This gorgeous kale and wild rice salad is loaded with so many delicious ingredients: chicken, avocados, feta, almonds, apples, and more! It’s so good!

Sometimes a really loaded, really pretty, really delicious salad is exactly what my January doldrum heart needs.

And this salad is like a big burst of happiness in a bowl. The flavors! The textures! That delectable dressing. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and die a happy woman.

White bowl of kale and wild salad topped with diced avocado's and feta cheese.

Loaded with All the Good Things

Let’s take a quick look at all the yummy ingredients in this salad that starts with a base of kale or power greens.

  • brown/wild rice
  • grilled or cooked chicken
  • craisins
  • toasted almonds
  • honeycrisp apple
  • fresh basil (but if you can’t find it, just add a pinch of dried basil to the dressing)
  • avocado
  • feta cheese

And as with any good salad, the ingredients could be swapped in and out depending on your taste preferences and/or creativity level.

For instance, I think roasted sweet potatoes or roasted butternut squash would be amazing added to this salad. And the grilled chicken could easily be swapped for another protein or left out for a meatless salad.

Assembling salad with greens, wild and brown rice, grilled chicken, craisins, almonds, avocados, feta cheese.

Balsamic Dressing

The dressing for this salad is fresh, light, and tangy. It includes balsamic vinegar as well as fresh lemon juice.

For the balsamic, you can use regular (dark) balsamic vinegar or white balsamic. I have a delicious mango white balsamic in my pantry, and it is incredible in this dressing.

Red or white wine vinegar will also work. Blend everything together. It’s that easy!

This is a lightly dressed salad, so if you prefer a higher dressing to salad ratio, you might want to double the dressing.

Blending cilantro, dijon mustard, oil, honey and vinegar in blender.
Pouring cilantro dressing over kale and wild rice salad.

Dress It Up

Sometimes with big main dish salads like this, I prefer serving the dressing on the side in case there are leftovers.

Too many times I’ve faced leftover salad in the fridge that has become decidedly less appealing overnight thanks to the soggy, limp lettuce and other questionable ingredients. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

But all of the ingredients in this salad (minus the avocado) hold up very well to the dressing and as leftovers! (If you anticipate leftovers, consider serving the avocado on the side.)

Drizzle the dressing over the top, give a light toss, and dig in!

Scooping serving of kale and wild rice salad with salad tongs.

Recipes From Friends

This recipe comes highly recommended from my cousin-in-law, Tami, who I trust impeccably when it comes to recipes and food.

She sent the recipe to me saying it was one of the best salads of her life and that I needed to make it ASAP. I did. And I can’t disagree. It’s a keeper…and a recipe I will be making over and over.

I kept my greens in larger pieces, but Tami said her friend who made it chopped the kale/greens really finely. And I can see myself opting to do the same in the future when I am a bit more ambitious and not quite as lazy.

There’s no wrong way to enjoy this salad. The wide variety of delicious ingredients and that crazy good dressing make it an absolutely stellar salad!

Fork scooping bite of wild and brown rice, greens, and dressing in white bowl.

What to Serve With This:

1-Hour Breadsticks
Fresh Fruit

One Year Ago: Amazing Instant Pot Lemon Curd 
Two Years Ago: Loaded Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Three Years Ago: Asian-Style Meatballs with Sweet Chili Sauce
Four Years Ago: Tender Greek Pork {Instant Pot or Slow Cooker} 
Five Years Ago: Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins
Six Years Ago: Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread 
Seven Years Ago: 60-Second Chocolate Chip Mug Cookie
Eight Years Ago: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Nine Years Ago: Baked Tilapia with Ginger and Cilantro 
Ten Years Ago: Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake 

serving of kale and wild rice salad in white bowl with fork

Kale and Wild Rice Salad

5 stars (22 ratings)

Ingredients

Salad:

  • ¾ cup uncooked wild rice blend (see note)
  • 6 ounces (about 5 lightly packed cups) coarsely or finely chopped kale/baby spinach or a power greens mix (see note)
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (see note)
  • 1 medium honeycrisp apple, cored and diced
  • ½ to 1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted (see note)
  • ½ to 1 cup craisins or golden raisins
  • ½ to 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ to 1 cup chopped fresh basil (optional – if not in season, add a pinch of dried basil to the dressing)
  • 1 to 2 medium avocados, diced

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic (see note) or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ cup fresh cilantro

Instructions 

  • Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain (if needed) and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and well-combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
  • Assemble the salad by placing the greens in the bottom of a large serving bowl or on a platter. Top with rice, chicken, apples, almonds, craisins, feta, basil (if using), and avocados.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes

Dressing: this is a lightly dressed salad, so if you like a lot of dressing to salad ratio, consider doubling the recipe. 
Rice: this is the wild rice blend I like to use (if you have a Winco close, you can find it in the bulk bins). You can also use tri-color quinoa for a rice alternative.
Kale/Greens: for the greens, you can use all chopped kale or all chopped spinach, although I prefer using a power greens mix that has spinach, kale and other baby greens. The greens can be coarsely or finely chopped.
Chicken: a rotisserie chicken or other cooked chicken will work well for this salad. I’ve also made it by seasoning chicken tenders with salt, pepper and garlic and cooking them on the grill (you could also use an air fryer, skillet on the stovetop over medium heat, or an oven set to broil). 
Almonds: toasting the almonds adds delicious flavor and crunch – I use this easy microwave method to toast the nuts.
Balsamic Vinegar: this salad dressing is delicious with regular (dark) balsamic vinegar; it’s also delicious with white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar. 
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 225mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g
Follow @MelsKitchenCafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: by way of my cousin-in-law, Tami (and her friend who served it to her!)