I still shudder at the thought of Laura and me standing in the kitchen at 11PM, asking each other what we want to eat for dinner. If you’ve ever fallen victim to procrastination like we have and have ever waited too long to make a rational decision, you probably know that any common sense you once had is gone. There have been times when we just said, “Forget it” and have gone to bed without eating. That’s probably my greatest fear – not eating at all and falling asleep hungry.
This type of thinking is most likely the reason I double or triple up on most of the recipes I share on this website. If you take today’s salad, for instance, I doubled up and now we have a huge bowl of some really awesome food sitting in the refrigerator waiting for us to enjoy tonight and tomorrow night. I actually made this yesterday, so that’s three good days of food that I don’t need to concern myself with. Again, standing in the kitchen so late at night in an attempt to think about what you can concoct is fairly useless. The mind doesn’t work well on an empty stomach.
This one’s really unique, so I have to say I like it. It includes some ingredients I would never have thought would have gone together so well. First off, the red rice, with its nutty flavor is simply perfect. While it doesn’t overwhelm this dish, it certainly adds to the flavor profile.
The quinoa is much more visible because of its lighter color. Quinoa has a flavor of its own, but what really shines through is the orange, sweet onion and dates. I have yet to include dates into a normal salad recipe and these certainly didn’t disappoint. I’ll need to make a note to myself – buy more dates. The texture is great they’re wonderfully sweet. It’s like eating natural candy.
3/4 Cup Red Rice
Regular Table Salt
Ground Black Pepper
3/4 Cup Quinoa, Rinsed
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
1/2 Sweet Onion, Chopped
1 Cup Parsley, Chopped
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
6 Ounces Pitted Dates, Chopped
Before I begin with the instructions, I’d like to once again thank America’s Test Kitchen for their fantastic resource called The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. While I did change a few ingredients and cooking methods, they were my inspiration.
Also, I want you to know that since I doubled up on this recipe, the volume of food in the photos below will look much greater than what you prepare if you’re following the quantities from above.
Cook the Rice & Quinoa
The method I’m going to suggest isn’t typical for rice. It’s called the “pasta method” and it uses a lot of water, so don’t think you’re doing something wrong. To start off, fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and add 1 tablespoon of salt to it. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and once it’s boiling, add the red rice. Cook, while stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Then, add the quinoa to the same pot and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
When the rice and quinoa are tender, remove the pot from heat and use a fine mesh strainer to scoop the material out of the pot and place on a large baking sheet. I used one of my Bellemain strainers and it worked well.
Once on the baking sheet, smooth the rice and quinoa out and let cool for at least 20 minutes.
Prep the Oranges
Peel both oranges and pull apart all the pieces. Try to get as much white material off each piece as you can. Then, cut each piece in half, width-wise. Place in a medium sized bowl for later use.
Make the Vinaigrette
In a medium sized bowl, add the lime juice, orange juice, red pepper flakes, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Whisk these ingredients together well. When finished, add in the onion and parsley and mix everything together.
Chop the Dates
Dates are funny things. You’ll get your fingers messy when you chop them and some are soft while others are much more firm. Go ahead and chop them all up into 1/4 inch pieces.
Combine All Ingredients
In a large bowl, add the entirely of the ingredient list.
Then, thoroughly mix everything together. When done, the salad is complete.
The Final Salad
To finish up, divide the salad between 4 to 6 plates or bowls and serve.
I think this salad came out really well. As you can see from the ingredient list as well as the preparation process, the flavor is there. Give this recipe a try – I think you’ll like it. As always, thanks for reading!