Wild Rice Salad with Ciabatta Croutons


Starring hearty wild rice and toasty ciabatta croutons, this satisfying side dish comes together entirely on the stovetop, freeing up oven space. Bread and wild rice carry this dressing-meets-salad mash-up, but it's the flavorful additions that steal the show, namely salty pancetta, crunchy pine nuts, buttery olives, and plenty of fresh parsley.

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins


  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice (about 12 ounces), rinsed 

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 

  • 8 ounces ciabatta, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups) 

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 

  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • .50 cup pine nuts

  • 2 large leeks (about 1 1/2 pounds), white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and separated into rings 

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper 

  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced 

  • .50 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • .50 cup (4 ounces) dry white wine 

  • 1.50 cups drained pitted Castelvetrano olives, coarsely chopped 

  • 1 cup chicken broth 

  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar


  1. Place wild rice in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high. Add 1 tablespoon salt; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until rice is tender, about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain well. Spread wild rice on a large baking sheet; set aside to let cool until ready to use.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread bread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until lightly toasted, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 5 minutes.

  3. Wipe saucepan clean. Add oil to pan, and heat over medium. Add pancetta; cook, stirring occasionally, until fat has rendered but pancetta is not yet crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pine nuts; cook, stirring constantly, until pine nuts are golden and pancetta is crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta mixture to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Reserve drippings in pan.

  4. Add leeks, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to drippings in pan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and leeks are just starting to brown around edges, about 4 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring constantly, until mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add olives and broth; bring to a boil over medium. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat.

  5. Combine leek mixture, rice, bread, pancetta mixture, parsley, and vinegar in a large bowl; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Wild Rice Salad with Ciabatta Croutons
    Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

Make Ahead

Rice can be cooked up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Ciabatta croutons can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

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