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Turmeric Rice Salad

Turmeric Rice Salad

When I was little, my mom used to make this creamy rice salad that I loved. It was made with white rice, chopped veggies and a creamy dressing made with store-bought Hellmann's mayo or Miracle Whip... Then I studied nutrition and our family has since changed our diets significantly (some members of my family have been a little more resistant to this change). Needless to say, there was no more Miracle Whip or Hellmann's to be found in our fridge or in my diet, so I said goodbye to favourite rice salad. I also figured out that eggs are one of my sensitivities (it was a sad day) and I gave up hope of recreating the salad with homemade mayo. 

Then one day, we made a rice dish from an Indian cookbook*. It's incredibly flavourful and packed with health-promoting, anti-inflammatory spices - I'm sure you've heard of the healing properties of turmeric. So, I got the idea to create a NEW rice salad recipe with this rice as the base and then I added some thinly chopped vegetables, a dressing and voila! My new favourite rice salad! 

*Madhur Jaffrey's "Quick and Easy Indian Cooking" (we've loved every recipe from this cookbook so it might be worth checking it out)

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Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 1 cups whole grain rice (I use whole grain basmati or brown rice)
  • 3 tbsp avocado or ghee (or other high-heat cooking oil)
  • 1-2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups water

To prepare the salad:

  • Green onions/scallions, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Carrots, grated
  • Zucchini, thinly chopped
  • Cilantro

For the dressing:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Anytime I make a rice dish, I try to soak my rice with a tablespoon of lemon juice overnight or a least for a couple hours. This helps to break down anti-nutrients (i.e. phytic acid) and make it more digestible. Simply rinse your rice really well, put it in a bowl or pot, add a tbsp of lemon juice and water to cover then let sit. 
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil or ghee over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add cloves, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cinnamon and stir. Add the minced garlic to brown and then add rice (well-cleaned and drained), turmeric and 1 tsp sea salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down heat to low and let cook for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked. 
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. To prepare dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, coriander, and sea salt. Mix well. 
  6. In a large bowl, combine cooled rice, green onions, celery, carrots, zucchini and salad dressing. You can serve it at room temperature, but I like it best when it has been in the fridge for a little while (i.e., an hour or more). Serve with fresh cilantro. 

Tip: Because this salad is eaten cold, it's easy to make a big batch of salad and take it for lunches at the office throughout the week. 

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