A warm rice salad is a great staple to pull into frequent rotation. You can amp up the freshness factor by adding everybody’s favourite, feta cheese, along with a few key seasonal ingredients such as asparagus and radishes. Choose a mix of radishes, such as garden fresh red, white, Easter egg, or watermelon varieties, for a colourful salad; wash well. If your radishes have the fresh greens attached, add a few leaves as a garnish to this mild peppery salad. Serves 8-10
Spring Greek Rice Salad
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
1/3 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil or dill
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ bunch asparagus, about 10 spears, tough ends trimmed
1¾ cups water
1 cup long-grain brown rice, preferably basmati (see Tip)
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp kosher salt
6-8 radishes (and greens, optional)
2 mini cucumbers
½ pint cherry tomatoes
4 cups baby arugula
1. For dressing, place ½ cup feta and remaining ingredients in a small blender; whirl to blend. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Makes 1¼ cups.)
2. Fill a large saucepan with ¼” water, and bring to a boil. Add asparagus; partially cover and steam for 2 minutes, then drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
3. Pour 1¾ cups water into the same saucepan. Stir in rice, oil, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
4. While rice is cooking, using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly shave half of the radishes. Shave cucumbers into long ribbons. Cut remaining radishes into quarters. Slice tomatoes in half.
5. To serve, combine warm rice with ⅓ cup dressing. Place on a platter, arranging asparagus and other veggies, radish greens (if using), and arugula overtop. Sprinkle with ¼ cup feta, and serve remaining dressing on the side.
Tip: Soak rice for up to 30 minutes before cooking. It helps prevent grains from breaking.
Try it with: Chicken kebabs with lemon coriander marinade