Rice salad is a versatile recipe to highlight seasonal produce. This version uses items in the Spring CSA share but can easy be adapted to showcase produce through the rest of the year. Portions of this recipe can be prepped ahead and once tossed together, the leftovers (if there are any) will make great lunches for a couple of days.
This recipe uses basmati rice which is made ahead and chilled. This allows the rice to dry out a bit and it will stay more intact when tossed in a salad. The creativity starts here, try brown rice or jasmine rice, quinoa, farro, pearled barley, couscous, lentils or chickpeas. The key is to cook these ahead (and not over cook them) and have them chilled.
The next part of the recipe is the vegetables. This Spring version highlights carrots, watermelon radish and onions from the share. These items are cut approximately one inch for quick cooking, it is a more delicate salad. That said this can morph into a more robust version using larger pieces of roasted seasonal vegetables such a squash, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower and toss these with beans. The vegetable choices get even broader in the summer time. Small pieces of uncooked squash and peppers can be added for crunch. This salad is a great vehicle for re-purposing all those extra grilled vegetables.
The freshness of fruit adds something extra to this salad. This version uses cubed, fresh pineapple. Imagine combinations with fresh berries, peaches, melons or apples.
The dressing, if you choose to use one is a light vinaigrette that is meant to enhance the flavors. In the spring and summer a bright citrus vinaigrette or a light herb vinaigrette is delicious (and you get to use any herbs from the CSA share). A balsamic vinaigrette could be used with the more robust fall and winter salads. Make your own dressing or use your favorite bottled version.
The greens are whatever is in season. Delicate greenhouse greens, spring kale and spinach which transitions to head lettuce, chard, broccoli raab then to kale and cabbage. The choices and combinations are endless!
Spring Rice Salad
4 cups of cooked and chilled basmati rice
3 heaping cup of carrots and watermelon radish cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of onions cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of cut up fresh pineapple or canned and drained
4 scallions sliced
1 bag of spring greens (your choice)
Honey citrus vinaigrette or dressing of choice
- Saute the onions in olive oil until golden then add the watermelon radish and carrots. Cook until crisp tender, 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your skillet. Adding 1/4 cup of water the last 5 minutes of cooking and let the water cook until evaporated. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Fluff out the rice with a fork and mix in the cooled veggies, add the pineapple pieces and scallions. The spring greens and vinaigrette can be tossed in the mixture or the rice salad can be spooned out on a bed of greens and the vinaigrette poured over, your choice.
Honey citrus vinaigrette – this mixture is a combination of a vinegar and juice with a light oil, a bit of dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. The approximate ratio is 1/3 oil and 2/3 vinegar and juice mix. It really is made to taste, adjust it to what you prefer. The amounts below will make extra that can be used in other salads throughout the week.
1/3 cup light olive oil
2/3 cup mix of apple cider vinegar (or white balsamic) and citrus juice (leftover pineapple juice was used here)
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
2 tablespoonfuls of honey
A pinch of salt and pepper
Either whisk or shake in a mason jar.
Enjoy and share pictures of your creations with us!