Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad with Pepitas

This recipe came together several years ago when pulling together leftover bits from holiday meals. It turned out so delicious that Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad is now a staple dish in my house. I originally used toasted pecans in the salad, but now use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to emphasize the seasonal flavors of the dish and keep it nut free for family friends.

Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad with Pepitas is a wonderful side dish fancy enough for the holiday table, yet easy enough to have on hand to put in the lunch box, or serve with cooked sliced chicken or grilled portabella mushrooms on top for a simple dinner with the  family. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.

Wild rice is actually not a rice at all, but a semi-aquatic grass historically grown in lake, bays and tidal rivers.  The only grain native to North America, wild rice originated in the area of the upper Great Lakes. I live in Minnesota, so wild rice has always been a treat item used for the holidays and in autumn dishes during its harvest season. I love its nutty taste, the snappy texture and the way the grain opens when cooked. If you are looking for a warm way to serve wild rice, try Dairy Free Wild Rice Soup for a comforting and creamy soup featuring this unique grain.

Other Side Dishes:

Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad with Pepitas

Serves 6


  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice or gluten free wild rice blend, cooled*
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely minced sweet yellow or red onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roasted pepitas (shelled and roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place sweet potato cubes onto a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Roast 30-35 minutes, turning once with a spatula, until potatoes are cooked through and begin to brown. Remove from oven then set aside (this can be done a day ahead).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, wild rice, carrots, celery, and onion. Stir to mix well. Sprinkle vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, orange zest and black pepper over salad mixture and stir so that salad absorbs dressing. Add pepitas and cranberries.  Serve at once, or chill and serve later.
  3. *If you do not have 3 cups cooked wild rice or wild rice/rice blend, do the following:  In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup rinsed wild rice or wild rice/rice blend with 3/4 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes until wild rice kernels pop open and rice is tender.  Allow to cool before fluffing with a fork and using in recipe.

Do you serve wild rice? What is your favorite way to cook it?

Angela is the author and recipe developer behind the gluten-free dairy-free website,Angela’s Kitchen. She loves cooking up whole food budget friendly family favorites, while balancing her role as master food preserver, gluten- and dairy-free cooking instructor and as a mother of three kids and a flock of spunky chickens. Due to a passion to bring families back to the dinner table, Angela’s Kitchen features free weekly menus with grocery lists, freezer cooking and slow cooker recipes, with seasonal food preservation ideas.

Read all of Angela’s posts here.

4 Responses to Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad with Pepitas

  • Debra says:

    Looks so good, thanks!


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  • pd workman says:

    Just wanted to make one clarifying comment; you will see a lot of sites that say “wild rice is not a grain” (I know that isn’t what you said). Wild rice is, in fact, a grain (part of the Poaceae family). It is, though, a different genus than true rice (Zizania rather than Oryza).

    Not arguing with the way you put it, which is correct, just trying to prevent the next person from mis-reporting it and saying that it is not a grain…


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