Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
(This is an old recipe that has been removed from my site. I am keeping this printer-friendly version of the recipe here in case anyone was a fan of the recipe and has saved the link.)
Makes 6-8 servings; recipe adapted from “Roman Rice Salad” found years ago in a cooking magazine, but I couldn’t find anything like that online to give proper credit.
1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice (4 cups cooked brown rice; I used Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice)
1 can (6 oz. drained weight) black olives, thickly sliced (or use pre-sliced olives if you prefer)
6 sweet mini-peppers, sliced (or use 1 red bell pepper, chopped)
12 oz. frozen peas, thawed and drained well
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup purchased or homemade vinaigrette dressing (I used Le Parisien Vinaigrette, which might be hard to find if you’re not in Utah.)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Take the green peas out of the freezer and let them thaw on the counter while you cook the brown rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker. As soon as the rice is done, put it in a large bowl and fluff well with a fork so the rice will cool while you prep other ingredients.
While rice cools, drain the black olives well and slice (or just drain the sliced olives if you’re using those.) Cut off ends of the sweet mini-peppers, pull out seeds, and slice into rings. Drain the peas well (blot dry with a paper towel if they still seem wet.)
If you’re using garden basil, give it a good wash and spin dry with a salad spinner. Chop the basil, either with a knife or using a food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender. Add the vinaigrette dressing and process a little more so the basil is finely chopped and well-mixed into the dressing.
In a bowl large enough to hold all the salad, combine the sliced olives, sweet mini-pepper rings, and drained peas. Mix in enough dressing so all the vegetables are coated with dressing, then gently mix in the brown rice and Parmesan, adding more dressing as needed. Season salad with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste and serve. The salad can also be chilled for a few hours before serving.
This is not bad when it sits overnight in the fridge, but it’s best freshly made.