I know: Salad for dinner. It just sounds so, I dunno, uninspiring. But I love a really hearty salad for dinner—one that’s full of flavor, texture (um, and maybe a bit of cheese) along with greens and veggies. We’re not talking iceberg-and-carrots here, folks. No, I wanted to create a stick-to-your-ribs salad that incorporates a bit of protein (chicken, in this case) plus whole grains (wild rice) and a creamy dressing that packs a punch. Even better: This salad stores and travels well (just add the dressing right before you serve it), so it’s an easy make-ahead recipe and it’d be great pack-your-lunch option. The salad dressing, with its pretty pale green color and kick of garlic, is super flexible—it’s joined my basic vinaigrette recipe and my best blue-cheese dressing recipe as standards in my kitchen.
hearty wild rice, orzo and chicken salad
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 cup cooked orzo
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken (grilled or store-bought rotisserie)
1 red bell pepper
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 head radicchio
1 head Belgian endive
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
1 recipe creamy basil salad dressing
Place wild rice, orzo and chicken in a large bowl. Dice the bell pepper and apple into roughly 1/2-inch chunks, and add those to the bowl. Slice the radicchio half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin strips; slice the endive in half lengthwise, then crosswise into thin strips. Add radicchio, endive and dried cranberries to the bowl, along with the blue cheese if you’re using it [of course you are]. Drizzle with half the creamy basil dressing and toss to coat, adding more dressing if needed. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.