It’s hard for me to sit here and preach about healthy food when my last post was a cocktail made with avocado, Kahlua, Bailey’s and laced with chocolate (and worth every last calorie might I add). But I try to keep that type of recipe as an exception, not the norm, both on my blog and in my life.
In the May 2013 edition of Bon Appétit, an article caught my eye. The headline read “Low-Cal Luxury” and went on to talk about the spa food at the high-end wellness resort in Texas called Lake Austin. The combination of all those words – wellness, spa, luxury, and food – paired with low-cal, definitely caught my attention.
As a brown bagger, I took it for a test run on myself and instantly knew this was going to be a summer favorite. First, it’s gorgeous! The bright reds and greens of the vegetables are all the more vibrant showcased against the black rice. Second, it tastes as good as it looks. Fresh and light. Full of different textures and flavors. And lastly, it really seems like just a starting point for a loads of different variations. Different vegetables. Different nuts. Different citrus in the dressing. Throw in some fresh herbs. And the ideas go on and on.
My street had a block party last weekend and I took a big double batch of this salad and came home with an empty bowl. We kicked off summer and I found my new go-to salad of the season.
Black Rice Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Adapted from recipe in Bon Appétit
1 cup black rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice or 3 Tbsp regular lemon juice
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp agave syrup (nectar) or honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz green beans, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook rice in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 35-40 minutes, or I used a rice cooker which worked well too. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, spread out walnuts on another rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven, tossing once, until fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Let cool; chop.
Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, and agave in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually drizzle in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt.
Toss rice, walnuts, scallions, edamame, tomatoes, green beans, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.