This stunning salad came to be by accident. In a state of impending hanger, I threw together the leftovers scavenged from my fridge: fresh arugula, cooked wild rice, baked sweet potato fries (why not?), and ginger dressing.
I topped it with the leftover toasted nuts and seeds sitting in a bowl by the sink, and somehow summoned the energy to add some crumbled feta.
That salad really hit the spot, so I jotted down some notes about it and here we are.
Why This Salad Works
Spicy arugula offers a nutritious, green base. Fresh ginger in the salad dressing balances the sweetness of the caramelized, roasted sweet potatoes. I’ve been obsessed with wild rice in salads lately, since it offers such a great, chewy-tender texture and nutty flavor.
Crumbled feta, green onion and dried cranberries round it out to create a bold, beautiful fall and winter salad. This is a meal-in-a-bowl situation.
Watch How to Make Hearty Sweet Potato, Arugula & Wild Rice Salad
This is a seriously large salad that makes great leftovers. Be sure to store the salad and dressing separately if you intend to have leftovers that last for several days. You can toss it all together at once, but the arugula wilts fairly quickly—not a bad effect if you’re eating it all within a day or so.
You could also easily halve this recipe, if you don’t want to make an enormous amount at once. Either way, you’ll end up with some leftover dressing that you can use to improvise your own salads. Let me know how those turn out!
If you have an Instant Pot, (affiliate link) check out the recipe notes for a foolproof and faster way to cook the wild rice.
Change It Up
This recipe is versatile. Here are a few ways to change it to suit your needs:
- For extra protein, add cooked chickpeas.
- Butternut squash would work well in place of the sweet potato. Or, you could save time and simplify the recipe by swapping raw diced apples for the sweet potato.
- Any cooked whole grain (about 3 cups) will work in place of the wild rice; farro or wheat berries would be really nice.
- Sub your favorite green for the arugula (massaged chopped kale or baby kale, spinach, spring greens, etc.).
Please let me know how this salad turns out for you in the comments! It’s not the quickest salad to make, but it keeps so well that it’s definitely worth the effort.
Craving more hearty salads that keep well? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Hearty Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Salad
- Arugula and Wild Rice Salad with Zippy Lemon Dressing
- Southwestern Kale Power Salad with Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Avocado Sauce
- Greek Lentil Salad
Thank you so much to everyone who filled out our 2019 reader survey. With over 5,000 responses (holy moly!), I’m still reading through and taking notes on your answers.
Thank you for your kind encouragement and suggestions. I’ve already implemented a few of the most frequent requests. You’ll now find a “jump to recipe” button at the top of every recipe post, in case you’re in a hurry or working on your grocery list.
I’m also investigating better search solutions, and I’ve fixed an issue with the mobile version of the menu so you now have easier access to all of the recipe filters.
I’m carefully considering your responses. Since I’m both the website developer and recipe developer, working on one side takes time from the other. I love stretching my brain in both directions, though, and keeping the Cookie and Kate team small. I’d rather grow slowly than burn out, because this is my absolute dream job.
These things take time. I also need time to sleep, and Cookie wants to go on more walks. Maybe I’ll make another cookbook. I’m definitely going on more vacations and hope you do, too.
Cheers to many more fresh and wholesome recipes this year. Thank you for being here.
Hearty Sweet Potato, Arugula & Wild Rice Salad with Ginger Dressing
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 salads 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop and roasted
- Cuisine: American
This delicious salad recipe features roasted sweet potato, wild rice and arugula. It’s fresh, filling and nutritious! Enjoy this salad all week long. This recipe yields a lot of salad (6 generous servings) and is easily halved.
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium or 3 small), peeled and sliced into 1” cubes
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, chopped pecans or almonds, or any combination thereof
5 ounces arugula (about 5 packed cups)
½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
½ cup thinly sliced green onion
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, to taste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
About 20 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- To cook the wild rice: Bring a large pot of water to boil (or see Instant Pot option provided in notes). Add the rinsed rice and continue boiling, reducing heat as necessary to prevent overflow, for 40 minutes to 55 minutes, until the rice is pleasantly tender but still offers a light resistance to the bite. Remove from heat, drain the rice and return the rice to pot. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes, then remove the lid, stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, to roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the cubed sweet potato on the pan, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Toss until the sweet potatoes are lightly and evenly coated in oil. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until they are caramelized on the edges and tender when pierced through with a fork. Leave the oven on and let the sweet potatoes cool for a few minutes.
- To make the dressing, simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Combine the arugula, wild rice and roasted sweet potatoes (keep the parchment paper) in a large serving bowl or platter.
- Spread the seeds and/or chopped nuts on your parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant (be sure to set a timer; we’re toasting at high heat here).
- Spread the toasted seeds/nuts over the salad. Top with the crumbled feta, green onion and dried cranberries.
- If you’re serving the salad immediately, go ahead and drizzle most of the dressing on top (you probably won’t use it all). Gently toss to combine, and let the salad rest for a few minutes so the rice has time to absorb some of the dressing. Serve.
- If you’re planning to have leftovers, divide the salad into portions and store the dressing separately. The salad and dressing will keep well, each covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Leftover dressing is great to keep on hand for future salads!
Make it dairy free/vegan: Omit the feta. For a vegan salad, be sure to use maple syrup instead of honey.
Make it nut free: Use pepitas and/or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts.
Instant pot option: Add the wild rice and 1 ¼ cups water to the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select the Manual/Pressure Cook option and cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid and give the rice a stir. Let the rice cool for at least 10 minutes before tossing with the remaining ingredients.
Amazing! Didn’t have all the same ingredients you had listed so I used the suggested substitutions. I think we’ll have a different version of this every week! The rice and dressing are key. Thank you for making our plant based journey a delicious one! I have not made a recipe of yours yet that I would rate sub 5 star.
Thanks again for another 5 Star. I know I will make this again and again like I do with so many others I have found on your site.
First time commenting… THIS WAS THE BEST SALAD EVER! I meal prepped for lunch, layering the roasted sweet potatoes on top of the wild rice, and then topping with the scallions, toasted almond slices, cranberries and goat cheese. Filled my container with baby spinach and brought the dressing in a mason jar. I seriously cannot wait for lunch tomorrow, and will make this again and again and again!!!
Hooray on both things! Thanks for sharing, Laura. I’m glad you are already looking forward to it.
This salad makes everything momentarily right with the world. The homemade dressing pulls everything together!! I loved the combination of tangy vinegar, spicy ginger, and sweet honey mustard. It complements every ingredient in the salad without overwhelming the individual flavors of the sweet potato, green onion, wild rice, etc. I love how versatile this salad is. You can throw in whatever ingredients you have on hand and it works. I added in extra roasted butternut squash and mushrooms and it was not a salad…it was a salaaaad (fancy pronunciation there).
Thanks for sharing! The dressing does really make this salad extra. I appreciate your review, Kachina!
thank you so much for another incredible recipe. I made half the recipe and it was perfect for 2. first time I eat arugula…wow what a wonderful peppery flavor. this is a keeper.
You’re welcome! Thank you for your comment and review.
This is one of the best salads I’ve ever made! So hearty and yummy, I made it for my partner and parents and everyone thought it was winner! Thanks :)
You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing, Christine.
We LOVE this recipe. We usually follow the recipe but today we had 2 red beets and decided to swap it for the sweet potatoes. Worked wonderfully. The ginger dressing with the green onions is the best part! Thank you Kate!
That’s a great idea! Beets would be nice in this. Thank you for your comment and review, Genevieve!
Loved this salad! It was bursting with flavor and had great texture. I didn’t have wild rice so I used farro instead. I also substituted goat cheese instead of feta and it was delicious. I definitely will put this salad on my list of regular rotations.
I just made it for lunch. I had brown rice and sweet potatoes and looking something interesting. And now this recipe is going in my recipe file. It’s so yummy. Loved all the flavors and how they merge with each other. Ginger gives a nice twist to the dressing. My husband told me 4 times while eating the salad how good it is. It’s going to be winter soon here in Australia and this will be a great recipe to make. Thank you.
So good! Even our meat & potatoes dad liked it!
That’s a win! Thank you for sharing, Liz.
I am so happy to find this recipe on the website as I crave this salad pretty often. We recently moved and I left the book by Cookie and Kate back in Toronto for a friend.
This is a full lunch or light dinner. Love the texture and the ginger dressing! Absolutely divine!!!!
This is one of my family’s faves. On regular rotation! Thanks for another delish vegetarian meal!!
Love this, ive made it several times. My boyfriend even request it. I use vegan feta which is delicious. We do grill up chicken and put on top. It’s a rotating dinner in our house. Thanks!
Delicious! Made one “tweak” because I can’t eat aged cheeses– used feta for the rest of the family and then bought some of those tiny fresh mozzarella balls to top mine…worked great. Thanks for a filling and flavorful recipe.
This is like a summer version of meatless Thanksgiving stuffing! Yum!
Amazing!! Made this tonight and was a huge hit. Will most definitely be making this frequently.
Excellent salad! I made it with sliced almonds and no cheese.
The dressing balances nicely the arugula!
I never have written a review, but I just have to say how yummy this was. I was skeptical because it seemed like a hodgepodge of random ingredients, but we loved it! The sweet potatoes made it a filling salad and the cranberries and dressing gave a nice sweetness to it. We will definitely make this again!
The dressing is delicious and the sky is the limit with varying the recipe
I’m happy you think so, Kate! Thank you for your review.
This is a wonderful tasting recipe!
I typically have to make amendments to recipes to “taste-correct”.
I had no need to make any adjustments to this one!
I would make it again, and look forward to serving it to company.
I’m happy you loved it, Alysin! Thank you for your review.
I make a salad with sweet potatoes + arugula + lemon dressing often, but with wild rice and the ginger dressing, this is one of the most delicious salads I’ve ever had!! I actually used dried cherries and walnuts because that’s what I had on hand, and it’s still SO good. It’s the perfect fall salad. Thank you for the recipe!!
Loved this salad, and I don’t often like arugula. Thanks!!
Oh my goodness this salad is so delicious! We love it! Thank you Kate for sharing yet another fabulous recipe.
You’re welcome Claire!
I absolutely love this recipe! I meal prep on Sundays and then pack it for the week for my lunches. (I keep the dressing in a separate container until the day of.) This salad keeps beautifully and helps me feel satisfied, but not overly full. Thanks for this option!
You’re welcome Rebecca! Thank you for your review.
I love your salads Kate, and this was another winner! I subbed a few olives for the feta and used grapes instead of cranberries. I will definitely make this filling and unusual recipe again. Thank you.
You’re welcome, Sue! I appreciate your review.
We loved this recipe too. The ginger dressing ties it all together. At your recommendation, I added chickpeas for protein, then goat cheese on my half and feta on my wife’s half. Oh and instead of dried cranberries, we used some pomegranate seeds that needed to be eaten. Already looking forward to having it again for lunch tomorrow!
This salad was devine!! So good with the mixed nuts and taste of feta and the sweetness of the sweet potato! The salad dressing mixes in so perfectly with the other flavors! As I said when I ate it for dinner, this salad tasts like Christmas (lol)!! Thanks for sharing!!
Do you think quinoa in place of wild rice and figs in place of cranberries would work?
Hi! That could be interesting. Let me know what you think, Allye.
You made my Thanksgiving. I made roasted carrot soup, this salad, and your pumpkin cheesecake bites this year – delivered to nearby family for zoom meal later. I packed the dressing separately from the salad – everyone LOVED everything, especially this salad. Great combo of flavors and easy to make the sweet potatoes and rice ahead of time. Great recipe for autumn.
Made this last night for our low key Thanksgiving dinner…making more tonight! Not only to use up the dressing; the salad was SO good. This will have a permanent place on my Thanksgiving table. That is saying a lot as I rarely make the same recipes for holidays. My daughter and I are vegetarian and we happily had this for dinner, and one son and hubby loved it. I was concerned about the myriad of flavors in the dressing but WOW I am tempted to eat some for breakfast. Thank you for a really special, yummy recipe. Already shared with 2 others.
Already making again, I love it! Thank you for sharing, Elaine.
This salad is delicious and has a wonderful combination of textures and tastes. We served this with our Christmas turkey dinner and it was a big hit. We used roasted butternut squash and even roasted the seeds from the squash and added those. Thanks Kate for another great dish!
Amazing salad with ginger dressing out of this world, in spite of substitutions and omissions. Used spinach and quinoa/brown rice mix and omitted nuts, feta, and dried cranberries
Thank you, Karen! I’m happy you loved it.
This was so much fun to make for my meat-loving family, because I’ve never seen them be more excited about a SALAD!
Thanks, Hayley! I’m so glad to hear it.
Made up the wild rice in the instant pot. 1 cup rice, 1 cup water, 30 mins high pressure, with natural release. Turned out perfect! Love the combination of the salad ingredients and flexibility with fruit/nuts we might have on hand.
So so so good. Followed the recipe almost exactly (used less pepitas as they were maple flavored – thanks Instacart shopper?) and it was amazing. My husband and I had to move away when we realized that we might eat all six servings in one sitting! Super easy to make too.
I used a mix of spinach and arugula because that was what I could find at the store, and swapped in walnuts for pepitas because I already had walnuts in the house. This recipe is delicious and filling without being too heavy, and the dressing is nice and bright. Will definitely make again!
That’s great, Deb! Thank you for sharing.
Skipped the cheese and didn’t miss it. Delicious!
Wonderful,LT! Thank you for your review.
So amazingly delicious and easy to adapt with what you’ve got in the fridge. Love the dressing! Thank you so much :)
You’re welcome, Adela! I appreciate your review.
We make this salad over and over and over again and never get sick of it, its so delicious!
I love that this salad is a favorite, Lisa! Thank you for your review.
A co-worker shared your recipe with me and now I am literally obsessed with this salad, especially the dressing! I typically make it once a week, great for dinner or lunch. Even my husband loves it and his idea of a meal is definitely not a salad. I think you may have converted him!
Hooray! I’m delighted to hear that, Cheryl. Thank you for taking the time to review.
This was the first recipe I made from Cookie and Kate, and WOW I absolutely loved it. It was SO easy to make and very filling. I feel like I often get sick of salads I eat every day for a few days, but it is hard to get sick of something that has so many different flavors that work so well together. I was also happy that many of the ingredients can be used very easily in other recipes (cranberries, sunflower seeds). Nothing was wasted!
I bought minute wild rice to make it a littleee simpler but also roasted some chickpeas to add too.
Highly recommend this salad for lunch or dinner! I look forward to checking out more of her recipes!
Wonderful, Olivia! Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you love this salad and recommend it.
Let me just start by saying, I have gifted more than a dozen of your
cookbooks to family and friends. It has been the life savor during
this past year and a half! I just made this beautiful salad for lunch…I
did add some sliced avacado and, as you suggested, chick peas for
more protein. How you continue to come up with these amazing
recipes is beyond my comprehension. Definitey a one dish meal
that won’t disappoint. Thank you for making my change to plant
based eating so easy. I couldn’t have done it so deliciously without
You’re so kind, Becki! I’m glad you enjoy my recipes. Thank you for your review!
This salad is simply the BEST! I’ve brought it to potluck, served it as dinner to my picky vegetarian friends ;) and my family. It never disappoints! It always gets rave reviews and I send people to cookie and Kate for the recipe! Thank you Kate!
p.s. I usually substitute the rice for quinoa (cooks quicker than the rice and I always have it on hand :)
Wonderful, Carina! Thank you for your review.
Oh my, this salad is amazing! It’s my new favorite! The ginger dressing is so good. All the flavors are just perfect together. Thanks for another great recipe!
You’re welcome, Vickie! I appreciate your review.
Thanks for another fabulous salad! Your salads always have such a great blend of flavor and texture, and they are so nourishing and delicious.
I am so glad I found your cookbook/blog. Now that my youngest has started preschool and I have a few hours to myself each week, I have been finding such great joy in after 13 years of cooking solely to balance my family’s complicated dietary needs and preferences, to once a week cook a big batch of one of your salads/meals for myself to eat for lunch during the week, just because it is good for my body and soul. Gotta love self-care that is actually healthy! Thanks for helping me treat myself.
I’m glad you are enjoying what you are cooking and that the blog is a resource for you, Erin. I appreciate your review!
This salad looks so good. I read all the reviews and no one addressed my question. I have never cooked wild rice and where can I get it. I seem to remember at least fifteen years ago buying a pkt for a wilderness camping trip and cooking it beforehand to make sure we would like it.and it was awful.
I should mention that I have made the acorn squash bowl, your veg lasagna and vegetable ziti and loved them all.
love love love this recipe. delicious and satisfying. I don’t love ginger so I substituted dressing with your lemon one.
Thank you for sharing what you did to make this one work for you, Sarah! I appreciate your review.
I was looking for recipes with arugula after having way too much left from Thanksgiving and found this recipe. I love how adaptable it is! I made farro instead of wild rice because I had it and was making a different farro recipe in the week, and skipped green onion for today’s lunch because I didn’t have time to slice it before heading to work. Love it! That ginger dressing is super tasty. Looking forward to getting through more arugula this way!
Thank you for sharing, Jessi! I appreciate your review.
Delicious! Everyone I’ve made this for loves it.
I’m happy to hear that, Meredith! Thank you for taking the time to review.
This salad is delicious!! I loved the dressing and use in on all kinds of other salads now. The best thing is you can substitute whatever veggies you have on hand. I used rutabaga and kohlrabi chunks and it was great. Today, I’m roasting sweet potatoes with a little chipotle olive oil and I expect that it will be delish. Thanks for all the great recipes Kate,there hasn’t been one that wasn’t amazing.
Robert (Victoria, British Columbia)
Love, love, love this recipe. Make it every other week. Full of flavour and very filling. The leftovers are always a bonus the next day.
Flavorful, filling, and EASY salad. I made mine without feta (vegan) and loved it. Will be making again. Tip – go heavy on the arugula.
Delish! I added scallions, bell pepper and snap peas as I needed to use them up. Perfect salad with a thai inspired bbq chicken recipe.
Hi, can I swap the dried cranberries for anything else?
Hi! Sure, you could omit or dried cherries could be nice.
LOVE this salad. I’ve made it about four times in the last two months.
It’s amazing! Keeps well and the roasted sweet potato is amazing in it.
I haven’t made it with the rice yet but I have substituted Kale for arugula and it works really well as well!
Hooray! I love to hear that, Janet. Thank you for your review!
This is THE BEST salad. My fiance and I eat it at least once a week. He’s a big meat eater and usually asks for a chicken breast or salmon filet on the side when we have salad for dinner, but not with this one! It’s hearty and filling but still tastes/feels fresh and light. When we don’t have the ingredients for the ginger dressing we use a bottled balsamic vinaigrette or just balsamic vinegar/olive oil and it tastes just as good! I use a lot of C+K recipes but this one really knocked it out of the park.
Love to hear that, Cat! Thank you for sharing.
This salad was delicious had never heard of arugula and found it can substituted with rocket I had it at a christening will definitely be making this myself Lorraine
Made this yesterday and it was fantastic. Definitely a keeper. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch today. Didn’t have would rice so I used farro.
This is one of the best salads I’ve made in a long time! Dressing is divine! I added an apple. Thank you so much for posting this!
You’re welcome, Patty! I appreciate your review.
I was looking for a fall salad that used sweet potato and found this. The only thing I skipped was the green onion, and I had black rice on hand so I used that. I will absolutely be making this salad again, it is delicious. The dressing was perfect. I often find salad boring but not this salad, its so complex while being simple to put together. I did have leftovers and kept the dressing separate, the salad is just as good if not better the second day. It reminds me of one of those expensive salads available at my favorite market deli.
Made w goat cheese and farro instead of wild rice which always wrecks my stomach. It was a meal in and of itself. Absolutely delicious!
Great to hear, Talya! I appreciate your review.
Nina in CLE
This dish was VERY delicious- I love all the textures, and how t the amazing ginger dressing brings everything togethe! But I don’t love wild rice, ditto arugula so I employed 2 of your suggested swaps: different grains–red quinoa— and kale instead of arugula; it was good AND loaded with superfoods!Will be making it again soon!
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it, Nina! I appreciate your review.
This was excellent. the dressing is bright with the right amount of acidity. I added roasted chickpeas, per the suggestion, and topped my salad with 2 over-medium fried eggs…for the additional protein. This will definitely be added to my monthly rotation. It’s an easy meal to prepare the components ahead of time (earlier in the week) and then combine before serving. Thank you for a great recipe!
Hi. Where can I find the actual recipe?
Hi! The recipe card is below the blog post. I hope you try it!
So good! All of my friends loved it.
Wow!! This is absolutely amazing! Both me and my husband really loved this!! Thank you so much!!
You’re welcome, Lynne!