Forbidden Rice Salad, Cilantro Lime Dressing

Black Rice and Squash, Currants Avocado and Almonds
Black rice is like brown rice on steroids. The bran hull has high levels of vitamin E and it contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries (same compound that gives them, and acai berries, their deep color). It is high in fiber and iron, and contains the highest amount of protein of any wild rice.

It is delicious as is, earthy and nutty, and takes on a deep purple color when cooked which makes for striking dishes (see images below).

In this recipe, the brightness from the lime and cilantro dressing pairs well with the musty flavors of the rice. Roasting the heirloom squash brings out its sweetness (sub any squash), and the currants give it a tarty and sweet bite. You can sub cranberries or other dried fruit for the currants.

Serve this cold, like a salad, of if you're like me and are too hungry to wait, warm.

Black Rice

Cilantro Lime Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (~4 limes)

1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro leaves

1 garlic clove, minced

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon agave nectar (sub honey)

2 tablespoons sesame oil (sub extra virgin olive)

Rice Ingredients:

1 cup forbidden (black) rice

2 cups water

salt (~1/2 teaspoon for rice)

2 heirloom squash or 1 large summer squash, sliced into sturdy rounds

1/2 avocado, cubed

1/4 cup toasted almonds, whole (if slivered reduce amount slightly)

1/3 cup currants

Preheat oven (I use my countertop toaster oven) to 400°F.

Rinse rice in mesh strainer under cold water. Bring salted water to a boil, add rice, reduce to heat to simmer and cover. Cook until tender but with a bite, 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Drain well and spread out into a rimmed baking sheet or plate; let cool.

Cilantro Dressing

While rice cooks, prepare the dressing by pulsing first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender, until combined (~10 seconds). With motor running, drizzle in sesame oil. Place in refrigerator and cool.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Brush olive oil onto squash on both sides, and spread on baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until caramelized. Pull from oven and crack black pepper on top.

In a large bowl, combine the rice and squash. Toss everything with the dressing. Place in serving plate and top with avocado, currants and toasted almonds. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves 4

Leftovers: black rice tossed with cilantro leaves, runny sunny side-up egg, cayenne pepper

photo 2.JPG

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