Need a gluten–free, vegetarian recipe to bring to a picnic or bbq this summer? This brown rice salad is full of tasty bits of treasure. It's also quick to assemble and you can riff off this recipe with items you happen to have in your pantry.
Now that the days are getting longer and practically begging us to get outside for extended periods of relaxation, I'm getting more and more familiar with my quick, healthy, substantial salad repertoire. I love having a fridge stocked with items that resemble the 'grab and go' section at Whole Foods. It really does make me feel like super woman when I have a couple of prepared salads on hand, at the ready for impromptu al fresco feasting. Which brings me back to this brown rice salad. It's simple, delicious and gets better after sitting in the fridge overnight.
I like my grains tempered with a lot of add–ins. What can I say I'm a maximalist in this area! This salad is rich with buttery walnut chunks, sweet with the fresh apple and dried cherries, then a touch edgy with the piquant chives. You could add cheese to this, but why bother altering the fresh, healthy feeling of this dish? It's great for gluten free, vegan and vegetarian friends — it's a grain salad everyone can love.
Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup brown rice
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 apple, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon yellow miso paste
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Cook the brown rice in about two cups of simmering water until tender (See: How to Cook Rice on the Stove Top), or according to package directions. Fluff and cool to room temperature.
Microwave the frozen peas for 1 minute to thaw. Combine the peas, apple, cherries, walnuts, chives, and cooled rice in a large bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Stir the dressing into the rice mix until all the ingredients are coated. Garnish with extra chives and sesame seeds. If you have time, allow rice to rest for at least eight hours or overnight for flavors to come together.
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(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)