Monday, February 3, 2014

Clementine Brown Rice Salad with Edamame and Cranberries

In the winter I can sometimes find it difficult to come up with a good, fresh salad that incorporates seasonal ingredients. It's not like summer when all it takes are a few garden fresh tomatoes and a handful of basal to call it good. But, although it takes a little more thought in the winter, beautiful salads made with in season produce can be done. Take this salad for instance, it uses a lot of things that you may just have stored in your cupboard or freezer; dried cranberries, edamame, brown rice, and slivered almonds. Add to this some fresh, sweet and juicy clementines, a few thinly sliced green onions and some feta cheese and you have the perfect combination for a hearty winter salad, great as a flavorful side or a light main coarse, whichever you prefer. Either way you won't be disappointed.

The combination of all the different ingredients in this salad are just perfect. Sweetness from the clementines, tartness from the cranberries, crunch from the almonds and creaminess from the edamame. It is also a beautiful salad, full of all the different colors. The clementine juice and honey in the dressing give it just the right amount of sweetness mixed with the acidity from the lemon juice and vinegar. I really do love this salad. The perfect way to add freshness to those gloomy winter days. 

Clementine Brown Rice Salad with Edamame and Cranberries
For the Salad
  • 1 cup brown rice*
  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame beans
  • 4 clementines
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 cup of sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
For the Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed clementine juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Cook rice according to package directions*. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. (Brown rice can also be prepared a day ahead and stored in the fridge until needed.) 

Fill a small pot with two inches of water. Bring to a boil, add edamame and cook for about 3 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. 

Peal clementines, tear into segments and place in a large bowl. Thinly slice the green onion and add to the bowl. Add in the brown rice, edamame, toasted almonds and cranberries. Mix all together. 

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Mix it until everything is well incorporated. Add in the feta cheese and give it another  mix.

*Check out this post for my all time favorite, super easy method for making brown rice that turns out perfectly every time!

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