Native Americans began cultivating wild rice many millennia ago. An important staple in this traditional diet, various tribes across the northern United States and Canada developed hundreds of heirloom varieties during this time.
Given the nutrient density of wild rice, it makes sense why ancestral North American cultures prized it so highly and cultivated it so carefully!
The book Wild Rice and The Ojibway People written in 1900 claims wild rice to be the most nutritive single food which the Indians of North America consumed. Combined with maple sugar, bison, deer, and other meats, this traditional diet is certainly more nutritious than the average American of today and perhaps even those living early in the last century as well.
Wild Rice Dishes
In our modern culture, wild rice is an easy hack to your family’s menu plan. It is a huge upgrade to dinnertime, especially in comparison to white or brown rice.
Most of the time you encounter wild rice, though, it is in restaurants or at business conferences served as a rather flavorless side dish. At best it is mixed with a few slivered almonds.
While this is acceptable, wild rice can be so much more!
When paired with the right foods and cooked in properly made bone broth, wild rice can serve as a much richer dish and even be a meal in itself.
If you’ve been looking for a heartier way to serve wild rice, try this casserole recipe below. It was developed by my sister’s Mother-in-Law many years ago while she was living in Minnesota.
Wild rice is a very important commodity in Minnesota due to the thousands of cold water lakes, which makes for perfect growing conditions. Cultivating heirloom varieties is an important industry in the Great Lakes region in general. This is in keeping with the tradition and spirit of the Native Americans in the area.
I can honestly say that it is the best tasting wild rice dish I’ve ever tried!
Soaked Wild Rice Casserole
Traditional wild rice casserole that is filling enough to be a meal in itself. Can also be served as a hearty side dish to the main course. Reheats well for delicious leftovers.
- 3/4 cup wild rice
- 1.5 cups tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives sliced
- 5-6 mushrooms sliced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds preferably sprouted
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 cup chicken bone broth warm
- 1 dash sea salt
- 1 dash black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese optional, monterey jack or cheddar suggested
Mix wild rice in a medium bowl with enough filtered water to cover. Soak for 4-8 hours or overnight.
Drain wild rice and mix with other ingredients in a glass casserole dish.
Cover and bake for 1.5 hours in a preheated 350 F/ 177 C oven.
When done, remove casserole from oven and mix in optional shredded cheese.
Serve and enjoy as a very nutritious side dish or by itself as the main meal.
Refrigerate leftovers. Reheats well!
You may substitute herbs de provence for marjoram if desired.
Substitute chopped artichokes for the black olive if you prefer.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.