3 ingredients to take your rice salad to the next level

Spring Greek Rice Salad Liam Mogan

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 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

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