Saturday, March 8, 2014

Kale and Brown Rice Salad

I worked from home on Thursday and snuck my training run (I'm training for the Tacoma City Half Marathon this year!) in during the 50 minutes of the day we did not have rain! After my run and subsequent strength training, I was hungry and looking for a yummy lunch. Smitten Kitchen posted a gorgeous kale and quinoa salad with ricotta salata on their FB page. I was drooling, except for the quinoa. I have desperately tried to like quinoa, it being such a mighty little grain, but I just can't stand it! I'm not sure if it's the texture, the lack of flavor or what, but I'm just not a fan. But I do like farro, barley, bulgur, brown rice and millet. The only one I had on hand that was cooked and ready to go was brown rice. I made some modifications to the Smitten Kitchen salad and had probably one of the tastiest salads I've had in a long time! And the best part about this salad was that it made a very large portion, so I wrapped up the remaining salad (and it had been dressed with the vinaigrette) and took it for lunch on Friday. It was just as good on Friday as it was on Thursday, and that mighty kale stood up well to that dressing, soaked it all up and stayed crunchy and delicious! This salad is highly modifiable...just use ingredients you have and love! I added a little protein (something you wouldn't have to do if you used quinoa) to round out this meal.

Kale and Brown Rice Salad (inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice(or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
8 ounces kale
1/2 cup slivered almonds, very well toasted and cooled
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped a bit
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 ounces feta, crumbled
Few gratings of fresh orange zest

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons orange champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
Just shy of 1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook brown rice and let cool.

2. Wash and dry kale. With a knife, remove the rib from each stalk. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. If you're using dinosaur kale, this will go very easily. I used curly kale and it took a little work, but still worked beautifully. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients to kale and toss to mix.

3. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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