Chewy sun-dried tomatoes and briny olives, a hit of citrus from sweet oranges and a tangy lemon vinaigrette, make for a balanced salad with brown rice.
I love the yin and yan of this combination. Sweet, chewy sun-dried tomatoes, crisp-tender asparagus and briny kalamata olives — plus a double hit of citrus. First with sweet orange segments, and next with a tangy lemon vinaigrette.
There’s even brown rice for a hearty chew! This mix has staying power, too! It will last several days in the refrigerator without wilting or looking tired — which is a real boon if you’re responsible for packing lunches all week.
To change it up each day, you could add a little leftover chicken or pork from the previous nights dinner — or even a hard-boiled egg. Garbanzo beans would be good too! Just keep the arugula separate from the salad until you’re ready to dig in.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 pound asparagus spears cut into 1" pieces
- 1/2 cup red onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil well drained
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives pitted, quartered
- 2 oranges peeled and supremed
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 6 ounces baby arugula
For lemon vinaigrette
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water (4-5 cups) add salt and bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat to a vigorous simmer for 25-30 minutes, until rice is "al dente". Strain rice through a sieve and return it to the saucepan. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and let the rice cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, make an ice bath by adding ice and water to a medium bowl, set aside. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly tender and bright green. With a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to the ice bath to stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color. Drain the asparagus on paper towels.
- In a large bowl combine the blanched asparagus, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and orange segments. Add cooled rice and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the lemon zest and juice, garlic, dijon mustard, olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine. When emulsified add 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing to the rice salad and toss well. If it needs more dressing, add it 1 tablespoon at a time, so that it's lightly coated.
- Just before serving, add the basil and toss to combine. Serve on a bed of arugula.
Lisa is a South Florida based food blogger who derives inspiration from a diverse family food-background, which includes southern comfort foods, traditional French and Caribbean cuisine. On her blog, Garlic and Zest, she explores fresh, innovative flavors and the inexorable link between food and family. Her approachable fare tastes like home.