Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summery Rice Salad

I'm a sucker for rice salad.  It's my go to meal this time of year.  I mean, who doesn't have rice in the house?  The other reason it's brilliant is that you can add whatever you want to it and dress it with practically anything (i.e. tangy vinaigrette or creamy herb-laced buttermilk).

On a related note, let's talk about the seemingly humble carrot. When I was growing up, carrot sticks were invariably a lunch time staple. Unlike in the U.S. where we tend to slice carrots into thin strips, Danes have no compunction about eating them whole.  Even the three and four year-olds at my son's school eat them that way.  Just as carrot sticks are common in the U.S., a whole carrot that's been peeled and had it's tough ends chopped off are an ubiquitous snack in Denmark, (which is not to say that Danes don't eat carrot sticks, they do, but more commonly it's the whole variety).

I won't get into my French relatives' relationship with the raw carrot. Shredded is acceptable, but my mother in law won't let a carrot stick past her lips.  A whole carrot?  Mais, no.  I recently prepared a salad with carrots sliced into thinish coins. Alan said eating it made him feel like a rabbit.  But the French are never particular about what's put in front of them to eat.  No, never.

Having said that, I owe my discovery of the rice salad and it's myriad renderings to said French relatives. You'll note that the carrots in this rice salad have been shredded.

This version is ultra simple and makes for perfect lunch time fuel. All you do is make a pot of short grained brown rice, shred a few carrots (slice them in coins if you like.  Mais oui.), finely chop a handful of cornichon (mini pickles), chop up a red pepper, and that's it.  A can of tuna is a great addition.  So are garbanzo or black beans. The dressing I use consists of equal parts plain yogurt and mayonnaise as well as a spoon of dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.  To add even more flavor, grate one or two cloves of garlic over the whole thing and stir to combine.

Summery Rice Salad


1c short grain brown rice (cooked according to package directions and cooled)
3 medium carrots (shredded)
1/4 c cornichon
1 whole red, yellow, or green bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 can of tuna (optional)

1/3c plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1/3c mayonnaise (I used Hellman's - yes we can get Hellman's in DK!)
2t dijon mustard

Add to taste:
1t sea salt
1.5t pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic, grated


Pour cooled, cooked rice into a serving bowl.  Add carrots, pepper, cornichon, and tuna (if using).

Mix together dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well (or mix together with a fork in a small bowl).

Add the dressing to the salad a little at a time until it is coated to your liking (you may have some left over that you can refrigerate).

Grate one or two cloves of garlic over the top and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. We just had rice salad for dinner last night. Ours is:
    bell pepper,
    red onion,
    feta cheese,
    lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic, ground pepper

    We also often add a can of tuna for a full meal or grill chicken on the side. This looks another great variety!

  2. That sounds awesome, Alissa!