Without wanting to coming across as someone who’s obsessed with the weather, I would just like to get out there that I don’t get it anymore. It’s either disappointingly cold for this time of year, or surprisingly hot. Okay, who am I kidding, I clearly am obsessed.
Hot weather means salad, but salad and a filling meal don’t have to exclude each other. In comes the rice salad. It’s like a tabbouleh, only with rice instead of bulgur. Or maybe a tabbouleh is like a rice salad with bulgur? Life is full of questions.
Red rice has a slightly fruity aroma and a lot of bite, so I mixed it with two parts basmati: no one wants to chew forever. The black beans add a bit of umami and texture, the tomatoes add sweetness, the hazelnuts add crunch and that zesty dressing binds it all together. If you’re not already using preserved lemons in your cooking, you really should. When lemons are preserved in salt they become soft and intensely lemon-y without the extreme acidity of fresh lemons. They keep forever in the fridge and can be used in almost anything: from stew to salad. Speaking of which, this salad can also be made in advance. Just make sure to cover it to keep it moist and serve it at room temperature.
Ingredients for 2:
100 g basmati rice
50 g Italian red rice
175g cooked black beans (from a can), drained and rinsed
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
small bunch of fresh coriander (or basil), finely chopped
a few assorted lettuce leaves
a handful of hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
coarse sea salt
wedge of fresh lemon to serve
for the dressing:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 a preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped
- Bring the red rice to the boil with some salted water, turn down the heat and cover the pan and boil for 20 minutes.
- Wash the basmati rice and add it to the red rice after 20 minutes. Stir, cover and boil for another 10 minutes.
- Takes the rice off the heat, drain, put the lid on again and leave to stand covered for another 10 minutes.
- Blend all the ingredients for the dressing with a stick blender or food processor and set aside.
- Spread the rice on a plate to let it cool more quickly.
- Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan and chop them roughly.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the coriander and drain and rinse the black beans.
- Put the rice in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the dressing, coriander, beans and cherry tomatoes and season everything with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a few lettuce leaves and a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top just before serving.