There are certain kitchen appliances I can’t live without – such as my food processor. But one-trick pony gadgets – like a rice maker – have literally no place in my kitchen.
For ORANGE RICE SALAD, the rice is cooked like pasta – in lots of water, then drained. So easy, and no need to worry about burning the rice. (Been there, done that!)
Even though there are oranges and dried cranberries involved, this is actually a savory salad. For the most part, this is a very easy to prepare salad. The only slight issue is removing the skin around each orange segment.
ORANGE RICE SALAD – makes about 8 cups
- 1½ cups basmati rice, raw
- 2 quarts water
- 1¼ tsp salt, divided
- 3 T vegetable oil
- 1½ T sherry vinegar
- 2½ T orange juice
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp orange zest, packed
- 3/4 tsp garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 T fresh)
- 2 oranges
- 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Place just the rice in a large pot on medium/high flame. Stir often for 3 minutes to toast the kernels – this will give the salad a toastier flavor. Add in the 2 quarts of water and bring to boil. Cook for 15 minutes – until rice still has a little chew. Immediately drain in a sieve and spread out onto a parchment lined, rimmed cookie sheet to dry and cool.In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, orange juice, black pepper, zest, garlic, and oregano. Set aside. (Yes, I know it’s not pretty – but, it’s delicious!)Now it’s time to peel the oranges. TAKE YOUR TIME WITH THIS SO YOU DON’T CUT YOURSELF! Slice off the tops and bottoms of oranges – this will stabilize the orange so it doesn’t roll. Using a sharp knife, remove peel down past the wedge skin. Try to remove all the bitter white parts. Hold the orange in one hand or lay it on a cutting board, and carefully slice along the inside of the skin that encases each segment down to the core. Do this on both sides of each segment. Removing the skin will allow the juice to blend into the rice. Cut segments in half widthwise, and set aside. To assemble, put rice into a large serving bowl. I would suggest transferring the bulk of the rice via a spatula – the parchment will be wet and may tear if you lift it with all of the rice. Add in the oranges, feta, cranberries, and dressing. Gently mix well. Let set for, at least, 20 minutes to blend flavors. Add in almonds at serving time to keep them crunchy.