This clean-out-your-pantry rice salad with nuts, chickpeas, and sour cherries makes for a festive and flavorful side dish or vegetarian main meal.
It always comes back to Ottolenghi.
Even when you’re lying in bed all weekend with a low grade fever and chills that rival last year’s Polar Vortex, his cookbooks are a bright spot in an otherwise cold sweat-filled existence.
What I’m trying to say is I keep one strapped to my stomach at all times. For safekeeping and constant inspiration.
So when this month’s Recipe Redux Challenge instructed us to grab the cookbook nearest to us and redux the recipe on either page 42 or 142 (to celebrate its 42nd month of existence!), it should be no surprise where I turned. Ottolenghi’s Plenty More is his second vegetarian cookbook, and unlike his first, which arranges the recipes by vegetable family, this one arranges them based on technique. Page 42 fell squarely in the middle of the “Steamed” chapter, and featured this grain salad that he describes as a “satisfying meal-in-a-bowl”.
Filled with wild rice, quinoa, and basmati rice it really will help you clean out the odds and ends in your pantry, though feel free to substitute these for whatever grains you need to use up! I added some chickpeas to the recipe to give it a bit more protein and substance, as well as omitted the arugula so that it could be made ahead of time and would keep better for quick lunches throughout the week. The resulting salad is chewy, crunchy, sweet, and tart. In every bite. It’s a winner for a weekday meal, but also as a super pretty salad to grace your holiday table. Basically, it works however you feel like serving it.
To see what other recipes were reduxed this month, check out these:
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1¼ cups basmati rice
- 5½ tbsp olive oil
- ⅔ cup quinoa
- 6½ tbsp sliced almonds
- 7 tbsp pine nuts
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped
- ⅔ cup dried sour cherries
- 2 cups or 1 (14 oz) can cooked chickpeas
- ¼ cup lemon juice, plus the grated zest of one lemon
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Place the wild rice in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes, until the rice is cooked but not mushy. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside to dry.
- Meanwhile, mix the basmati rice with 1 tbsp of olive oil and ½ tsp salt. Place in a saucepan with 1⅓ cups water. Bring to a boil and then lower to the lowest heat possible. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and place a tea towel over the pan. Replace the lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Uncover and allow to cool completely.
- In the same saucepan, add the quinoa and water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook for 9 minutes over low heat. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Place the almonds and pine nuts in a small pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pine nuts are golden. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.
- In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, ¼ tsp salt, and black pepper. Cook over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, so that parts of the onions get crisp.
- Place all the grains in a large bowl, along with the chopped herbs, fried onion, chickpeas, nuts, and sour cherries. Add the lemon juice, remaining 3½ tbsp olive oil, and salt, to taste. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
For more grain salads, check out these:
From Around the Web:
Spaghetti Squash and Farro Salad from Sippity Sup
Kabocha Curry with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Farro from Reclaiming Provincial
Roasted Butternut Squash, Fig, Pomegranate and Whole Grain Salad from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Adobo Acorn Squash, Crispy Quinoa, and Jalapeno Chimichurri from Naturally Ella
Roasted Green Bean Red Pepper Quinoa Salad from Closet Cooking