* This post may contain affiliate links.
Rice. Salad. For a long time in my life those were do distinct categories of food. One or the other. In recent years, however, I’ve come across grain salads with rice as the base. As a lifetime vegetarian and more recent plant-based convert, most of my buffet visits with family and friends have involved a great deal of time in salad bars. I have become accustomed to what I’ve come to refer to as “funny salads”, some of which include varying types of rice. The technique I’m posting (not a recipe by any means) is a hybrid of recipes I’ve studied from America’s Test Kitchen’s recent publication, Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between, and from an awesome workshop held by Kylah from Seasonally Nourished. If I think back, I also remember my mother making a rice-based salad after participating in a cardiac health program.
So why share this really easy technique? Last summer I made this as a potluck dish, and a friend commented that they hadn’t realized how easy it would be to make a vegan dish to share, yet they were very concerned about having a recipe to follow. Well, here goes the basic order:
Cooked rice or rice-like object. You could use quinoa, or anything along this line. I often cook my rice in veggie broth. Up to you.
Pulse of some nature, such as black beans, chickpeas, or French lentils
Fruit of some nature. Seasonally Nourished used pineapple, America’s Test Kitchen used mango. I imagine nectarines, peaches, or apples would work in different combinations too.
Vegetables of some nature. Tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, other veggies you might like. I’ve chopped up carrots, especially when I can get them in different colours. My point in this is to get a big variety of vegetables and colours into the dish.
Note on fruits and veggies — we are dicing so that they can easily mix in with the rice. They don’t need to be tiny, but diced seems to work best as the shape.
Fresh Herbs. This really has to do with what you have on hand. I have some parsley right now that is making its way into a lot of dishes, but I remember my mom’s version often had fresh dill. I’ll bet something with tomatoes, basil and olives would be really nice, maybe even with some strawberries or mint with watermelon. If I didn’t have fresh, I would sprinkle dry from my cupboard and not worry about it too much.
Dressing. I either make very elaborate dressings or very simple ones. In the dish pictures, I’ve used olive oil, salt, and the juice of one lime. I thought about adding something sweet, like honey or agave, but the pineapple was really sweet on its own so I left it be. There is lots of room to experiment though!
Stir, eat, enjoy. I’ve served this warm, getting everything read while the rice is ooking, and right out of the fridge. You can see my leftovers from the salad went into a wrap with spinach and a little bit of a vegan mayo.
Just as a recap if you like the way mine looks. I used:
- basmati rice
- black beans
- red bell pepper (diced)
- vidalia onion (diced)
- pineapple (diced)
- cherry plum tomatoes (quartered)
- parsley (roughly chopped)
- olive oil, lime juice, salt