Monday, July 1, 2013

Rice Salad with Summer Vegetables

I was shocked when a friend said,  "I'm a vegan and I don't have grill.  I've never needed on."  Really?  Maybe I'm easily shocked but I can't get through the summer without grilling anything.  It's not summer without grilled vegetables.  It's so sad, like summer without berries.  

And here's vegan news flash--you don't have to eat meat to love the grill in summer.   Need some inspiration?  Check out this book:

One vegetable got me totally hooked on grilling--summer squash.  First of all, it's drop dead affordable now, especially when it gets mature. People keep your baby squash, I want the grown-up variety for the best flavor.  And the texture of summer squash is perfect--from the scalloped patty pans to giant zucchini, these summer treasures are good in everything!   

People who claim farmers' markets have sticker shock prices haven't seen the deals in summer.

Frugal food shoppers take note;  this is the time to buy, get some for your neighbors, get the block party grill on.  How many summer squash recipes can you come up with? Add squash to soups, salad and sandwiches.  Maybe next week, I'll do a zucchini noodle salad.

At our house, everyone loves the bright summer treasures.

And sugar snap peas--I can't stop eating these sweet treats.   I bought more than enough to take to an afternoon gathering, and Sugar Snap peas lose their sweetness after being picked. I wasn't sure when we'd eat the rest, so I blanched the remainder. (2 to 3 minutes in a big pot of boiling water).  Even though you plunge the raw peas into boiling water, the process is quick and not many nutrients are lost because you plunge cooked vegetables into ice water after cooking.  

This salad, reads like it could be a lot of work, but when you grill a lot, throw extra on the grill and save zucchini and peppers to make this quick salad.   

Don't forget the brown rice.  Use your favorite, if you like.  I found a great rice at the Ferry Plaza farmers market.  Massa Organics.  Now I'm hooked and I leave the exotic rice selections in natural food stores for someone else.  Given the health concerns over imported rice, I like knowing how rice was grown and where it came from before buying.  And it feels good to say my purchase fuels our economy not China's.  

Try a glass of ice tea or lemonade, a bowl of berries and this salad and you've got a perfect light summer meal.

Rice Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables
(Serves 6 to 8 )
This salad makes a great picnic, lunch or dinner option.  To turn it into a whole meal salad, added diced grilled tofu, one can drained kidney beans or 1/2 cup toasted nuts.

1 3/4 cup water
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
Dash of sea salt
2 cups sugar snap peas
2 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2-teaspoon dijon mustard

1 red, green or yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise in 1/4-inch thick slices and 3-inchs long
1 small sweet onion, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped or 1 tablespoon, chopped pickled jalapenos

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add rice and dash of salt.  Bring to a second boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

2. Prepare the grill for peppers, zucchini and onions,while rice cooks.

3. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop.   Pull off the tough stems of the peas, before blanching them in boiling water for 2 minutes. They should be bright green and slightly on the crisp side.  Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

4. Combine vinegar, oil and mustard in a small bowl.  Brush mixture on the sliced summer squash, pepper and olive.  Grill on one side for about 5 minutes, then turn and grill on the remaining side until the skin is blackened.

5. Place the rice in a large mixing bowl.  Add the remainder of the balsamic vinegar and oil.  Blend in olives and jalapenos.  Cut the grilled vegetables into small bites,  Blend the rice mixture with grilled vegetables and sugar snap peas.


Miz Helen said...

Hi Debra,
What a great salad! We are really enjoying all the wonderful veggies that are coming from our garden.
Woof to Finn from Max!
Have a fantastic week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

A big hug for little Max! Thanks for stopping by Helen.