I live in New Bedford, Massachusetts—a place synonymous with factories and fishing, Melville and Moby Dick and…Sid Wainer & Sons. Sid’s gourmet outlet of Jansal Valley products, and most importantly its test kitchen, is a little jewel tucked among old textile mills. I sampled a red rice and beet salad there and darted home to recreate. It’s packed with texture and taste and it’s the rice that gives this dish an amazing nutty, chewy flavor and the color that melds so beautifully with the beets. Topped with crunch and craisins, this is a bowl of deep purple and fuchsia deliciousness. Plus, the rice has 7 grams of protein and beets are super healthy (and yummy). Served over mixed greens (sometimes with left-over chicken or a couple of hardboiled eggs) and/or topped with some crumbled goat cheese, this is my lunch bag favorite.
WILD ORGANIC RED RICE AND BEET SALAD
1 cup Jansal Valley’s wild organic red rice, cooked and cooled*
3-4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and cut into small ½-inch cubes
Handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup of craisins
½ cup of cashews, toasted and chopped
½ red onion, finely diced
Lemon juice from half of a lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, blanched and finely minced**
Salt and pepper to taste
Fire up the oven to 350F and set your pasta pot with water to boil.
Combine cashews, craisins, red onion and lemon juice in a large bowl and set aside for beets and rice.
Make the vinaigrette. Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a covered jar, shake well. I prefer white balsamic over red balsamic in this dish. If you have a favorite, go for it.
Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off, and dice into ½ inch cubes and add to the large bowl. Add the rice and vinaigrette to the bowl, mix well. Enjoy!
*The rice needs a lot of water to cook so fill the pot like you would cook a pound of pasta. Add rice to boiling water. It is done when there is still a bite to it but not crunchy. Rinse the rice in cold water to stop the cooking. Cooking time is approximately 40-45 minutes.
** I blanch the garlic clove by popping it in the rice water right before draining, I find this takes a bit of the raw garlic bite out. Skip this step if you love the garlic bite!