June 14, 2012

Brown Rice Salad

I know I said I would share this recipe yesterday but when the time came to begin typing it out last night, I was so tired I couldn't even keep my eyes open.  Yesterday was a full {and amazing!} day - with the highlight being Cory's 6th grade graduation. :)

As I was uploading these pictures, I was really amazed at the way this came together.  One good thing about being a "foodie" is you sort of just know what flavors and textures will be great in a dish.  And I got it right with this one, each ingredient compliments each other perfectly.  Even if you are not a fan of brown rice, I assure you, it's so good in this dish.  It was a great change from a normal rice sidedish.  ...or salad, for that matter.  AND, it is in line with my "clean eating" goal for this summer.  I can't wait for you to try this!
Ingredients:
6 cups of cooked brown rice {I used Uncle Ben's, I think it's the best!}
1/4 cup of finely chopped green pepper
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove of garlic {I used half a clove, I am not the biggest fan of raw garlic}
1 packet of Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of honey
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 ripe avocado, diced
Salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper to taste



{Finely chop a green bell pepper {or red} until you have 1/4 cup.}



 {Do the same to a small shallot.  I need to use more shallots, they have a great savory flavor - and tastes like the perfect mix of garlic and onion. so good!}



{Cook your brown rice according to the directions on the box.  Brown rice usually takes longer than white rice, so be careful and be sure to use a kitchen timer for perfect rice every time!}



 {When the rice is almost done, maybe 5 minutes before the water is completely absorbed, add your chopped shallots, stir and replace the cover.  You want the heat from the rice to soften the flavor and texture of the shallots.}



{Once the rice is done, spread it out in an even layer on a cookie sheet or large pan.  Put it in the freezer to quickly cool while your prepare the rest of your ingredients.}



 {Chop your fresh cilantro and parsley really fine. YUM! I LOOOVE cilantro.  If you aren't a fan, it can be omitted.}


{Rinse your can of black beans well and allow them to drain completely.}



{Now here is where you can use your own Italian salad dressing, well any kind, really - but these Good Seasons packets make preparing a dressing at home so easy I refuse to buy bottled salad dressing again. LOL! {UNLESS I am splurging on the Ken's creamy caesar with roasted garlic, soooooo good!}



{You could use any vinegar here too.  I chose good ole apple cider.  Champagne or white wine vinegar would have been good to, but I only had apple cider and balsamic. Lemon or lime juice could replace the vinegar too if that's all you had.  Lime would actually be great - lime + cilantro = perfect match.}



{In the bottom of a bowl, add your Dijon mustard.}



{Dump in your Italian seasoning packet.}



{Add your vinegar, oil, honey and crushed/grated garlic clove.}



{Sprinkle or grind in your fresh cracked pepper.  I used a pepper blend and plenty of it!}



{Whisk your dressing really well.  The Dijon mustard helps to emulsify it making it nice and thick.}



{By now, your rice should have cooled off.  Dump it into a large mixing bowl and begin to add your other ingredients.  Your fresh herbs...}



{...your rinsed black beans and chopped bell pepper.}



{Pour on a bit of your dressing and mix it well.  Whenever you are dressing a salad, make sure to add a little bit of dressing at a time... the last thing you want is sogginess. Start small and work your way up. :)} 



{After mixing your salad, slice and add your grape tomatoes.  They were the perfect sweet addition that this salad needed.}



{Next, halve and dice your avocado.  This is a mandatory ingredient, if you ask me.  The creaminess was just AMAZING with the sweet tomatoes and the tang of the dressing.}



{More black pepper for me and a pinch of salt was added here.}



{Mix well and serve!}

{We had this with the pan roasted tilapia on Tuesday, 'twas a perfect meal! Imagine this with a nice seasoned up piece of grilled chicken.}

I can't wait to create and share more clean eating recipes. :) You guys are the best with comments, emails and tweets about my recipes! I am sooooo happy that you are enjoying them!

xoxo, thanks for reading! ♥




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