Add Wild Foods to Your Diet for an Easy Flavor and Nutrition Boost

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As more and more people continue to be interested in where their food comes from, it’s no surprise that wild foods are gaining in popularity. Wild foods, like Wild Blueberries, have never been hybridized or modified by man to alter any of their natural attributes. They are not planted and only grow where mother nature intended. They are nature in its purest and most authentic form. People also gravitate towards wild foods because they believe them to be healthier and taste better. Today we’re celebrating wild foods because Wild Foods Day is around the corner on October 28th!

Most wild foods have a rich history because they’ve been around for thousands and thousands of years. Wild Blueberries have been around for over 10,000 years and thrive in the harsh growing conditions of Maine and Eastern Canada. Wild Blueberries naturally protect themselves by producing phytochemicals (like anthocyanin) to combat stressful environmental conditions. This is one reason why smaller Wild Blueberries have 2x the antioxidants per serving of the larger cultivated blueberries that have been bred to grow on farms all over the world.

It’s these potent phytochemicals that give Wild Blueberries their deep-blue color and potential health benefits including gut health, heart health, diabetes, cancer, and brain health. I suppose Native North Americans were on to something believing the Wild Blueberry had magical powers.

To enjoy the flavor and health benefits of Wild Blueberries requires no foraging. Wild Blueberries are one of the most accessible wild foods to us because they are harvested at their peak of ripeness and frozen to lock in nutrition and flavor. You can find them in the frozen aisle of your local grocery store all year round.

If you’re looking to incorporate more wild foods into your diet to reap some of the health benefits then you’re going to love this recipe, which includes three different wild foods and is perfect for fall. This Wild Foods Salad contains wild rice, flaked wild salmon, Wild Blueberries, arugula, butternut squash, and pecans and is topped off with a maple vinaigrette. It’s hearty thanks to the grains and butternut squash and full of flavor thanks to all the wild foods!

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Wild Foods Salad with Wild Blueberries

For the salad:
1 cup dry wild rice, rinsed
2 cups cubed butternut squash
½ tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 lbs wild salmon
2 cups arugula
1 cup frozen Wild Blueberries, defrosted
½ cup chopped pecans

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place rice in saucepan and add 4 cups water and salt. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover the pan and let simmer until rice is tender and chewy, about 45-60 minutes. When rice is done, drain any remaining liquid. Fluff the rice with a fork, transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
3. Transfer butternut squash to baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to coat.
4. Roast squash until tender and lightly browned, about 25-30 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Transfer butternut squash to the large bowl with rice. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
5. Place wild salmon on the same parchment-lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 300 degrees F until medium or until salmon flakes, about 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness.
6. In the large bowl with the squash and rice, add arugula, Wild Blueberries and pecans. Add dressing and toss to evenly coat the ingredients.
7. Flake the salmon and divide evenly over each serving.

For the dressing:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard. Add olive oil while continuing to whisk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Kara Lydon

About the Author

Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT is a nationally recognized food and nutrition expert and yoga teacher based in Boston. Kara offers nutrition & culinary coaching, consults with corporate wellness clients, and partners with like-minded food brands and organizations on recipe development, food photography, and nutrition communications and marketing. Kara has most recently been featured in Fitness, Shape, Today’s Dietitian, Environmental Nutrition, and Food & Nutrition Magazine. Her food and healthy living blog, The Foodie Dietitian, features delicious seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more yoga and mindfulness into your life. She has been featured on The Kitchn, BuzzFeed, TODAY, and SELF. Kara previously led health communication strategy for Chobani, Inc., where she pioneered an integrated program targeting health professionals, and served as the key nutrition spokesperson for America’s #1 selling Greek Yogurt brand.