Take on the wild side (rice, that is) and whip up this healthy chicken and kale salad for dinner. Dried cherries and goat cheese add the perfect amount of sweet and tangy. Thank you to the Cherry Marketing Institute for helping me to share this recipe with you.
Whenever I make a dinner that leaves us with leftovers, I earn some serious points with my husband, Steve. Every night, Steve goes through an elaborate process of making his breakfast, lunch and snack to take with him to work the next day. He runs a lot; therefore, he eats…a lot! Seriously, if you saw how much this man ate, you’d think he was feeding a small town. And he is nothing but lean muscle. Annoying. Anyways…when he can just scoop some leftovers into a container when making his work day meal, he’s a happy husband.
One of the ways that I like to pump up the flavor of simple rice dishes is by adding some creamy cheese and tart cherries. The flavors and textures of those two ingredients complement each other so well, and the easy rosemary vinaigrette adds a fresh herbal flavor.
Along with the scoop of tart cherries on his cereal and two daily glasses of tart cherry juice, Steve gets a quadruple dose of the powerhouse fruit each day. Quite honestly, we’re both a bit smitten with the sweet-tart flavor and find ourselves toting around a bag of tart cherries mixed with raw almonds whenever we head out to run errands.
If you spotted my Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Tart Cherries & Pepitas and Curry Spiced Nuts with Dried Cherries, you already know that dried cherries pack a lot of health benefits. One of the lesser known benefits is that tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which is linked to better sleep efficiency. They have been shown to increase both the quality and duration of sleep, which is so important for overall health.
A number of whole grains would work well in this recipe, from brown rice to farro or barley. I used a wild rice blend that I found at the supermarket, which contained wild rice, brown rice, wehani rice and black japonica rice. Use whatever blend appeals to you, but be sure to follow the package directions, as cooking time will likely vary.
Other tart cherry recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Curry Spiced Nuts with Dried Cherries
Cookin’ Canuck’s Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Tart Cherries & Pepitas
Running to the Kitchen’s Cherry Power Cookies
Love & Zest’s Chocolate Cherry & Chia Bark
The Inventive Vegetarian’s Apple Walnut Salad
Wild Rice Salad with Chicken, Dried Cherries & Goat Cheese
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- water follow package instructions
- 6 ounces cooked skinless chicken breasts shredded
- 2 cups chopped kale stems removed
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese crumbled
- Cook the wild rice blend according to package directions. Fluff with a fork. Transfer the rice to a large bowl to cool.
- Add the chicken, kale, dried cherries and goat cherries, and stir gently to combine.
- Pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Serve.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder and rosemary.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil. Whisk until combined.
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