Episode Guide: Wild Rice in Minnesota Img

We’ll dig into the history of the “food that grows on water,” see how it’s harvested and processed, sample decolonized cuisine that includes wild rice at the James Beard award-winning Owamni with Sioux Chef Sean Sherman and even taste how wild rice shows up at the biggest state fair in America, the “Great Minnesota Get Together” where Capri is joined by Andrew Zimmern.

Harvesting Wild Rice

Capri meets with Anishinaabe rice collectors, Jeff & Michelle Harper (husband & wife) to learn about its sacred history, see how it’s harvested and try her hand at “knocking” rice into the canoe. Jeff’s sister, Laurie Harper shows Capri the three basic steps and lets her try all three: parching (stirring in a kettle over a wood fire), jigging (loosening the seed from the hull by stepping or dancing on the rice), winnowing (tossing seeds and hulls up into the air so hull floats away and the seed falls back into a birch tray).

Read more about the Harper family and their focus on sharing Anishinaabe traditions with both their children and the community.  

Capri visits Owamni restaurant and hears from The Sioux Chef Sean Sherman about how he’s reviving Native American cuisine by presenting America’s first decolonized menu (without ingredients brought to North America by Europeans). Sean shows Capri how he makes their hand-harvested wild rice dish with currants and root vegetables. Owamni prioritizes purchasing foods from indigenous providers, and has cut out colonial ingredients, including beef, pork, chicken, and dairy products. 

Native Wild Rice & Grain Salad


  • 1 cup wild rice, cooked with a handful of dried currants (Real wild rice is parched over fire, which lends a subtle smoky flavor to it. Substitute: Basmati rice with currants for a similar texture and sweetness)
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup mixed foraged mushrooms, such as morels or chanterelles (Substitute: Shiitake or cremini mushrooms)
  • 2 cups mixed greens, like dandelion greens, lambsquarters, and mustard greens (Substitute: Arugula, spinach, and kale)
  • 1 cup cooked mixed corn (heirloom varieties preferred)
  • 1/4 cup dandelion pesto (Substitute: Basil pesto)
  • Optional: Braised bison or turkey, shredded


  1. Prepare the Grains: Cook the wild rice with dried currants and quinoa separately. Allow them to cool.
  2. Sauté the Mushrooms: In a skillet, sauté the foraged mushrooms in a bit of oil until they are tender and browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. Assemble the Salad: In a large bowl, combine the cooled wild rice, quinoa, sautéed mushrooms, mixed greens, and cooked corn. Toss gently to mix.
  4. Dress the Salad: Add the dandelion pesto to the salad and toss until everything is evenly coated.
  5. Add Protein (Optional): Add braised bison or turkey to the salad and toss gently to combine.
  6. Serve: Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled, garnished with extra herbs or edible flowers for a pop of color and flavor.

Minnesota State Fair

Capri meets unofficial Minnesota State Fair ambassador Andrew Zimmern who tells her about why he loves the fair as they sample two iconic Minnesota wild rice dishes: Walleye & Wild Rice cakes at Giggles and the Wild Rice & Cranberry Swedish Meatballs at the Hamline Church Dining Hall. You can find the recipe directly from Hamline Church here. The Hamline Church Dining Hall is the oldest running food vendor at the State Fair, having just celebrated 125 years.

Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs with Lingonberry Preserves

A Swedish-style meatball with wild rice and dried cranberries, simmered in a zesty cream sauce and served with lingonberry preserves.


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg

For the Cream Sauce:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

Garnish: Lingonberry Preserves


  1. Prepare the Meatballs: In a bowl, combine ground beef, wild rice, dried cranberries, minced onion, salt, allspice, black pepper, nutmeg, curry powder, bread crumbs, water, and egg. Mix well.
  2. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch balls and place them in a shallow baking pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 325°F (163°C) for 30 minutes.
  4. Make the Cream Sauce: In a saucepan, combine chicken broth and whipping cream. Heat over low heat until just simmering.
  5. Stir in allspice and nutmeg.
  6. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir this mixture into the cream sauce and allow it to simmer.
  7. Combine and Bake: After 30 minutes, remove meatballs from the oven and transfer them to a 13x9-inch baking pan or oven-proof serving dish.
  8. Pour the cream sauce over the meatballs and cover with foil.
  9. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. Serve: Serve the meatballs hot, garnished with lingonberry preserves.

Join Capri’s List

Follow along with the latest news and episode updates from America The Bountiful, sign up now for exclusive updates and be the first to know!