Recently I went to a party and I needed to bring a dish to share. The food theme of the evening was Mediterranean. Wanting to make something fresh and different (and more than just the typical hummus and pita or a Greek salad) I rummaged around in my pantry and put together this amazingly delicious rice salad. One of the great things about this dish is that it makes use of fresh vegetables and fresh herbs. I love salads like this, often preferring them the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld and blend.
It was a big hit at the party and my family was rather disappointed that I didn't bring home more leftovers. I got two thumbs up from the kids (my personal taste testers) and they told me that I should definitely make it again.
Mediterranean Rice Salad
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 red sweet bell pepper seeded and diced
4 spring onions, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 cup assorted olives, diced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and diced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 bunch parsley, de-stemmed* and minced
1tablespoon minced basil leaves
4 cups cooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together, toss well, let sit 2-3 hours for flavors to develop.
*When I de-stem herbs like parsley or cilantro I've learned a little trick that makes it very easy:
Leave the herbs bound together, wash well to clean and shake dry
Holding the stems use a chef's knife and chop at the leaves in a short brisk fashion moving down the stems
Rotate the stems and repeat on another side until all sides have been shaved
Remove band holding the stems together
Throw the stems in your compost bin
Pile chopped leaves together and mince
It probably took longer to write that than it takes to do it. Once you do this you'll wonder why you ever de-stemmed leafy herbs any other way.