Summary: We thought we’d bring you a recipe for National Celiac Awareness month that contains maple syrup because it can be a wonderful alternative for vegans who prefer to not use honey. We recently were gifted a half-gallon of fresh Vermont maple syrup and have been going a bit crazy with recipes containing this sumptuous sap; any excuse to eat it! We have to stress that, when cooking with syrup, it makes all of the difference to cook with real syrup, not the stuff that is commonly hawked on Saturday morning commercials. A lot of the commercial syrup sold isn’t even true maple syrup at all, it’s just high fructose corn syrup. True maple syrup is a bit more watery than the commercial stuff, and has a much richer flavor.

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We thought we’d bring you a recipe for National Celiac Awareness month that contains maple syrup because it can be a wonderful alternative for vegans who prefer to not use honey. We recently were gifted a half-gallon of fresh Vermont maple syrup and have been going a bit crazy with recipes containing this sumptuous sap; any excuse to eat it! We have to stress that, when cooking with syrup, it makes all of the difference to cook with real syrup, not the stuff that is commonly hawked on Saturday morning commercials. A lot of the commercial syrup sold isn’t even true maple syrup at all, it’s just high fructose corn syrup. True maple syrup is a bit more watery than the commercial stuff, and has a much richer flavor.

This recipe is adapted from the I love Trader Joe’s cookbook. We zeroed in on it because of its curious blending of flavors: tart green apples, aromatic red onions and crunchy toasted hazelnuts, topped with a tangy/sweet dijon, red wine vinegar and maple syrup dressing. While most vinegars, including the red wine vinegar in this recipe, are gluten free, it is important to use the pure form. Flavored vinegars, or cheaper vinegars, can have additives that may not be gluten free.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Wild Rice Salad

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed under cold water (see note)
  • ½ cup chopped green apple (Pippin or Granny Smith) or grapes (halved)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
  • ½ cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring the broth (or water) to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the wild rice and bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. In a large bowl, combine chopped apple, celery, red onion, and nuts. Set aside until rice is cooked. When rice is tender, if there is just a little bit of liquid left, let stand until it is absorbed. If there is more than ½ cup, drain the rice into a colander.

Dressing:

In a food processor, combine vinegar, garlic, mustard, and honey or agave syrup. With motor running, drizzle in the oils until emulsified. Add the cooked rice to the chopped apple mixture, then stir in the dressing while the rice is still warm. Adjust seasonings to taste with more vinegar, salt, and black pepper, if necessary.

This is a fantastic potluck dish! Serve with some crisp white wine or cool iced tea!

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