Regular white rice; aromatic basmati; chewy, healthful brown rice; and even rustic wild rice are common pantry items. But there’s one rice variety that doesn’t get enough play: red rice.
Red rice sports_surprise_a red husk, and it has a nutty flavour and is highly nutritious. For a rice and grain salad that was colorful, hearty, and a little out of the ordinary, we mixed this healthful rice with nutty quinoa, cooking both in the same pot using the pasta method.
We gave the rice a 15-minute head start and then added the quinoa to the pot to ensure that both grains were done at the same time. Then we drained them, drizzled them with lime juice to add bright flavour, and let them cool.
Next, we looked for ingredients that would make this salad fresh and a little sweet. We added dates and orange segments for sweetness (and used some of the orange juice in our dressing).
Cilantro and red pepper flakes added a fresh bite and a bit of spiciness to round it out. If you buy unwashed quinoa (or if you are unsure whether it’s washed), be sure to rinse it before cooking to remove its bitter protective coating (called saponin).
RED RICE AND QUINOA SALAD
Start to finish: 45 minutes
3/4 cup red rice
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup prewashed white quinoa
3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro plus 1 cup leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces pitted dates, chopped (1 cup)
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add rice and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add quinoa to pot and continue to cook until grains are tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain rice-quinoa mixture, spread over rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons lime juice, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut away peel and pith from oranges. Holding fruit over bowl, use paring knife to slice between membranes to release segments. Cut segments in half crosswise. If needed, squeeze orange membranes to equal 2 tablespoons juice in bowl.
Whisk 2 tablespoons orange juice, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, shallot, minced cilantro, and pepper flakes together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil. Add rice-quinoa mixture, dates, orange segments, and remaining 1 cup cilantro leaves, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 348 calories; 96 calories from fat; 11 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 397 mg sodium; 62 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 25 g sugar; 6 g protein.