Mediterranean Rice Salad
This is a great side salad or a main dish meal. I love taking this side dish to family gatherings, church events and other public events, seems the vegetarians always seek me out to see what I have brought, that they can eat.
1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice 3 cups cold water 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano 3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper 2 cups spinach leaves, washed, stemmed, and chopped (To save time you can use prewashed baby spinach) 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped green onions or chives 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata or regular black olives 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts OR 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds (toast on a flat baking pan for 10 minutes at 325 degrees) Optional: To boost the protein, add 1/2 cup black beans, and-or 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Rice Salad Directions: Make rice several hours ahead of time or the make night before and refrigerate Rinse rice until water runs clear Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil Add 1/2 tsp of salt, cover, and turn rice down to medium low Cook rice until done, about 45-60 minutes Fluff rice gently with a fork and set aside to cool to room temperature. Setting the pan in a sink full of cold water will help it cool quickly Mix lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, basil, 1 tsp of salt, and pepper in a large bowl Toss the rice with the olive oil mixture Stir in spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, green onions, olives, and pine nuts Serve chilled or at room temperature
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