I RECENTLY PARTICIPATED IN A GROUP DISCUSSION facilitated by a Registered Dietitian who advocates following an anti-inflammatory diet. The RD was obviously very well educated and knowledgeable. He was also relaxed and likeable in an unassuming and appealing way.
More importantly, for me, he was a cook and gave a lot of helpful food preparation tips. He also had personal experience with many of the fantastic grocery stores and specialty markets in our area, regarding specific product availability and also pricing comparisons. And his shopping research covered stores from the discount box to the most shi-shi boutique.
The anti-inflammatory diet is based on fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats, fish and seafood (and more) while eliminating refined flours, sugars, and processed foods. It was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, on the belief that chronic inflammation is at the root of many serious illnesses. The diet promotes the foods which reduce inflammation while providing steady energy and plenty of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and dietary fiber.
I really enjoyed the meeting because the study of nutrition and health has been near and dear to my heart all my life.
The secret to this wild rice salad is the dressing and the secret ingredient of the dressing is mango chutney. Which is not on the anti-inflammatory diet pyramid. Otherwise this salad as a meal perfectly fits the bill.
Over the years I have made this salad with different fruits; apples and grapes in fall, dried apricots and raisins in winter. I have used sliced almonds or walnuts rather than the toasted pecans I have used here. The original recipe came from the one-of-a-kind, and now defunct, Blue Moon Bakery in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. I savored their Wild Rice Salad so many times, always trying to analyze it so I could make it myself.
It was years later that I finally learned the secret ingredient. I wrote about it once before, here at my blog.
Wild Rice Salad with Mango Vinaigrette
8 oz. wild rice, cooked according to package directions, and cooled
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 green onions, sliced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and sliced
1 cup pecans, toasted
1/2 bunch (approx. 1/2 cup) minced parsley
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Dress with the following dressing.
1/4 cup mango chutney
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Puree the chutney and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Mix the dressing into the rice mixture. Adjust the vinegar, salt and pepper, to taste.