Add some pizazz to your summer salad


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Chef Amy Sherman brings a new ingredient to salads and creates the perfect combinations to satisfy your taste buds in a healthier way this summer.

Rice is a great grain to use in summer salads, if you cook it correctly to start. The key is to cook the rice like pasta, boiling it in a large pot of salted water. This will allow the grains to separate, which is perfect for salads. Rice salads only get better the next day, so they are perfect to make ahead of time.

Master Recipe: Rice for Salads

  • 1 1/2 cups rice (basmati, short grain, brown, white, any kind)
  • salt

Bring about a gallon of water to a boil on the stove, add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the rice to the water, and cook it like you would pasta, giving it a good stir to make sure it’s not sticking, and cooking it for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain the rice well, give it a rinse, and then spread it out on a sheet pan to cool down. It’s now ready to use.

Vibrant Verde Rice

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1/2 pound snap peas, trimmed
  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, roasted
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons Blis 9 sherry vinegar (or a vinegar of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons Blis maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley, basil and mint, about 1/4 cup each

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set to the side. Cut the vegetables whatever shape and size you like, keeping them about the same size. When the water boils, add the asparagus to it. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the snap peas. Cook until both vegetables are bright green, and crisp tender. Drain the vegetables, and plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain.

Mix the vegetables with the rice, almonds, and green onions. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, syrup, mustard together. Zest the orange into the dressing and add the juice. Drizzle in the olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the rice, add the herbs and toss well to coat. Let the salad sit at least 15 minutes for flavors to develop. You can make this salad the day before, freshen it up with another drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Fresh Greek Salad

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • about 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 pepper, any color, diced
  • 3 cups spinach, shredded
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 15oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, dill and mint zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • crumbled feta cheese

Toss the rice, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, spinach, olives, chick peas and herbs together. Whisk the zest, juice, shallot, mustard and olive oil together, season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad. Serve the salad topped with feta cheese.

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