When it’s done well and served warm, rice is a great boost to any meal. When it’s hot outside, it’s also great cold in side dishes and salads or even as an element in main courses.
There are so many different types of rice available these days, so experiment to find your own favorites to use in the following dishes.
Herbal Chicken-Rice Salad
2 cups water or mild chicken broth
1 cup converted long-grain white rice
3 cups packed chopped mixed fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley)
2 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
1⁄4 to 1⁄3 cup cold water
5 cups baby lettuce
4 cups of sliced or shredded cooked chicken
1 small purple onion, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring 2 cups of water or mild chicken broth to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of rice. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let cool.
In a blender or the small bowl of a food processor, blend herbs, oil and vinegar until roughly chopped, scraping down sides.
With machine running, gradually add 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 cup cold water and blend until dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss baby lettuce with half of the dressing. Mix in chicken, purple onion, tomatoes and remaining dressing.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Curried Brown Rice Salad
1 cup short grain brown rice
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 tsp. curry powder
ground cumin/chili pepper to taste
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
salt to taste
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
3⁄4 cup golden raisins
1 green apple, peeled cored and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1⁄2 cup scallions, chopped
Place rice in a big pot. Add 13⁄4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes, Remove from heat and keep covered for at least another 10 minutes.
In a large saucepan, put 1⁄4 cup of olive oil on medium high heat. Add curry powder and cumin or chili pepper to taste. Cook for a minute and then add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.
Put prepared rice in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the onions with the curry infused oil in which they were cooked. Taste the rice: If it needs more flavor, add more curry powder, chili, and cumin. Add salt as necessary.
Mix in cilantro, raisins, apple, bell pepper and scallions. Chill for at least a couple of hours and serve.
Minted Tuna-Rice Salad
1 and 1⁄2 cups rice
1⁄4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1⁄3 cup drained and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1⁄2 small chopped red onion
1 can (61⁄2 oz.) water-packed tuna, drained
1 can anchovy fillets, drained and minced (optional)
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsps. red white-wine vinegar
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
Stir in the rice and boil until just done, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Put the rice in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl. Chill.
When almost ready to serve, toast the pine nuts or walnuts over moderately low heat in a small frying pan, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir the toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, tuna and anchovies into the rice. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and mint and serve immediately.
Buffet Beets and Rice
1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 medium beets, cooked, peeled and coarsely grated
1 small onion, finely grated
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsps. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsps. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1⁄3 cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Combine cooked rice and grated beets in a large mixing bowl. Mix in grated onion.
Mix oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a shaker. Pour over rice mixture and combine thoroughly.
Transfer to a refrigerator container with a tight-fitting cover. Chill for at least two hours.
Add mayonnaise immediately before serving. Stir in well. Correct seasoning to your personal taste.
Garnish with coarsely chopped walnuts.
Serves 6 to 8.
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected] .