Wild rice with mandarin oranges and grilled vegetables is such a simple side dish that is an ideal accompaniment to everything from beef to fish or chicken. The wild rice I use in this dish is a brown & wild rice mix that also has rye and wheat. Adding the woody flavor of roasted kale and the smoky grilled veggies plus the sweet mandarin oranges makes a perfect mix of flavors. Don’t skip the oranges; their tender sweetness was a highlight of the dish. If you don’t like zucchini please swap it out for what every veggies you love to grill or have left over from the night before, almost anything will be prefect in the rice. Lastly if you have a vegetarian in the house add some mushrooms or soy beans to pump up the protein and you have a really great main dish for them.
Lately I have been using these types of rice/couscous/pasta/quinoa and vegetable dishes to trick my stepdaughters into eating extra veggies. It’s been working pretty darn well, if I say so myself. I opt for whole grains or high protein pastas for these hot or cold salads/sides. The leftovers travel well and make wonderful lunches for camp and work especially in the heat of summer when sending a normal ham sandwich can make me worry about it growing bacteria before lunchtime. Who thought rice and kale with grilled veggies would be popular with the whole family? I think it’s that everyone loves those cute little mandarin oranges, LOL. My husband even requested the wild rice for lunch the next day, and that’s totally awesome.
Wild Rice with Mandarin Oranges & Grilled Vegetables
- 1 cup of your favorite wild rice blend
- One 14oz can of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 onion
- 2 zucchini
- 3-5 large kale leaves stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
- 2-3 mandarin or clementine oranges sectioned and cut in half
- Granulated Garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
Start by cooking your rice per the package directions substituting the can of chicken broth for a portion of the water. I cook my rice in a rice cooker because I am rice deficient, it will take about 30 or so minutes for the rice to cook in that wonderful device.
If you have not already grilled the zucchini and onion now is the time to get them tossed with olive oil, salt and granulated garlic and on to the grill and cooked over medium to high heat until tender. It will take just a few minutes per side to get a little char and soften up the veggies. If you want to swap the zucchini and onion for other veggies go for it.
The kale and oranges I cook in my toaster oven, it just makes my life so simple since I normally serve this rice as a side to a grilled dinner. Pre heat the toaster or regular oven to 425. Spread the kale and the halved orange sections on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt. Then put in the hot oven for about 5-10 minutes, stirring once, until the kale starts to brown on the edges and the oranges are fragrant and soft.
Mix everything into the hot rice with a drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Serve as the perfect side for with fish, chicken or pork. If the flavor is a little flat kick it up with a squeeze of either lemon or orange juice.