Black Rice, is a recent discovery for me. I had no idea what I was missing! This Black Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables is packed full of nutrients. It's easy, delicious, travels well and can be served warm or cold as a main dish or a beautiful side. What more could you ask for? It's topped with a delicious Tahini and Honey Dressing. I'm sure it will be making a regular appearance on your table, or in your lunch box, once you give it a try.
What is black rice?
Black rice, also known as forbidden or "emperor's" rice is at the top of it's game when it comes to nutritional value. It's packed full of antioxidants, protein and iron. Hard to believe it's so delicious! Forbidden rice was once reserved only for the Emperor of China to maintain his health and longevity. Therefore it was forbidden to anyone else. Now it's gaining popularity and has become more widely available. It is nutty and chewy and easy to prepare. It turns a deep purple colour when cooked.
Cooking the rice
Many websites and also package directions will instruct you to use the "absorption" method to cook black rice. Although this is fine for certain dishes I prefer to boil it when using it in a recipe such as this. Boiling it like pasta keeps the grains separate instead of sticky. Plus less measuring is always a good thing. There is also no need to soak the rice. Simply give it a good rinse, bring some water to a boil, add the rice and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Squeeze juice of half a lemon, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let sit while you finish the vegetables.
the roasted vegetables
This recipe is made simple by roasting everything together on one tray. You an line the tray with parchment for easy clean up. I like to roast on an unlined tray for more caramelization. Here I'm using sweet potatoes, radicchio and white onions. If you find radicchio too bitter you can replace it with anything you like or leave it out all together. I like the flavour contrast with the sweet potatoes but some baby spinach added to the warm rice would also be good. The veggies are tossed with olive oil, salt, and cumin. After 15 minutes the radicchio is removed and the rest continues to bake for another 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables are done turn the oven down so you can roast some walnuts. The nuts add a beautiful crunch to the salad but could be substituted with almonds, pistachios or pecans. Remove the root and core from onions and radicchio, chop walnuts and parsley and set aside in a bowl until your rice is ready.
Tahini and honey dressing
The flavour combination of tahini, honey and lemon can't be beat for this warm and hearty salad. It brings everything together and gives you a big hug. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is a very common Middle Eastern ingredient and is most known for it's roll in making hummus delicious! You can even make your own by toasting some sesame seeds and grinding them in a blender or food processor with some oil. There's really nothing to this dressing recipe. Simply stir everything together, except the water. Then stir in the water until it reaches a pourable consistency. This dressing keeps, covered, in the fridge for one month.
This salad can be served warm or at room temperature. It would make a lovely side dish for a holiday meal especially if you have any vegetarian guests at the table. It will last in the fridge, covered, for one week. Keep the dressing separate to avoid soggy rice. It's warm and comforting and full of flavour and nutrients. Try it as a side to this Mustard And Herb Grilled Pork Tenderloin I'm sure it will soon become a family favourite!
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Black Rice salad with roasted vegetables and tahini honey dressing
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1/4 head radicchio
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for rice and dressing
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup black rice, rinsed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced, 2 tbsp
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp hot water, or more, to reach pourable consistency
for the vegetables
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Keeping the root end intact, peel the onion. Set one half aside. Cut in half again lengthwise and then cut each into quarters so you have 8 thin wedges. Place on a tray. Line the tray with parchment if desired.
- Peel sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Place on tray.
- Cut radicchio into quarters keeping core intact. Set 3 quarters aside. Cut one quarter in half and place on tray.
- Mix together 3 tbsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp ground cumin and 1 tsp. of salt. Drizzle over vegetables. Turn them to coat both sides.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove radicchio from tray and set aside. Flip the onions and sweet potatoes and continue roasting for another 8-10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Reduce oven to 350°F.
- Remove core from radicchio and onions and set aside with the sweet potatoes.
- Place walnuts on same tray and roast for 5-6 minutes. Chop and add to vegetable mixture. Chop parsley and add to vegetables.
For the rice
- Bring approximately 4 cups of water to a boil. Rinse rice and add to boiling water. Turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender but still toothsome.
- Drain and place in large bowl. While still warm, stir in 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. lemon juice (or half a lemon) and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Tahini honey dressing
- Stir together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and cumin. It will appear to seize but it will smooth out once you add the water. Add hot water and continue stirring until you reach the desired consistency. Adjust water amount as necessary.
- Toss together the rice with the vegetables, nuts and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with dressing just before serving and serve extra on the side.
- Salad can be kept, covered in the fridge, without the dressing, for one week.
- Dressing can be kept, covered in the fridge for one month.