Triple Treat Rice Salad

Rice Salad Redux: Triple Treat

OK, OK, I know, we talked about rice salad two months ago! But summer is the time of year where you don’t want to spend time slaving in a hot kitchen. You want to make things that can last a few days as leftovers — that you can eat on a whim.

As you know, I rarely make the same exact recipe. I vary everything depending on my mood and my desire to get in the car and supplement the ingredients I have on hand. Lazy, I know, but practical.

Well, I riffed again and this one was pretty yummy and oh, so summery that I had to share more details. I think I’ll call this one “Triple Treat.” Why? Well, there are 3 kinds of grains in this one. (And you know, if I write it down, I’ll remember that I didn’t add garlic this time and it’s still awesome!!!) Anywho…

The grains:

  • white basmati rice (about 3 cups cooked)
  • wild rice (one cup dry, about 2 cups cooked)
  • rainbow quinoa (one cup dry about 3 cups cooked)

All good rice salads start with cooked, cooled rice. I make the rice in my rice cooker (the best investment I have made over the years — I get perfect rice all the time.)  When everything stops steaming you put it in a big bowl. Then you add the eye candy. I added:

  • two big bright orange carrots chopped into tiny pieces
  • a head of celery chopped into tiny pieces
  • one half a big sweet onion chopped (tiny!)
  • a cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • a big handful of fresh chives from my garden, cut into tiny pieces with my scissors

Then the sweet stuff:

  • about 1/2 cup of raisins
  • about 1/2 cup of dried plums (tiny pieces — you can find them near the dried plums in a small canister)


  • about 1 cup of sunflower seeds
  • about 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Then the dressing!

This time, I wanted a sweeter taste. So, I did this to my taste, and this is where you really have to taste and adjust as you like:

  • 3/4 walnut oil
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • few shakes of peach flavored vinegar (probably 4 tablespoons?)
  • salt (teaspoon?)
  • sugar – 1/4 cup (?)
  • squeeze of lime

I mixed the dressing up and kept adding a little salt and sugar until I got the taste I was looking for. A real mix of sweet and salty. I poured my concoction  over all the other ingredients that I had assembled in a large bowl and gently mixed it through the rice.

Rice salad usually tastes better the second day you have it. Why? The flavors meld together, the dressing gets absorbed into the grains and you can then season again with a little more salt & fresh pepper when you serve it.

Try this and let me know how you like it! It’s filling, the quinoa has protein in it and the melange of flavors will have people begging for more!

Purple Cabbage, Orange Carrots

I love the tastes of summer.

One of the easiest things to do is to grill some fish, chicken or burgers for dinner. But what do you make to accompany that protein? We try to follow the “eat from the rainbow” rule. You know what that is, right? Basically, try to include foods of different colors. Greens, yellows, reds, oranges, purples, blues.

An easy side dish this time of year is coleslaw. But just not any slaw will do! The Red Cabbage (which we call purple in our house because, well, it is purple, isn’t it? ) is filled with all kinds of good antioxidants which are supposedly good for you.

Anyway, this takes no time and is an easy crowd pleaser. Best done the night before, but very edible on the day of if you wish.

Simply use a serrated knife to cut your cabbage into thin slices. You can also use a grater or a food processor, but these days, I seem to appreciate the rhythm and challenge of cutting very thin slices of cabbage so I do it manually. Then pull out your julienne peeler (what? you don’t have one? It’s $11.00 and you’ll use it all the time.  Let’s order you one right now from my Pampered Chef site!) and make strips of carrots to add to your bowl.)

The dressing for this salad is ripe for riffing!

Most recipes call for a cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar as a base.

I make my dressing in the blender. I use about a cup of mayonnaise then add a healthy dose of whatever flavored vinegar I have in the house  (like black cherry!) then  I add fresh chives from the garden and salt, pepper, sometimes some honey mustard and celery seeds.  I blend those ingredients in my blend on the sauces setting, pour it over the cabbage/carrot mixture, mix in really well, and let it sit for a few hours. Pretty simple, and seriously delicious!

sliced thinly...

red cabbage sliced thinly…

using a julianne peeler, just add thin slices of carrots to your bowl

using a julianne peeler, just add thin slices of carrots to your bowl

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (with bacon!)

Does this look amazing or what?

I’ve “massaged” my kale (with avocado and salt — yummy!) — I’ve steamed it in chicken broth and dressed it with garlic — but I’ve never seen a salad with raw Brussels sprouts and kale shaved and combined. This I have to try.  I’ll bet you could use any dressing that suits your mood. By the way, I always learned that you called these petite cabbages “brussel sprouts” — but according to The Grammarist — it’s actually correct to call them Brussels sprouts.  I guess you learn something new every day.

Shaved kale & brussel sprouts in a salad!

Here’s the original recipe.  Can’t wait to try it!

To die for salad #1: Shrimp over Argula & Fennel with corn.

Summer Salad with Shrimp, Corn, Arugula, Cukes

Go ahead, smell your computer screen!

I love salad.

I could probably fill a blog up with my salad executions as I rarely make the exact same thing twice(!)

So if you are looking for inspiration, go no further than your nearest farmer’s market. Poke around and see what’s fresh. If you want to make something that sort of looks like the one I picture here, here’s what you need:

  • Fresh young arugula
  • Young fennel
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Uncooked, peeled and deveined frozen shrimp
  • Seasonings
  • Oil

Pretty straightforward prep work. Wash and spin those salad leaves. Make sure that you don’t overspin them, but they need to be dry. Peel and slice those cukes.  Add a few well sliced cuts of fennel if you like that anise taste. (If you want to mellow that flavor, you can simply sauté it is a little olive oil for a few minutes on the stove and then let cool before adding to your salad.) Salt some boiling water and add an ear or two of corn. Boil for 3-5 minutes — take them out to cool and dry off.

Defrost your shrimp by putting them in a bowl and running water over them. Or be lazy and leave them in the bowl with cool water for 10 minutes and rinse them out.

So, I use The Pampered Chef Chili Lime Rub and coat my shrimp generously before throwing into a hot pan that’s been lightly coated with olive oil. Keep moving them around until they pink up. It takes only a few minutes, so watch that pan!  When close to done, just take it off the heat and put them on a plate to cool a bit. Take your cool corn and remove the kernels with a knife. (If you do this a lot, I have a tool for that as well. Shocking, right?)

When you are ready to assemble just take a big bowl and toss everything in.

Now the key ingredient?  WALNUT OIL and SALT.  I love La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil and Maldon’s Salt.  (I can buy both at my local Wegmans but you can readily buy these online if your story doesn’t carry them.)  I toss everything — and I mean everything — with just these two simple ingredients. Actually I glug in some oil (you need to be the judge there) and then after I toss this, I pinch some salt between my fingers and casually sprinkle it on with one hand while holding my white wine in the other! What is so special about this salt? My friend Robin sold me on it when she showed me how the crystals are thin and triangular shaped. They are crunchy. You don’t need a lot to really get a bang of taste out of this seasoning. Trust me. You will want to keep this on your table and you will find yourself pinching some and putting it on everything including watermelon!

Riffing ideas?

OK, like I said, I rarely make the same thing twice. I’ve made this same basic salad and added sliced, hard boiled eggs, cilantro, red onion, julienned carrots, sourdough croutons, walnuts… you name it. Sometimes, I roast the corn before I remove the kernels.

Your job is to take the basics and improvise. But try that oil and salt. Trust me, it is decadent!

PS Kirby cucumbers are even better in this salad than regular, large cukes. Look for them!