Thursday, August 18, 2011

Warm Brown Rice Salad

I invited my neighbor over for lunch and needed to come up with something quick. I didn't have time to go to the store, so I was stuck with what I had on hand. A few random vegetables, lettuce...I needed something more substantial. I stuck my head in the freezer and pulled out a chicken breast and a package of frozen brown rice.
I bought this at Costco, but I've also found it at Trader Joe's
Sidenote: Have you been introduced to frozen (brown) rice? So much better than that Uncle Ben's instant stuff. You stick the portioned bag in the microwave for 3 minutes and it's done! And it's loads better than dragging out the rice cooker and waiting 30-40 minutes. I love it. You can find it in the freezer aisle at most stores. Back to the recipe...

A few years ago, I went to lunch with girlfriends at 26 Beach in Venice, CA. Cute place with yummy-good-for-you food. Burgers. Salads. Sandwiches. All fresh ingredients and tasty too. I had their warm brown rice salad. And from time to time, I re-create the dish at home. At least I try. It turns out a little different each time, depending on what I have. Here's the way I made it this time:

Warm Brown Rice Salad
1 pkg of frozen brown rice (or 2-3 cups cooked brown rice)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets
2 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced into coins or half-coins (I used baby carrots)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
pepper to taste
Green lettuce as a bed for the rice salad, optional

2 T. lemon juice
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. herbes de provence
salt and pepper
5 T. extra virgin olive oil

-Cut the chicken breast into 1/2 inch cubes. Season with cumin, salt, paprika, pepper. Saute until cooked in a small pan.
-I roasted the broccoli in the oven at 400F for 8-10 minutes, after tossing it in olive oil, salt and pepper. But you can put it in raw or steamed. However you like it. Roasting brings out a deeper flavor.
-Cook the frozen rice in the microwave as instructed on the package. Keep warm.
-Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a separate bowl.
-Toss the rice, chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and cheese together in a large bowl and add the vinaigrette to coat the salad.
-Serve on a bed of green lettuce (green leaf, romaine, mache, arugula, butter lettuce...whatever you have!)
-Makes about 3 entree-sized servings.

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