This salad supper sort of happened by accident, but I am so happy it did! I really wanted some red rice but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, so decided to improvise with the veggies I had in the fridge. The result was this fresh and delicious salad, packed full of green veg, but also very filling thanks to the red rice, with an awesome nutty crunch from the hazelnuts.
I haven’t had much experience with red rice before now, but I can tell it is sure to become a kitchen staple. It has so much more flavour than ordinary white rice, and contains much more dietary fibre because the bran layer under the hard husk has not been removed. It contains lots of iron which gives your body a brilliant iron boost, and has anti-oxidant and anti-histamine properties.
Although you could use any oil you like for the dressing, I used sunflower oil. It has a deliciously buttery taste and is rich in vitamin E which has a neutralising effect on disease causing free radicals. It is thought to be one of the healthiest oils (especially when used in cooking) and is often overlooked.
Along with broccoli, peas are probably the only vegetables that you can imagine children eating without too much fuss. They are sweet, easy to cook, and freeze so well that you can always have them on hand for when you can’t get any fresh veg. I LOVE peas. You can mix them into anything for some extra greenery, purée them, make them into soup – they are so versatile! They best part is, that not only are peas great for us, they are actually great for the environment too! Pea plants supply soil with large quantities of nitrogen, reducing the need for fertilisers.
2 cups red rice
2 cup peas
1 cup broad beans
2 handfuls green beans
2 handfuls rocket and spinach
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Cook the rice for 30 minutes (some people like to soak the rice first, but it isn’t necessary).
Boil the peas, green beans and broad beans for a few minutes until just cooked, but still with some crunch.
Dry fry or roast the hazelnuts to intensify the flavours.
Allow the nuts, veg and rice to cool before tossing with the spinach and rocket.
For the dressing, chop the garlic finely and mix with the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Toss the salad with the dressing and serve!