Wild Rice – How To Cook It And Why Eat It

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Wild rice is a great option for Meal Planning or Batch Cooking. It’s nutty and delicate taste makes this food a delicious ingredient to be used in different dishes; such as salads or Buddha Bowls. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can find all of the answers to your questions about how to cook wild rice in this post

Wild rice in a white cocotte and a hand with a fork grabbing some

What is wild rice

Botanically speaking, wild rice is not rice, but it’s the seed of a species of marsh grass. However, the long and narrow cylindrical shape of its kernels makes it look like pigmented rice.

This uncommon cereal belongs to the Zizania genus. There are four species that belong to this genus: Zizania palustris L., Zizania aquatica L., Zizania texana H. and Zizania latifolia G. The first three are native to North America and the fourth to Asia. [1]

It used to be a staple food for Native Americans and it used to be harvested by hand. Nowadays, most of the wild rice that we find at the supermarket has been cultivated in Minnesota and California.

Wild rice has a slightly chewy texture and it’s naturally gluten-free. It’s a great addition to any healthy diet.

It’s more expensive than other types of rice, and the real wild rice is more expensive than the cultivated type.

Wild rice vs. black rice

An image with wild rice on the lift and black rice on the right

As we have just said, wild rice (also called Canada rice, Indian rice, and water oats) is four species of grasses forming the genus Zizania and the grain that can be harvested from them. It was traditionally grown wild in isolated lake and river bed locations. [2]

Black rice, however, (also known as purple rice or forbidden rice) is a range of rice types of the species Oryza sativa L., some of which are glutinous rice. It was historically grown in China. [3]

Wild rice and black rice are different species and they also look different; however, both have a dark color. Black rice kernels have a very similar shape as other types of rice, while wild rice kernels are much longer and thinner. 

What do I need to cook wild rice

The easiest way to cook it is on the stovetop and you just need:

  • A pot with a lid
  • Wild rice
  • Water
  • Salt
A white cocotte with black rice in it

How to cook it 

Wild rice absorbs water slowly and takes longer to cook than any other types of rice, with an average cook time of 40 minutes.

Since the cooking time might change depending on the type, an option would be to cook it in abundant water, like pasta, and get rid of the excess water once the desired texture has been reached.

The first time you cook wild rice, you might want to use a rice-to-water ratio of 1:3, 1 cup of rice for 3 cups of water. 

However, once you get to know your rice, you could adjust the quantity of water so that the rice will get your desired texture, once it has absorbed all of the water.

Steps for cooking wild rice:

  • Add water and salt into a pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Rinse the rice and add it to the boiling water. 
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil again. 
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and leave the lid slightly open.
  • Let it simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, check the texture. It shouldn’t be hard in the middle.

Some people prefer to eat their grains a little hard, some people prefer them very soft. Depending on your preference, add or subtract cooking time. 

When the kernels start bursting open, the texture of the wild rice is chewy, but when cooked longer, it becomes softer.

If you are cooking wild rice for the first time, I recommend that you try its texture after 40 minutes. If you like the texture before it has absorbed all of the water, you can just strain the remaining liquid out.

It can also be popped like popcorn, using a pot on the stove, the same way you’d do with corn. However, it’d make some quite expensive “pop rice” 😉

A bowl with wild rice in it

Is it necessary to soak or rinse it before cooking?

It’s always a good idea to rinse the rice before cooking; this is valid for any type of rice. 

An option to do so is to use a strainer and wash it under tap water until the water becomes more or less clear

You can also add the rice and water into the same pot that you are going to use to cook the rice, giving it a good stir to get rid of the water before adding the fresh one for cooking. 

Opposed to legumes, it’s not necessary to soak wild rice prior to cooking. Soaking it might shorten the cooking time, but it will also alter the texture.   

WATCH HOW TO COOK WILD RICE (46 sec.)

How to store and how long cooked rice lasts 

Cooked wild rice can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight glass container, for about 5 days. 

Some people suggest freezing cooked wild rice, but it’s important to know that, once thawed, it’ll have a completely different texture transformed into a mushy one. 

Wild rice nutrition

Wild rice is naturally gluten-free and, of course, vegan. It’s rich in fiber and protein.

As per the USDA, 100 grams of cooked wild rice contains 4 grams of proteins, most of it represented by the amino acid called lysin. [4]

Nutrition facts of wild rice

Nutrition Facts for a Canadian Wild Rice

Wild rice benefits

The dark color of its kernels indicates the presence of anthocyanins, a defense mechanism for the plant that is beneficial for human health. [5] [6]

Wild rice contains important B vitamins and minerals; such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and manganese. It’s also rich in various antioxidant phytochemicals and fiber. [7]

As written in the publication “Nutritional constituents and health benefits of wild rice”,

“Recent scientific studies have revealed antioxidant and lipid-lowering properties of wild rice, while others have documented cardiovascular benefits associated with the long-term consumption of wild rice in experimental settings.” 

It also helps reduce cholesterol, is beneficial to digestion and can reduce heart disease.

So, is wild rice good for you? I would definitely say a big yes!

How to use it in recipes

Possibly because of its high price, it’s commonly mixed with other types of rice, creating a mix used as a side dish or for salads.

It’s often used also in pilafs, soups, stuffings, casseroles or, more recently in Buddha Bowls. 

Your turn now: Have you ever tried to cook wild rice? If not, do you think you will give this food a try? 

I hope you’ll find the information useful and don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you have any questions. 

As always, I appreciate you stopping by my blog, and if you think this post might help someone you know to make even a small step to a healthier lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to share it away!

Happy Healthy Eating!

A big hug,

A white cocotte with wild black rice in it

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Tools needed for this recipe

Induction Cooktop

Stainless Steel Pots

Wooden Spoon

Strainer

Mini Cocotte – Le Creuset

How To Cook Wild Rice

A white cocotte with wild rice in it

Wild rice is a great option for Meal Planning or Batch Cooking. It’s nutty and delicate taste makes this food a delicious ingredient to be used in different dishes; such as salads or Buddha Bowls. 

  • Author: Claudia Canu
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 45 min
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Healthy
Scale

Ingredients

1 cup of wild rice

1 cup of water

½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Add water and salt into a pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Rinse the rice and add it to the boiling water.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil again.
  4. Turn the heat to medium-low and leave the lid slightly open.
  5. Let the rice simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. After 40 minutes, check the texture. It shouldn’t be hard in the middle.
  7. If there is still water left, drain.

Keywords: wild rice, how to cook

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8 responses to “Wild Rice – How To Cook It And Why Eat It”

  1. Brian Jones says:

    I love wild rice and will often use it in a stuffing mix or all sorts of things, it has such a great earthy nutty flavour.

  2. Jeannette (Jay Joy) says:

    I love recipes that tell us nutritional factors which actually benefit our health. This is good news! (Anthocyanins, a defense mechanism for the plant that is beneficial for human health.)

  3. The Panicked Foodie (https://thepanickedfoodie.com) says:

    Wild rice is actually my favorite rice! It has such an amazing flavor, and holds up really well in casseroles and soups. While it is expensive, it’s definitely worth the price for the flavor!

  4. Amanda Wren-Grimwood says:

    I love the nuttiness of wild rice but I tend to cook a batch of it and freeze it in small portions to add to other dishes when I need to. You’ve reminded me that I haven’t had some in a while – delicious!

    • Doesn’t the rice become mushy after the thaw? I tried once with white rice and I didn’t like its taste. I have still to try it with the wild rice though.

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