Wild Rice Salad with Beets, Oranges and Whipped Lemon Ricotta

Wild Rice Salad with Beets, Oranges and Whipped Lemon Ricotta

Happy Wednesday, you guys! And oh boy is it happy! Octavian finally slept in later than 5:45am in what feels like foreverrrr and after a solid 8 hours and 30 minutes of sleep I finally feel like a functional human being again (I should not have been allowed to leave the house yesterday). Since college all-nighters and especially since becoming a mom (<--does anything even compare?) I have learned that there is a vast difference between a). not getting enough sleep or "just being tired" and b). sleep deprivation.

I say I'm tired all the time. I'm not lying, it's totally true. It comes with carrying a heavy load every single day (a load I love, but a load nonetheless). 

And then there's sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation and I know each other very very well. We go WAY back; almost as far as I can remember. Before I became a mom, my sleep issues were thanks to things like depression, anxiety and chronic insomnia. All three would feed off each other, making it, literally impossible to sleep.

Then I became a mom.  I literally slept two (interrupted) hours the first 5 days of Octavian's life. Those first five days were some of the darkest days of my life. Not because of my child (he was the light in the darkness), but because I needed sleep (and post-partum depression, but we can save that for some other time). The less sleep I got, the further out of reach sleep became. Over the years I have come to accept my highly dysfunctional relationship with sleep. After all, I do love sleep and need sleep to survive and be healthy.

So, you guys, when my child gives me the gift of sleeping until 630 or 7am, I know it's going to be a good day.

You know what else will make any day a good one?

THIS SALAD! 

O M G, YOU GUYS! (<-- yes, this is my really excited voice) THIS SALAD!

Just looking at it makes me happy (and hungry!). I am currently all about salads mixed with grains and plain wild rice is my all time favorite rice. It's just so basic. The rest of this salad is super easy and that's exactly what I was going for. Bold, bright and colorful with different (complementary) tastes and textures.

This salad totally wins!

I did not include a salad dressing, but instead added a side of whipped lemon and goat cheese ricotta (thanks to a little inspiration from Samantha at My Kitchen Love). It was perfect.

Wild Rice Salad with Beets, Oranges and Whipped Lemon Ricotta

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 0 minutes*
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
Category: Salad, Healthy, Side Dishes + Vegetables, Vegetarian

*The total cooking time assumes you already have cooked rice and beets. If you do not, each of these take approximately 30-45 minutes to prepare.
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Ingredients

5 ounces mixed greens (I had baby kale and arugula on hand at the time)
2 cups cooked wild rice, cooled
Juice + zest from 1 lemon
2 blood oranges (or regular oranges), peeled and sliced
2 large red beets, cooked, peeled and sliced
2 large yellow beets, cooked, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

FOR THE WHIPPED LEMON RICOTTA
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
Pinch of salt
Zest from 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. If you haven't already prepared your beets or wild rice, that should be done first. Both can be done the day before. Follow package instructions for the wild rice and, if you're a first time beet cooker, see how to easily (and cheaply) make them here.

  2. First prepare the whipped lemon ricotta- In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients using a spoon,  stirring everything together until fully combined, smooth and creamy. Set aside.

  3. To the cooked rice add the juice and zest from 1 lemon and mix well.

  4. In a large salad bowl place half of the lettuce, followed by half the wild rice and finally, the remaining lettuce. Finish preparing the salad by layering the beets, oranges and walnuts on top of the lettuce and rice. Place remaining rice on top of the salad.

  5.  Serve the whipped ricotta and goat cheese on the side or directly on top of the salad.

Enjoy!

note: while a salad dressing is not needed (in my opinion), a balsamic reduction or balsamic vinaigrette would both be great options.

Wild Rice Salad with Beets, Oranges and Whipped Lemon Ricotta
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