Monday, May 11, 2009

Red Rice Salad

Red rice, with it's firmer, nutty texture and deep color is an excellent choice as the base for a rice salad.  This salad is good for a nice light summer meal, or as filling for a wrap.  Red or brown rice gives you a more complete grain, rather than the naked, bleached-out pasty white version that offers little to no nutrients.

1 cup uncooked red rice (you could use brown rice, wild rice, or any variety of rice you like)
2 Tbsp finely chopped purple onion
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 Tbsp parsley (fresh, if available)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (more or less, depending on taste)
salt & pepper to taste

Cook rice according to package directions (usually 2 parts water to 1 part rice, bringing water to boil before adding rice, cook until water is absorbed) - can be done a day in advance and then refrigerated, or use leftover rice from a previous meal.  Meanwhile, chop onion, tomato, parsley and garlic.  Shred carrot.  Toast nuts (I do this by putting them in a small pan on my stovetop and heating until they start to lightly brown).
When rice is cooked, allow to cool (or chill in refrigerator).  Add vegetables.  Toss with olive oil and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Variations include adding more "Asian" style vegetables like green onion, red & yellow peppers, and bean sprouts.  Also try toasted sesame seeds instead of the nuts.  Omit the lemon juice and try adding a little low-sodium soy sauce and freshly grated ginger.
For a more "Mediterranean" style salad, add fresh or dried mint, feta cheese, and cucumber to the recipe.

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