Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sri Wasano's Infamous Rice Salad

Today marks the official beginning of the Lenten season. The kids were not too happy when we informed them last night that there would be no more candy consumption until Easter Sunday. "But....but....I still have candy in my Halloween bucket!" Emma whined. I assured her that she would be able to snack on that candy again with the arrival of Easter. I just didn't tell her that some of those pieces might possibly be recycled into her Easter basket.

In anticipation of Lent, I have been gathering an arsenal of meatless dishes to use for meals throughout the next 40 days. Catholics normally go meatless on Fridays during Lent, but we try to cut down on our meat consumption in general during this time. Thankfully, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law sent me three wonderful vegetarian cookbooks that I have been eagerly poring through at night while Paul nervously watches. He's really going to miss his meat and fears that I will make him eat tofu or something equally horrific. He really has nothing to worry about since I am not much of a tofu lover myself and definitely not inclined towards making him eat something I certainly wouldn't!

I love a good rice salad, so when I saw this recipe in The Moosewood Cookbook (thanks Amy!), I instantly bookmarked it as the very first recipe to try. Full of vegetables dressed in a slightly sweet dressing with an Asian flair - what's not to love? If you must have some extra protein - because that's what Paul claimed to be the only thing missing from this dish - a piece of seared tuna or chicken would be a fine accompaniment. The recipe makes enough to feed n army of vegetarians, but the leftovers were very much enjoyed for lunch in the days that followed.

Sri Wasano's Infamous Rice Salad
from The Moosewood Cookbook

For the Rice:
2 c. brown rice
3 c. water

For the Dressing:
⅓ c. peanut oil
3 Tb. Chinese sesame oil
½ c. orange juice
1-2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
2 Tb. soy sauce
½ tsp. crushed red pepper (to taste)
2 Tb. rice or cider vinegar
1 c. chopped fresh pineapple (also ok to use canned-in-juice crushed pineapple)

For the Salad:
3 scallions, finely minced (whites and greens)
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1 medium-sized red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 8-oz can water chestnuts, drained & thinly sliced
½ lb. fresh mung bean sprouts
½ c. (packed) raisins or currants
1 c. coarsely chopped, roasted and salted cashews
Fresh snow peas

Place rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender (35-45 minutes).

While the rice cooks, combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the hot rice to the dressing. Mix well. When it has cooled to room temperature, cover tightly and refrigerate until cold. Shortly before serving, stir in salad mix-ins.

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