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)
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- To prepare dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, coriander, and sea salt. Mix well.
- 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.