Emerald City Salad

I’ve been thinking about making this salad since I got my copy of Feeding the Whole Family. But frankly, I was scared. I was afraid of the raw dark leafy greens. But, looking for a quick-ish side dish and a variation on a green salad, I finally tried it.

Oh, man, is this a salad. My husband’s review:

“This salad is so good! I could eat this all day!”

My son tried it, my daughter refused to. You can’t take their word, though; their combined age is less than eight. I loved it, and I will be making it again. It seems like something that would be very easy to pack for a lunch at the park. And the kids won’t ask to share it, so more for me!

Speaking of kids, I did, in fact, keep my resolutions today. I played on the floor with them (I read the same Curious George story three times, which I think gets me extra credit), I took photos of them, I got goofy with them (a little. It’s only March 1st. I need to pace myself).

And I even kept track of the cute things they did. My son tried to give a block to a little one-year-old. He put his hand gently on her head and then put the block in front of her face. When she didn’t take it, he tried to hit her in the head with it, but I got there in time. He also managed to make me understand that he was asking for ketchup by repeating, “Det-dut!” over and over again, getting increasingly frustrated at my ignorance. My daughter built a dwelling for her stuffed toys out of materials she found in the yard to replicate the homes of early farmers. And she carried around her Andean Condor feather to show to everyone we met, but she was too shy to tell anyone what kind of feather it was. That was my job.

And I made a kick-A salad. There’s a great video of this on cookusinterruptus. Check it out, then go make yourself a salad. Oh, and I used red bell pepper and green kale, and I used olive oil instead of butter. And I used no cheese (and my husband didn’t add any to his serving! That’s how good this salad is!).

Emerald City Salad

Recipe reprinted from Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

This colorful salad is inspired by the beautiful deli salad at Puget Consumer’s Co-op, Seattle’s beloved chain of natural foods grocery stores. It is so popular that I have filled many classes with the mere mention that I would be demonstrating how to make this salad.


2 ¼ cups water or stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 cup wild rice (black; ½” long)

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped fennel bulb, core removed
½ of a red or yellow pepper, diced
½ cup chopped red cabbage
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups very finely chopped dark leafy greens (6-7 leaves of chard, kale, or collards)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pecorino or gorgonzola cheese (optional)

Bring water or stock to a boil.  Add butter, ½ teaspoon of the salt and rice.  Bring to boil again, cover, lower heat and simmer 60-65 minutes.  Check to see that until all water is absorbed by tipping the pan to one side.  How to cook wild rice is described in a separate video.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt in a large serving bowl.  Add fennel, red pepper, cabbage, parsley and then the greens.

Once rice is fully cooked, cool until it quits steaming but is still warm, and then spread like a banket on top of the greens.  When the rice cools to room temperature, toss rice, vegetables and dressing together. Taste the salad and adjust seasonings, some extra salt and/or lemon may be required.  Garnish with cheese if desired.

Preparation time: 1 hour for wild rice, 20 minutes for salad
Serves 6-8

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5 Replies to “Emerald City Salad”

  1. This was a hit at our family’s Thanksgiving feast. Thanks for the timely idea!


    1. I’m thrilled to have made a contribution towards the tastiness of your family celebration, Sarah!


  2. ugh, all this being offline i have so much catching up to do and i love reading your blog. . . darnit, i was so icky feeling and running around in my PJs in front of grown (dressed)women on tuesday and i didn’t stop to ask about the feather. . . i saw the feather, i didn’t ask. .. also, i’m glad to know that your smallest tries to hit other children when mine is not around. . . um, that sounds horrible, but i just like to know that mine is not beating up on the NICEST child on the playground EVERY SINGLE TIME we’re together. ..i’m just not as FAST as you apparently 😛


    1. No worries. You sounded pretty stuffed up. And you should have seen little man’s reaction to our friends trying to play with his basketball hoop today. Yikes. Perhaps your little one senses that my little one is considering “bad things” and is making a preemptive strike. Ah, toddlers!


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