Saweet Pecan and Wild Rice Salad

Do you people watch?

If you haven’t tried it, you must! It’s a great way to pass time, especially at the airport!

I was in line at the post office yesterday and as always, was observing the people around me.

There was a lady that kept checking her phone for what must have been an important email she was waiting for.

The man in front of her wouldn’t stop nervously tapping his left foot. I felt like giving him a hug, but I refrained myself.

And then, there was the McPusher.

Background: Mom and 3 kids. The two of them were twins; about 7 years old, and the third was maybe 5.

Mom: ‘After we’re done here we’re going to have some dinner’

Kids: ‘Yum, ya! I’m hungry!!’

‘They have veggie burgers at our favorite restaurant’

‘Ew, veggie burgers. I don’t like veggie burgers’

‘You don’t like veggie burgers from Mc…’

‘MCDONALDS! No veggie burgers from McDonalds!’

‘We could go to the vegetable restaurant and have wheat grass’

‘Gross, wheat grass. I want a KidMac!’

[the youngest one started crying at this point because she didn't want to go to the vegetable restaurant]

‘We could have KidMac’s with extra cucumbers!’


‘We could have KidMac’s with red peppers and deep fried carrots’

‘No! McDonalds, McDonalds, McDonalds’ [chanting]

‘Okay, we’ll go to McDonalds, no vegetables!’

‘Yay! I love you, Mom’

Anyone else see something incredibly wrong with this?

I stood there in aw. Did that mom just encourage her kids to choose McDonalds over vegetables?

[If you're interested, please see read: Food For Thought: My Personal Reflection on Nutrition Choices, a follow up to the above]

Warning: there are LOTS of veggies in this recipe. No deep fried carrots though.


Saweet Pecan and Wild Rice Salad

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

Black beans, pecans, anise and wild rice tossed in a sweet teriyaki sauce.


  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce – I used Braggs soy sauce [gluten free]
  • 1 tablespoon agave or raw unpasteurized honey
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoon arrowroot powder *see note
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon currants
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
  • Himalayan rock salt + fresh pepper, to taste


To make the rice: place wild rice, basmati, and water in a medium saucepan or rice cooker. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 30-45 minutes, or until water is gone and rice is al dente. Remove cover, transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool for 1 hour.

To make the sauce: combine soy sauce, agave/honey, oil, ginger, and arrowroot in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

Bringing it all together: place remaining veggies, nuts, and spices in a large bowl. Add rice and sauce to the mix and stir to coat.

Makes ~5 cups of salad, or 4-6 servings.

note: arrowroot powder can be substituted with 1 teaspoon of potato starch or corn starch


This salad has been a great addition to my lunch kit this week. The weather has been nice enough this week that I’ve been able to eat outside everyday.

Unfortunately the rest of the week doesn’t look so great. It was good while it lasted!

To all the moms out there: do you take your kids to McDonalds?

What types of ‘rules’  [if any] do you have around the food that’s in your house?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Yikes! That sounds a little scary – I remember I used to have McDonalds.. occasionally as a young child.. as a treat. Who knows.. maybe the mom had planned this treat for them and just wanted to make them squirm a little bit!

    I don’t have kids – and I don’t think McDonald’s is a healthy option…but to be honest, I may let my future children have fast food occasionaly.. mainly because I think my boyfriend would go insane ifI never allowed it. So let me reword… HE will bring them to McDonalds.. most like WITHOUTmy knowledge ;)

  2. Oh my gosh – That is absolutely horrendous what the mom did! My niece and nephew know that I will laugh at them if they ever ask me to take them to McDonald’s. They don’t even try anymore.

  3. that salad looks so good! I’m going to make it this week.

    I do take our little one to Wendy’s once in awhile. Very rare. We get the fries there. Honestly, it’s not something I like to do, but sometimes we do have to go somewhere when out and about, and with her allergies, Wendy’s is a safe option.

    McDonald’s? Makes her sick. We had fries there when on vacation and they made her physically sick. Cross-contamination? Who knows. But we don’t do there anymore.

    My thoughts on fast food: My little one is an amazing eater. She LOVES fruits and veggies. She eats a very healthy, varied diet. So, for her to have a treat once every couple months or so, I see no problem with. I guess I want her to grow up with food being a non-issue. So many kids tend to “rebel” at some point when given the option, so if she has a treat once in awhile now, maybe we can avoid that in the future.

  4. I don’t have children but I think this is becoming more common. I see a lot of parents who open cereal, chip, granola bar packages etc. in the supermarket to give to their kids. I think it’s an attempt to find the quickest way to keep their kids from having a meltdown. I don’t know. I remember when I was growing up, if I wanted a snack – I’d have to wait. If I threw a tantrum, I’d get in trouble and fast food like McD’s was a treat (and still is – though not a very good treat).

    Your salad looks really yummy! I’m going to give it a try on the weekend.You sure you won’t reconsider the fried carrots ;)

    • I see that often too. We had the same rules growing up. You just didn’t throw a tantrum, that was it! I agree, McD’s can be a treat. We went there a couple of times as kids… it just wasn’t positioned the way the mom at the post office positioned it! And I’ll stick to a fried carrot free salad!

  5. omgg this looks delicious!! I love wild rice more than anything in the world. I have never bought currants before but I might need to and make this asap! Enjoy your “warm” weather its 61 here and im jumping for joy!

  6. I love people watching – I can seriously zone out and people watch for a while!!

    When Adam was younger we’d go to McDonald’s every once in a while – but I can honestly say we haven’t been there in forever! Since we’re both vegetarian, there is pretty much nothing we can eat there. At least nothing substantial or the least bit healthy. That said, Sam still eats at McDonald’s – so we need to convert him! :)

    • Do you think he will EVER be converted? I often think it’s a lost cause when I try to help Kevin with his eating haha

  7. you have no idea how annoying it is as a parent to have either other parents undermine my decisions, oh little skylar, you dont like salad do you, you’re only 4? (yes, she likes it, and its what shes been raised on!) or overhear other parents in this type of interchange and have my kid overhear it and be confused (like why arent they eating their veggies and what does it say about me that i like them…and at 4 that’s a lot to rationalize)…
    Trust me, i could go on and on.

    Parenting is HARD WORK, the hardest job ever…and sometimes shortcuts and special treats are needed and you just have to bend and adapt with the situation, but as a general rule, veggies, old school, get back to basics, what Vicky above me said!

    • Wow, I don’t know if I’d be able to keep my cool if another parent said that to my child. You’re right, if Skylar has grown up on salads… she’ll like salads! I can imagine that rationalization at 4 is quite challenging. Good for you for sticking through it though.
      I don’t doubt for a second that parenting is the hardest job on the planet. Treats and easy meals are a necessity at times! I love your general veggie rule!

  8. That salad looks awesome. Love teriyaki flavor.
    What a weird conversation. I never see McD’s as an option there are always healthier options even if it just involves going to a grocery store and buying fresh fruit and veggies(I’m kind of talking about when traveling because we don’t have one in town, but we do have other fast food). The last time I remember eating traditional fast food was at least 3 years ago and it was nasty. I’d rather go hungry than go back. Ever. The only time my kids have had “fast food” was at a local restaurant where you can actually taste potato in the fries and you watch the burgers being made etc. Still not good for you but better than McD’s, and when it’s maybe once a year I don’t feel bad. Totally agree with Averie’s comment above. Yeah, my son likes salad and will ask for it for a snack. And yet everyone around me pushes candy and junk food like that’s all he’s supposed to like. Seriously? Don’t undermine the parent when they’re doing a good thing. Jeez. Haha.

  9. I have three kids ages 6, 4 and 2. None of them have ever been to McDonald’s…oops, sorry, my son went there once on one of his playschool field trips but I packed him a lunch. It helps a lot when we are gluten intolerant :) Best thing to ever happen to us, I think. My kids have also never had pop, except for one unfortunate incident when my son was 14 months old.
    The fastest way for my kids to get nothing they want is to whine. I try VERY hard to never give in to demanding kids. But I do people watch, and some parents these days are CRAZY!!
    I watched an exchange between a 3 year old girl and her parents at Old Navy one day. They had a stroller full of stuff for her and the mom pulled out a pair of rubber boots…all of a sudden the girl is screaming that she doesn’t want THOSE ONES…so then the mom tries to get the dad to take them back…as soon as he turns to leave she starts screaming again that she wants them. Same thing with a piggy bank that dad thought she just HAD to have. If one of my kids pulled that crap on me in a store, not only would I save a lot of money by putting everything back but they wouldn’t come with me again for a very long time.
    I am studying holistic nutrition so I people watch at the grocery store. I try really hard not to judge or cringe too badly but when I see a woman with 4 kids hanging off the cart with the bottom filled with boxes of canned pop and boxes of fruit loops and chocolate covered granola bars, it gets tough :) It seems that common sense has flown out the window too, I know of one friend whose three year old son gets his OWN Iced Cappuccino at Tim’s (one of those bad boys has more caffeine than a cup of Tim’s coffee, never mind the sugar and artificial flavors.colors). I’m going to stop now because I could rant for pages about what parents feed their kids these days and what they consider “food”. I have three kids that love sweets, but they also eat kale chips like there’s no tomorrow, and while they don’t really care that much for broccoli, they don’t meltdown when there is more spinach in their frittata than eggs :)

    • Hi JT – thank so much for your comment! I couldn’t agree with you more. I too a Holistic Nutritionist and find it painful to watch families’ grocery carts. I know that many people think that eating healthy is too expensive, so they resort to the fruit loops, pop, and granola bars. I know there are other reasons, not being educated in nutrition, or understanding what choices are good/bad, or sometimes their financial situation is so grave, that even attempting to eat healthy, is not an option (this kills me more than anything!). Many people believe that granola bars are good for you (I know I was one of those people!). What kills me is that healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive! You can make your own granola bars from home, in 30 minutes for a fraction of the cost of the store bought stuff. You can make oatmeal from rolled oats, flax and water for pennies a day!
      I cannot get over the child with the iced cap. That amazes me. I don’t even have caffeine now, and I’m 25!

  10. Omg this is terrible!! I think it’s a parents fault for their children being overweight. I was taken to McDonalds all the time as a kid, hell I grew up on fast food. Little did I know as a kid that I was poisoning my body with junk. I was talking to my bf the other day about if we had kids taking them to eat fast food and he said he never would. I kind of agreed. There are so many options out there, it’s your job as a parent to educate. My friends live off fast food which why they are all obese :(

  11. Dude. That is ridiculous. I understand that in extreme time crunches, moms often resort to going to McD’s, but if and when I become a mom, I dont think I will ever take my kids there. They will definitely be allowed to have occasional junk food, but I dont think the extra chemicals and processing that goes into fast food is necessary for something to qualify as a ‘treat.’

  12. I’m not a mom, but when I was little mcdonalds was a treat and just that. Birthday parties, baseball parties, etc. It wasn’t a regular night meal ever.

  13. That is seriously wrong. I see so many mums driving through maccas (as we call it here in Australia) after they’ve picked up their kids from school. Just sad.

    This salad sounds like something I would definitely enjoy. I have a packet of black rice I could use, I think that could go really well too. :-)

  14. I just think it is a littlte weird that parents take their kids to mcDonalds when they want to treat them. McD food IS crap, and learning the kids that that is was is good just makes the kids want it more! At least thats what I think :) They should take them out a nice restaurant or health food fast
    food place instead:)
    Your salad looks great, wild rice is soo good!

  15. confession: i haven’t given wild rice near enough of a chance as i should have by now. i’m not a huge fan of brown rice but it’s high time i give it another chance, or at least some kind of rice :]

    what a bizarre (and sad) convo! my boss’s mom brings his son to mcd’s all the time it seems. it sort of breaks my heart. i mean, i’m not saying he should never be allowed mcd’s, but sometimes it seems like they go every other day! buuuut, not my place to say anything or even think anything. growing up i had mcd’s every so often but my mom was also persistant that i eat my veggies. (thanks, mom!) though i will say whining kids drive me nuts – moreso when parents give in. or maybe i’m just jealous because my mom was solid as a rock. no meant NO! haha. (again – thanks, mom!)

    p.s. i haven’t forgotten about the guest post! it’s mostly written, i’ve just gotta put in the pictures. i’ll send it to you tomorrow! sorry for being so slow.

  16. yum that looks so good! im not a mom yet so i guess i can’t really speak…but i remember going to mcdonald’s when i was younger and never became a problem (weight wise). i think thats bc my mom would put her foot down when we would beg her for bad food. i kinda think thats the issue for some people, they need to say ‘no we’re not going to mcdonald’s’ and thats that. bc obviously kids want a cheeseburger and fries over vegetables…they’re kids!

  17. This looks so tasty! It’s a perfect summer dish and especially good to save for leftovers!

  18. Wow.. that is terrible. I don’t understand how people do not like veges. As a kid, my afternoon snack was pickles, sauerkraut, olives and other pickled veges. I am glad I happen to like veges/fruit because if i didn’t.. being vegan would be very hard. I guess it depends where and how you grow up…

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