Basmati Rice and Vegetable Salad

Basmati Rice Salad WrapI had not really planned on including my own recipes here, which now that I think about it is silly since I used to have an organic coffee house/cafe and was the chef, but as I was preparing my lunch today I thought this would be a great recipe to share on the web site. So here is the first and probably more will follow… feel free to share some of your favorites as well.

Since I had not planned ahead to share this, and I already had it made, measurements will not be exact, but they will be close enough for you to create your own version. At least for this recipe flexibility equals creativity, so have fun and use ingredients that suit your taste. This was an impromptu creation, an addition to a pre-opera picnic yesterday using what I already had in the house, which was some freshly cooked saffron basmati rice, and lots of fresh vegies from the Santa Fe farmer’s market. All ingredients are organic and local where possible…obviously no basmati rice is grown nearby.

Ingredients:

Basmati rice, or you could use regular rice, brown or white, or I bet this would be good with quinoa or millet. I had cooked rice that was made from one cup dry.

Ghee

Half of a Cinnamon stick

1 ripe Avocado

2 handfuls of fresh Arugula

2 small Carrots-sliced thin on an angle

1 Zucchini-sliced thin on an angle

1/2 Yellow Squash (depending on the size, it could be a whole one if small)-slice into thin strips

One or Two handfuls of Chard, leaves only, chopped

2-3 Cloves of Garlic-chopped

Cilantro, or your other favorite fresh herb-dill, parsley or thyme would be good, chopped

I will start by confessing that I am crazy about saffron (and lately I am on a cinnamon kick), so I often make my rice with saffron, although it is not necessary. You can cook the rice in your usual manner but this is how I cook mine.

To cook the rice with saffron: put a pinch of saffron in a small amount of water to sit for about ten minutes. Take 1 cup of rice (or whatever grain you are using) and rinse it two or three times, drain well. In the pot that you will cook the rice put a spoonful of ghee and let it melt, add the rice and stir it well for a minute or two. Toss in the cinnamon stick, stir and then add 2 cups of water. Give it a stir and then add the water with the saffron, be sure you get all of the saffron in the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and it cooks in about 20 minutes.

Fluff it once it is cooked and let it cool a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients-which can be prepared while the rice is cooking.

Cube the avocado, tear the arugula into bite size pieces put in a large bowl. Saute the carrots in a little olive oil. As the carrots start to soften add the zucchini and when about half way cooked add the chard and after a few minutes the yellow squash (it will cook really fast) and some sea salt-stir. When cooked add the garlic and the fresh herbs stir well and turn off the heat. Let cool a few minutes and add to the avocado and arugula. Toss well and add the rice (remove the cinnamon stick). Stir in some good quality olive oil to coat everything. Taste and adjust salt and if needed add more fresh herbs.

This is definitely a dish that improves in flavor as it sits, so you can make it in the morning and serve later or even the next day.

Serving ideas;

Serve on a bed of fresh greens, or a tossed salad

Make a wrap with a warm tortilla or chapati

Serve in lettuce “cups” rolled up, or you can even use lightly steamed chard or kale

This can be a complete meal or a side dish. Try it using your favorite vegies, mushrooms could be good, celery or even green beans…get creative but try to use local, farmers market produce if possible otherwise the freshest produce you can find, it will taste so much better.

Let me know if you try it and if you make any additions.

Bon Appetit