Warm up winter with a dish that evokes summer days


Hearty winter meals have a tendency to lack the color and vitality that comes with fresh summer produce. But just because the days are shorter and people are bundled up against the cold weather does not mean meals cannot benefit from fresh produce.

Year-round availability of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables means that fresh produce can still be the centerpiece of wintertime meals. The rich antioxidants and vitamins in produce can help fend off cold-weather illnesses and ensure you have the energy for shoveling snow or hitting the slopes at your favorite ski resort.

Wild rice paired with a bevy of vegetables are ideal ingredients for delicious, filling and nutritious meals all season long. Wild rice is the only grain native to North America and is celebrated across cultures as a prized ingredient because it is chock full of nutrients and said to contain higher levels of antioxidants and protein than white rice.

Get rid of those cold weather blues by creating a delicious meal like this salad, courtesy of Nicole Presley, author of the recipe blog “Presley’s Pantry.”

Wild Rice, Mango and Arugula Salad

1 cup wild rice

2 1/3 cups chicken broth

1 cup cucumber, chopped into cubes

1 cup mozzarella cheese, chopped into cubes

6 basil leaves, chopped into strips

20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup diced pear

1 cup arugula

1 large avocado, diced

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1 cup mango, diced

For the dressing:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

In a pot over a medium-high flame, add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add in rice and return to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the pot and lower the flame to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let rice rest in pot for 10 minutes. Place rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Let drain completely.

In a large bowl, add cucumber, panela cheese, basil, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, dried cranberries, pear, arugula, avocado, and red onion. Mix well to combine.

Pour drained wild rice into veggies. Mix well. Then add in the mango and give it another mix.

In a small bowl or cup, mix all ingredients for dressing and pour over the salad.