caramelied sweet potato and kale fried wild rice on a plate

Thanks to Real Simple’s new issue that’s all about organizing I’ve been on an all-out organizational bender for the past week and a half…and I haven’t even cracked open the magazine! Guess I just needed to put out into the universe that I was ready to start and voila – I started.

Funny how that works.

Anyway, first up was my pantry’s rice/grain drawer which is always packed to the gills. I usually prefer brown while Ben likes white, but we both love wild rice blends and make a pot all the time as an easy yet hearty side dish with dinner. Needless to say, this drawer benefited from a little TLC!

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I used the aforementioned wild rice blend to give our standard side dish a little zing. Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice was the result!

close up photo of caramelied sweet potato and kale fried wild rice

Fried rice meets sizzling salad meets HELLO delicious in this yummy, one-skillet stir fried side dish that’s full of tongue-tingling flavor.

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Here’s the scoop: wild rice cooked in chicken broth is stir fried with caramelized sweet potatoes and crumbled cooked kale in a zippy Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette then sprinkled with roasted salted pepitas. It’s wild. Your eyes see stir fry, but your tongue tastes warm rice salad with pops of dijon, maple, and sweet potato. So, so awesome – and definitely not too sweet.

If you’re stuck in a side dish rut, make this fried wild rice with a side of sauteed chicken or even pork tenderloin (which will undoubtedly take a back seat to this succulent stir fry!)

forkful of caramelied sweet potato and kale fried wild rice

Start by cooking 3/4 cups wild rice blend in chicken broth instead of water according to package directions. You can absolutely make this a day or two ahead of time to save some…time!

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Meanwhile remove 1/2 bunch curly kale from the stems then chop to get 4 packed cups chopped kale. This is a great intro dish to kale for newbies as it’s very tender in the end.

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Tip: to easily strip the kale from the stems, grip the leaves at the thickest end of the stem then pull the stem out with the other hand (kind of like stripping fresh thyme leaves from the stem.) Saves SO much time!

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Fill a wok or large skillet with water then bring to a boil. Add kale and a heavy dash of salt then boil until tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain then, when the kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze the excess moisture out and crumble – just like you would do to a package of frozen spinach.

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Next, chop 1 medium-sized sweet potato into 1/2″ cubes to get 1-1/2 cups sweet potatoes. First peel the potato then cut it in half. Next, slice each half into 1/2″ planks.

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Lay the planks on their side then cut into 1/2″ slices, and then chop. Voila, sweet potato cubes!

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Add the sweet potatoes to 1 Tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and a dash of salt in the wok over medium-high heat then stir fry until tender and caramelized, 8-10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, mix up the Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette. That’s just 2 Tablespoons each extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Add the ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake, shake, shake!

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Add the cooked rice and kale to the caramelized sweet potatoes then drizzle in the vinaigrette and toss until sizzling.

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Whee!

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Scoop onto plates then sprinkle with roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds, y’all.) You can usually find these right in the bulk bins and they add a wonderful crunch.

Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice is unexpected, filling, and seriously delish. Although there’s both maple syrup and brown sugar in the recipe I don’t think it’s too sweet as the wild rice simmered in chicken broth and kale offset the sweetness. Hope you enjoy!

healthy caramelied sweet potato and kale fried wild rice on a plate

Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice

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Description

Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice is a flavor-packed side dish that is anything but forgettable!

Ingredients

serves 4 as a side dish

  • 3/4 cups wild rice blend + chicken broth to cook it in
  • 1 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • 1-1/2 cups 1/2″ cubed sweet potato (about 1 medium-sized sweet potato)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 cups packed chopped curly kale (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas
  • For the Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette:
    • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned or finely minced
    • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions using chicken or vegetable broth in place of water. Set aside. (Can be made ahead of time.)
  2. Add ingredients for Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid then shake to combine and set aside.
  3. Fill a wok or large skillet with water then bring to a boil. Add a heavy dash of salt and kale then boil until tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain, then when kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water with hands, crumble, and then set aside.
  4. Turn heat down to medium-high then melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and sweet potatoes, season with salt, then saute until tender and caramelized, 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add kale, cooked rice and Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette to the wok then toss to combine. Serve topped with pepitas.

Notes

To easily strip the kale from the stems, grip the leaves at the thickest end of the stem then pull the stem out with the other hand (kind of like stripping fresh thyme leaves from the stem.)

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

photo collage of caramelied sweet potato and kale fried wild rice