Recipe for red rice salad with roasted beets, sun-dried tomatoes, cherries and nuts
Professional caterers and food stylists tell us that every platter needs something green, leaves or herbs or green doilies, if such things exist, to "pop" the colors of the food. This red rice salad pops all by itself, and I'm not talking only about the dazzling colors of the beets, sun-dried tomatoes and cherries (red! red! red!). In a sea of heavy holiday dishes, this vegan salad with tangy dried cherries -- plus your own slow-roasted tomatoes in place of sun-dried ones, if you made them last summer -- pops with just enough tartness to balance a table of rich potatoes and puddings. Red rice is neither easy to come by, nor inexpensive; you can find it online if not in your local gourmet shop. It's well worth the hunt, as the nutty and decidedly un-mushy texture of the rice makes it great for salads. If you can't find it, substitute red quinoa. With the nuts, this dish satisfies as a hearty vegan main course.
Red rice salad with roasted beets, sun-dried tomatoes, cherries and nuts
Adapted from an original recipe from The Gourmet Outlet in New Bedford, Massachusetts, this recipe serves 8-10, and can be doubled easily for a big party.
1/2 lb red rice
3 oz sun-dried (or slow-roasted) tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for cooking
1 oz pine nuts
1 oz pecans
1 oz unsalted cashews
2 oz dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
1-1/2 lbs beets, roasted and diced (or use pre-cooked beets from the produce section of your supermarket or Trader Joe's)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, pine nuts, pecans, cashews, dried cherries, and beets.
In a small frying pan, sauté the onion in a teaspoon of olive oil, until the onion is soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and rosemary, and cook for 20 seconds, until fragrant. Add this mixture to the beets and nuts, and stir in the red rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Wild rice salad
Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese
Honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme
Pasta with roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts and shrimp (or no shrimp)
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Red rice salad with boiled eggs and macadamias, from 101 Cookbooks
Red rice salad with mint and shallot vinaigrette, from White on Rice Couple
Red rice and paneer pilaf, from eCurry
Tuna and red rice salad, from Eat This
Red rice with almonds, herbs and braised leeks, from Stephencooks