Simple Sundays | Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing

Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing |

I found a grey hair the other morning. Right up front, with nowhere to hide, staring at me defiantly in the mirror, threatening me to face the fact: You are another year older.

Age. I often forget about it, until someone asks, and then I have to actually do the math. It’s only once I complete the subtraction that I remember how old I am, and truth be told, I like how I feel at this age, whatever it is. It sure beats my mid twenties, though at the time, that felt pretty awesome, too.

But this grey hair business felt like a punch in the stomach. And this same week I’ve been dealing with some lower back pain from one of my workouts, and all of a sudden I wasn’t liking the idea of getting older.

Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing | | Apricots
Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing | | Apricot Dressing

Is this what it means? Living with a grey hair (and a half) and some pesky aches and pains?

Perhaps. If you’re younger than me, I’ll let you know. If you’re older than me, please fill me in.

I have one more year before I leave my 30’s behind, and this little flash of a midlife crisis may indicate that there’s more to come. But I will say that as I get older, my idea of a good birthday celebration has changed since I was in my twenties.

Back then, a good birthday meant a whole week of outings with good friends, lots of dinners out, visits to places I loved – museums, outdoor concerts, the ballet, even. This year, I celebrated solitude.

Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing |
Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing |

My husband whisked the children off to the office early that morning – his company hosted Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day – leaving me with a day to myself. I was free to do as I pleased, given the gift of time and silence, at least until we celebrated with dinner out upon their return. My twenty-five year old self would have suffered at the thought, but I welcomed it gladly.

I made this Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing. It’s a salad made just for me, but I know you will love it, too. It features sweet CandyCots, which we have been savoring, knowing its season will be short lived. There are crunchy slivers of raw almonds, morsels of tangy goat cheese, and chewy cranberries. But the best part is the Apricot Dressing, which I have been using on more than just this salad. It has the sweet, it has the sour, and it has the savory. It reminds me that I can not appreciate the balance of silence without experiencing the din of youth, however fleeting that may be.

Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing |

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Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing

Yield: Serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

I can't tell you how much I love this salad. To me, it's the perfect side dish or lunch, and a great way to use up leftover rice from the night before. With a little bit of sweet and lot of savory, the texture is fantastic, too. If you have access to CandyCots, I highly recommend it in this salad.


For the Apricot Dressing:
5-6 ripe apricots, pitted and halved
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil

For the Salad:
1 cup cooked wild rice, cooled*
6 fresh apricots, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup goat cheese
Apricot Dressing
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt


Blend the apricots, sugar, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and lemon juice in a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it emulsifies into a creamy consistency. If preparing in advance, refrigerate in a sealed container, and whisk well before serving.

In a large bowl, stir together the wild rice, apricots, almonds, dried cranberries and goat cheese. Dress with several tablespoons of Apricot Dressing. Season to taste with fresh pepper and salt, if desired.

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by Liren Baker on June 23, 2013

15 Responses to “Simple Sundays | Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing”

  1. Maria McCloud June 23, 2013 @ 10:08 am (#

    I laughed when I read this post because I felt the same way when age started to come after me (I have almost a decade on you). And I totally understand celebrating solitude. Funny how life begins to flip flop on us. Yep, lots more of the bodily woes are a-comin’! Celebrate all the beauty and love surrounding you, though, for it has the power to erase the effects of Father Time.

    • Liren replied: — June 23rd, 2013 @ 10:52 am

      So true, I am definitely embracing this time and those around me. I hear 40’s are even better than 30’s, so when I cross that threshold next year, I will keep that in mind!

  2. Marcie @ Flavor the Moments June 23, 2013 @ 10:14 am (#

    I have to laugh…I’m sorry. You feel old at 29, and I guess I shouldn’t laugh because I did, too. I found my first gray hair in my early 20s, and i have to color my hair consistently now. I may be older, but I don’t have to look like it! You’re just a baby compared to me, but I understand the aches and pains. You’re just starting out! lol As for this salad, it looks wonderful, and I love the sound of that apricot dressing. We’re loving apricots here right now, and I think even the kids would eat it!

    • Liren replied: — June 23rd, 2013 @ 10:56 am

      29, oh how I wish! Let’s add 10 to that…I’m officially a 39 year old. I did find my very first grey hair when I was 18 (it’s still in my journal, ha!), but this new grey was the first since then and a shocker! But as they say, age is just a number, right?!?

      The apricots have been amazing, it will surely tempt your kids in this salad :)

  3. Simone June 23, 2013 @ 10:25 am (#

    You’re still so young….:) Happy birthday by the way too!! And yes the grey hairs will get worse, that’s inevitable but the aches and pains don’t have to be! You’re gonna be fine.. Not much to be done about getting older anyway! ;)

    • Liren replied: — June 23rd, 2013 @ 10:58 am

      Aw, thanks Simone. I’m going to embrace it, after all, I do prefer this age to the twenties. But when I turn 40 next year, I think there will be that weird psychological barrier, LOL. I’ll just have to remedy it with a BIG cake ;)

  4. Eileen June 23, 2013 @ 11:42 am (#

    This sounds so good! I don’t think I’ve 3ever had fresh apricots in a salad, although dried have definitely made an appearance. Clearly now is the best time to try it fresh!

    • Liren replied: — June 23rd, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

      Hi Eileen, thanks! If you like dried apricots in a salad, then you’ll love fresh!

  5. Kiran @ June 23, 2013 @ 1:44 pm (#

    this post reminded me so much when I discovered how much I despised growing “old” ;) that’s another discussion for some day.

    For now, I need this salad in my life!

  6. Laura (Tutti Dolci) June 23, 2013 @ 11:16 pm (#

    Oh, I love this salad! Perfect use for the CandyCots I can’t resist buying.

    (And you, my friend, are anything but “old”!)

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook June 25, 2013 @ 3:07 pm (#

    When I lift my hair up, I have so many grey hairs… I know it’s from lack of sleep (blame on blogging!)… getting really old and fast! >_< Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Liren! What a wonderful way to use apricots. Apricot dressing looks really delicious!

  8. Amy Tong June 25, 2013 @ 11:42 pm (#

    Oh…grey hair…I’m not dare to look too close to the mirror. Just like you, I often forget how old I am until someone asked and I had to count….that was the case until I hit the big 40 a few months ago! :P But oh well, I think as long as we don’t feel old, we’re good to go, right? Don’t worry about that one silver hair. I think that just added a little bit more charm! ;)

    This Wild Rice Salad with Apricots & Almonds and Apricot Dressing sounds like something I would definitely enjoy! Can’t say the same for the rest of my family. So, I’ll definitely try it when I get the “me” time! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! July 2, 2013 @ 5:47 am (#

    First I loved the plate, Second I loved the dish and Third you are a baby…how about going on 63….

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