This Minnesota Wild Rice Pasta Salad recipe and post is in paid partnership with New World Pasta company.
All opinions are my own, always. Find our full disclosure here.
Chicken and wild rice are part of the Minnesota culture as much as lakes and mosquitos are. If you've grown up in MN you are bound to have had wild rice pancakes, wild rice hot dish (yes! we call it hot dish here in MN and it applies to anything in a casserole pan :)), wild rice salad, and primarily...Chicken and Wild Rice salad.
As a child, my family didn't eat alot of wild rice dishes in our home. Wild rice is quite expensive, nor did my mom (not a great cook) feel terribly comfy using it. I have yet to ask her if she hadn't discovered the stuff in the can or, perhaps, it hadn't yet been packaged that way? Whatever the reason, my exposure to wild rice was limited to the times we ate at restaurants, other brave homes that had all 12 of us for dinner (!), and my grandmother's home.
I have a memory of eating dinner at another family's home that served a chicken and wild rice salad that I adored. I'm sure I was more than rude shoving my face with it. Sorry, folks!
For this recipe I'm thrilled to partner with Creamette pasta because I use them regularly (that 13 year old boy eats pounds of it!) ?:
- 47 of Creamette’s pasta products -- from ziti to spaghetti to rigatoni -- are now Non-GMO Project Verified, the most trusted sign that a product is produced through best practices for GMO avoidance.
- The Non-GMO Project is the only entity in North America that offers third-party verification and labeling for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.
- Over 200 pasta products from Ronzoni®, Creamette®, San Giorgio®, American Beauty®, Prince® and Skinner® now carry the Non GMO Project Verified logo.
- The verification is yet another way Creamette is demonstrating its commitment to responding to new, consumer-driven food trends and leading the way in the pasta category.
Tip: Rinse your cooked pasta well with cold water, leave it in the colander, and pour ice into it. It will cool down rapidly and allow you to make your salad right away without waiting as long for the pasta to cool.
I had no idea, then, that that wild rice salad was a bit different than most because of the use of pasta in it. Truly, wild rice salad is usually made to be served on croissants or buns. But adding pasta to the salad stretches it, is more budget-friendly, and allows it to be fantastic to make ahead and serve to a crowd. All things my younger self didn't grasp but my adult self greatly appreciates!
The recipe adds in elbow macaroni and additional wet ingredients to compensate for the added dryness. It still stays true to the traditional chicken and wild rice salads...with an improvement of delicious pasta and the ease of canned wild rice. It is creamy, bright, earthy, and satisfying. You'll want to bring this to your next potluck!
I don't know how close this recipe is to the one I had as a child but it is utterly delicious! Because my kids adore this recipe I make a double batch and keep it in the fridge to serve for lunch and dinner. Levi is a pasta-eating machine and will go through this salad in hours.
Chicken Wild Rice Pasta Salad
- 1 15 oz can cooked wild rice drained.
- 2 stalks of celery diced (about 1 cup)
- 8 oz Creamette elbow macaroni cooked according to package instructions, drained, cooled.
- 1 cup grapes halved
- 1/2 cup almonds chopped
- 1 lb cooked chicken or turkey diced
- 1 1/2 cups mayo
- 3/4 cups Greek yogurt plain
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dried Thyme
- salt & pepper
- Combine dressing ingredients first, set aside.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the dressing and stir.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (you'll be adding at least 1 tablespoon of salt--be prepared)
- Chill for at least 2 hours prior to serving (best if it chills overnight).