ORANGE RICE SALAD – A Savory Salad With A Touch Of Sweetness!

orange rice salad textThere 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. orange rice salad prep4Add in the 2 quarts of water and bring to boil. Cook for 15 minutes – until rice still has a little chew. orange rice salad prep2Immediately drain in a sieve and spread out onto a parchment lined, rimmed cookie sheet to dry and cool.orange rice salad prep3In 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!)orange rice salad prep5Now 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. orange rice salad prep6 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.orange rice salad prep9 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. orange rice salad prep1Gently mix well. Let set for, at least, 20 minutes to blend flavors. Add in almonds at serving time to keep them crunchy.

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APPLE RICE SALAD – The Perfect Side Dish!

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With the approach of Autumn, we bid farewell to one red fruit (the tomato) and hello to another (the apple).

There are a large number of apple orchards in my neck of the woods, and it’s been a long tradition in my family to trek to the foothills for the annual apple festival. I like to take advantage of locally grown produce – not only does it taste fresher and more flavorful,  but I believe in supporting farmers in my area.

Note: There’s a fabulous article about apples by Helen Nichols, 34 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Apples, that will inspire you to try not only my Apple Rice Salad, but many others as well. Of special interest is a description of the various types of apples, and the dishes in which they work well.

Besides the usual apple pie, apple fritters, apple sauce, and apple juice, one of my favorite uses for these red beauties is Apple Rice Salad. It’s a great company dish because it’s best made ahead of time (I love those recipes! Who needs more tasks to do as company’s arriving?!)

Be sure you make plenty, because this is a crowd pleaser!

APPLE RICE SALAD – makes 2½ cups

  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (I use Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley)
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tart red apple (I use Fuji) chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 stalk celery,  chopped
  • 3 T raisins
  • 2 T sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

Cook rice. Let cool when done.

As the rice is cooking, mix the dressing. In a small bowl blend the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon, garlic, and salt.

Mix together the cooled cooked rice, apple, celery, raisins, and dressing. Refrigerate.

At serving time, stir in the sunflower seeds.