Monday, September 24, 2012

Rainbow Rice & Bean Salad

Fall is here, school has begun, and for many of us, that means packing lunches. Even if you don't pack lunches, you'll still love to have this recipe in your back pocket for weekends or those soccer practice/piano lesson evenings when you're eating on the go and wishing you could clone yourself, or at least hire a driver.

I made the first version of this recipe quite a few years back as a salsa, without the brown rice, olive oil or cumin.  My older son, Jake (now just shy of 13), loved it so much that we named it "Jake's Famous Dip." We routinely enjoyed it as a snack with tortilla chips or a topping for breakfast tacos. We started using it at Kids' Table, changing the name to a more descriptive "Rainbow Salsa."

Looking to turn the dish into a complete protein, I added brown rice, and upped the dressing ingredients a bit to compensate. This is now Jake's number one lunch pick, and frankly, one of mine as well.  If you can hit the farmers market for the corn, pepper, onion and even dried beans, all the better. Enjoy!
Photo by Daniel Stranahan

Rainbow Rice & Bean Salad

1 large corn cob (or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
1 1/2 cups cooked* (and cooled) brown rice
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 14.5 oz can, drained and rinsed**
1 large red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large avocado, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice from 1 large lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

*Cook rice in water according to package directions, omitting any salt.
**Soak about 3/4 cup dried beans overnight, then drain and rinse. Simmer beans for 45 minutes, or until tender. I just started using dried beans, and only do so about 20% of the time. Baby steps...

Bring a pot of water to boil. Break corn cob in half. Cook corn in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from pot to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut kernels off cob.

In a large bowl, combine corn, brown rice, beans, red pepper, avocado and onion. Toss gently to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cumin and salt. Pour dressing over salad, tossing gently to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Makes 6 servings

What kids can do (with appropriate tools and adult supervision)
*Husk corn
*Drain and rinse beans (beware of sharp edges on the can)
*Chop veggies (wavy choppers are our favorite tool; you may want to cut the veggies into 1/4 inch slices and then let kids cube them)
*Juice lime
*Measure out dressing ingredients and whisk
*Stir salad

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