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Black Rice Salad Meal (Vegan Recipe)
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On my last trip abroad, I came across the unusual and intriguing black rice, a grain that has been consumed in China for years and years but that has very recently come into my universe.
Black rice, also known as the Chinese (Emperor´s) Forbidden Rice, has a firm texture and is supposed to be great for both sweet and savory dishes, which makes it a very versatile whole grain that can be used in puddings, salads and atypical sides.
As I am all about being practical and creating quick, fresh and healthy one-dish meals, I chose to make a summer salad for my first encounter with black rice. The salad follows all my dietary and cooking preferences: it is very easy and quick to prepare and it uses wholesome, nutritious and good quality ingredients:
- whole grains,
- healthy unsaturated fats, and
- a variety of raw and colorful produce.
The recipe is based on the simplest vegan black rice salad I could come up with. However, I am also including a vegetarian version of it, and a more sophisticated version of the simple vegan recipe that has an additional Thai twist to it.
Chinese "Forbidden" Black Rice
- ¼ cup black rice, soak in boiling water overnight and cook as regular rice with ½ cup water and basic condiments.
- ¼ cup papaya, diced
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- ¼ tsp Dash
- to taste sea salt
A Note on Papaya
I chose to add papaya to this recipe for two reasons: number one, to add a fresh and juicy quality to the dish and, number two, aid digestion.
As it turned out, the papaya ended up being a key ingredient that brought the whole thing to a different level.
I always encourage my readers to tweak and twist my ideas to create their own recipe, I like to think of my recipes as an inspiration for other creations; however, this time I would like to say that, whatever changes you do, if you like papaya, keep it in there! When you try this black rice salad you will know what I mean.
Did you know?
Black rice contributes to our protein intake with 5g of protein per serving and has an almost negligible sugar content (see nutrition facts table below).
- Cook the black rice as you would cook any other rice (½ cup water for ¼ cup rice, a two to one ratio). To ensure you will end up with a flavorful dish, it´s important to condiment the rice from the beginning by adding one small garlic clove (crushed) and a chunk of onion (about 1 Tbsp), as well as sea salt to taste. Cook the rice on low heat, with the lid on, until it dries out.
- If you can, cook the rice beforehand so that it can cool off before you make the salad, which is best served at room temperature.
- All other ingredients are used raw, which means the only thing you need to do now is chop the papaya, red bell pepper and onion.
- In a bowl, add the olive oil, the vinegar and the Dash and beat until you get an emulsified vinaigrette.
- Add the cooked black rice and toss it well to cover it all with the vinaigrette.
- Add the finely chopped onion, the diced papaya and red bell pepper and the cilantro leaves.
- Mix everything together and serve.
Black Rice Salad Variations
- For a vegetarian version of this Black Rice Salad, add some diced fresh white cheese. I´d recommend Panela if you have it available. Paneer would also be great.
- For a Thai version of this salad, use a Thai dressing instead of the simple vinaigrette and add a tablespoon of roasted peanuts. You will end up with a very refreshing and exotic Thai Black Rice Salad.
Thai Dressing for the Black Rice Thai Salad
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce for vegetarians or vegans
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- ½ to 1 Tbsp agave nectar (you can also use sugar if you prefer)
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
Stir all dressing ingredients together until every one of them is fully dissolved. Test-taste for sweetness and spice, adding more nectar or chili to suit your personal taste. Incorporate the Thai dressing to the Black Rice Salad as instructed in the recipe above.
Black Rice Nutrition Facts
|Serving size: 1/4 cup|
|Calories from Fat||9|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 1 g||2%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 1 g|
|Carbohydrates 32 g||11%|
|Sugar 1 g|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 5 g||10%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|