The deep purple hue and firm texture of black rice (aka “forbidden” rice) make it one of my favorite whole grains for salads. Inspired by Roberto Martin’s Barley and Kale Salad (from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores), I swapped it for the barley, winterized the dressing, and served it to my writing group at our last gathering before winter break. Our potluck lunch seemed like we planned it, with cheese, Ambrosia apples, and candied pecans sharing the plate with this salad, and homemade cookies and peppermint bark for dessert.
The next time you need to bring something to wine night, book club, or any ole potluck, make it a tasty and healthy main like this salad. It can balance out all kinds of other treats, and your friends will be very happy.
I used a couple of my favorite kitchen condiments in the dressing, but any extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar will do. If you still want a citrus flavor, squeeze the juice of a tangerine (or blood orange) over the salad when you add the vinaigrette.
- 6 cups cooked black rice (equals one 15 oz. package Lotus Foods, Forbidden Rice)
- 1 bunch dino kale, rinsed in large bowl of water
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup pecan halves
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- 4 Tbsp. blood orange extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. golden balsamic vinegar
- 1 heaping Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- several grinds of black pepper
- Set large pot of water to boil on stovetop. Cut out the kale stems using a knife or kitchen shears, discard to compost. Once water comes to boil, sprinkle in a couple teaspoons of salt and blanch the kale leaves for a minute. Remove kale leaves to clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Roll leaves up in the towel and set in the refrigerator until cold.
- Toast pecan halves in oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, or shake in a small jar. (If you don't have special flavors of olive oil or vinegar, a plain extra virgin olive oil will work great with a white or red wine vinegar. Squeeze in a couple teaspoons of fresh tangerine or blood orange juice if you want the citrus flavor.)
- In medium sized bowl, toss together the cooked rice, green onions, pecan halves and dried cranberries.
- Get kale leaves from fridge and slice into thin ribbons. Toss in with the rice and other stuff. Drizzle the vinaigrette over all and gently toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.