Manoomin (wild rice) is of considerable cultural, spiritual, and community importance for Ojibwe people, who now reside largely in the midwestern United States and Canada. Generations ago, the migration of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) communities was guided heavily by prophecies to move west to a place where the food grows upon the water.
Our ancestors realized the vision of those prophecies when they found manoomin, and it continues to be a staple of our diet and culture today. Manoomin packs in nutritional value, providing a balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy carbohydrates. It is distinct from and nutritionally superior to white or brown rice.
This recipe for manoomin porridge is a delicious breakfast option and can be customized with spices, nuts, and berries of your choice. I also highly recommend Tashia Hart’s The Good Berry Cookbook, which is loaded with creative manoomin recipes.
2 cups cooked manoomin. [Important note: please buy Native when you shop for wild rice; there are many tribal communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin that sell hand-harvested rice online. Be sure to wash the rice thoroughly before cooking.]
½ cup pure maple syrup (buy Native!), plus more to taste
½ cup heavy cream or non-dairy alternative
½ teaspoon cinnamon (as desired)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (as desired)
⅛ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup nuts of your choice
Berries to top it all off
1. In a large non-stick pan, combine wild rice, cream, spices, and syrup. Cook until warm.
2. Stir in nuts.
3. Serve with sides of warm cream, extra syrup, and loads of berries. Enjoy!
About the Author
Melissa Walls, PhD (Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is Director of the Great Lakes Hub for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and associate professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Walls is a social scientist committed to collaborative research with Indigenous communities. Her involvement in community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects to date includes mental health epidemiology; culturally-relevant, family-based substance use prevention and mental health promotion programming and evaluation; and examining the impact of stress and mental health on diabetes.