Monday, October 08, 2012

Brown Rice Salad with Crunchy Sprouts and Seeds

I had a dry spell. Not in the sense that I didn’t make anything to eat, but in the sense that what I made was dry! It started with a gorgeous orange blossom sesame cake topped with pistachios. I was looking forward to it so much, and when I finally tasted it… Dry was my first thought. And my second, and my third one too. Even with the orange blossom honey syrup on top, even with maple syrup after that. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but too dry to be enjoyable, even though I only baked it 30 minutes (perhaps I should have checked earlier?). When I covered it with a lid overnight, the Engineer and I joked that I wasn’t actually protecting the cake from drying out, I was protecting the kitchen from being dried out by the cake! It was a bitter disappointment.

Then I made this salad recipe from Bon Appétit. I used more rice than it called for, because ½ cup of rice for an entire salad (especially one called a brown rice salad) didn’t seem like enough. And when I served it, I absolutely loved it. I had reduced the amount of olive oil to ½ cup and even thought about reducing it further next time, because it seemed like a bit much. But the second night, however, this salad had become very dry, and I suspect it’s because of the extra rice I threw in. I’d therefore recommend making it with only ½ cup of rice, and use your judgment for the oil (I’m writing down the recipe as it was published, because I think the oil helps the leftovers stay moist). With the right amount of moisture, it’s a delicious and healthy salad! The recipe makes a generous 6 servings, perhaps more.

1 cup (packed) chopped fresh chives
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt plus more
1 ½ cups mixed dried sprouted legumes (such as mung beans and lentils)
1 ½ cups grated zucchini, lightly squeezed to remove liquid
½ cup cooked brown rice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup toasted salted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup toasted salted shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted almonds
freshly ground black pepper

Purée chives, oil, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor until smooth. Strain chive vinaigrette through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.

Cook dried sprouted legumes in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Cover pot; remove from heat. Let stand for 3 minutes; drain. Rinse legumes under cold water to cool; drain. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add zucchini, rice, scallions, seeds, nuts, and chive vinaigrette to bowl with legumes; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

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