediately thought, “Boom! That’s the recipe I’m posting to celebrate the release of the book.”

Maria’s original recipe contains goats cheese or feta. I used this vegan feta and crumbled it through the salad, and it was delicious. So, now this kale salad is gluten-free and vegan.

Massage Your Kale To Remove the Bitterness

For the best results with any kale salad, massage your kale with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. This not only softens the kale, but it helps to take the edge off the bitterness.

Take one bunch of kale, remove the stems, and roughly chop the leaves. In a large bowl, combine the kale, with 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes, until the kale has softened.

Then, throw your kale into a large salad bowl, and add your other ingredients.

Elements of a Great Kale Salad

A great kale salad has sweet, salty, and tangy flavors, and a good mix of colors and textures. Maria has all of those elements in this salad.

  • Lacinato (or Dinosaur) Kale – This variety of kale is fantastic for salads as it is less bitter than curly kale.
  • Wild Rice – brings in a crunch, a nice earthy flavor, and makes this salad substantial enough for a meal.
  • 1 Large Apple – brings in a lovely sweetness, crunch, and color.
  • 1 Medium Avocado – adds a nice buttery texture, creaminess, and adds some healthy fats.
  • Dried Cranberries – gorgeous festive color and flavor, and a tart-sweet note.
  • Toasted Slivered Almonds – crunch, a nice earthy note, and added protein.
  • Feta – for a gorgeous salty note, creaminess, and a pop of white color.
The Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

As kale is assertive and leans towards bitter, you need an amazing dressing. And, the dressing doesn’t need to be complicated with a lot of ingredients. Maria is using just 6 ingredients in this kale salad dressing:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh lemon juice
  • pure maple syrup (not maple-flavored syrup)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Place all of these ingredients into a jar, secure the lid, and shake vigorously until well combined. You could also just whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Give this kale salad a try this winter. You will not be sorry. And, check out the Two Peas & Their Pod cookbook. There are a ton of really simple recipes.

The Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook

After blogging for years and inspiring millions of readers through her website and ebooks, Maria has finally published her debut cookbook with Grand Central publishing, and it’s beautiful.

Maria is all about inspiring the home cook, So, naturally, she opens the book with Tools For Becoming a Confident Home Cook. There’s tips for:

  • Kitchen Gear and Gadgets
  • Organizing Your Ingredients
  • Staple Ingredients
  • Meal Planning
  • Grocery Shopping

Maria’s kitchen (she’s a huge fan of KitchenAid as well) is pretty incredibly, and the photos of her highly organized kitchen with all of her gadgets will have you drooling.

And, then the book jumps straight into the quick and easy recipes with stunning photos.

Two Peas & Their Pod Recipes

Some of my favorite recipes in Maria’s book include:

  • Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars
  • Green “Hulk” Smoothies
  • the Feeling Toasty spread!
  • Rainbow Vegetable Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • Easy Blender Salsa
  • Go Green Quinoa Salad
  • Chickpea, Avocado, and Feta Salad (I used Vegan Feta)
  • Slow Cooker Lentil Vegetable Soup
  • Stir-Fried Snap Peas with Orange, Ginger, and Sesame Seeds
  • BBQ Chickpea-Quinoa Bowls
  • Sweet and Spicy Tofu with Zucchini Noodles
  • Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos

The photography by Colin Price will have your mouth watering with every turn of the page. His photos are absolutely stunning.

Get your copy of the Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook, and make this kale salad! 

Other Kale Recipes

Kale Guacamole
Kale Chickpea Sandwich Spread
Garlic Kale Chips
Chopped Salad with Avocado Dressing
Kale and Cabbage Slaw

Let me know what you think of this wild rice and kale salad in the comments!

Your feedback is really important to me, and it helps me decide which recipes to post next for you.


Winter Wild Rice and Kale Salad

This Wild Rice and Kale Salad from the Two Peas & Their Pod cookbook is vegan, gluten-free, really easy, and bursting with gorgeous color and delicious flavors.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


Maple Mustard Vinaigrette


  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (or brown rice)
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped (Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Gala)
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 ounces vegan feta, crumbled


  1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, and mustard. Whisk or shake until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Massage the kale with your hands until the leaves soften, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, apple, avocado, dried cranberries, almonds, and vegan cheese. Gently toss. Drizzle the
    vinaigrette over the salad, toss, and serve.

Recipe Notes

Recipe and photo excerpted from the Two Peas & Their Pod cookbook. Copyright © 2019 by Maria Lichty. Reprinted with permission from Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.