Here's one of those 'bung it all in and see what happens' sort of suppers - supposedly celebrating all the fabulous produce that early British summertime brings, (though I fear that summer might in fact have been and gone.... oh well, it was fun whilst it lasted).
If you're a regular reader you'll have noticed that I'm not much of a salad fan.... I rarely find a salad filling and satisfying enough to count as a main meal in its own right, but adding grains like giant cous cous (here), bulgur wheat (here), or rice (here) transforms a collection of vegetables (ie. a side dish), into a proper stand-alone main course.
I love the wild rice mixes you can get from supermarkets these days - either in a bag to boil your own, or if you're as lazy as me, the microwaveable pouches which take 2 minutes to steam. I know Tilda, Veetee and Uncle Ben's all do a microwaveable wild rice - I just happened to have this one in the cupboard as it was on special offer!
You can bung any vegetable into this sort of 'substantial salad'. I opted for all the spring veg which are at their best at the moment - asparagus, radishes and watercress. Add some protein and crunch from pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, lots of fresh parsley, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of dressing, and bingo - that's supper sorted.
Being lazy again, I've used a bottle of French dressing which lives in my fridge door, but if you're keen to make your own I haven't found a better recipe than Felicity Cloake's 'Perfect Vinaigrette' from the Guardian - worth making a batch to keep in the fridge. Getting the right balance of acidity, sweetness and saltiness in a dressing is tricky, and this one is indeed perfect.
Wild Rice & Watercress Salad
- 250 g pack microwaveable Long Grain & Wild Rice
- 8 asparagus spears cut into two pieces
- 5 radishes finely sliced
- 1 spring onion finely sliced
- 60 g watercress
- 25 g parsley finely chopped
- 1 lemon juice only
- 3 tbsp french dressing
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- Cook the rice according to packet instructions, then tip into a large bowl and spread around to cool.
- Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, and add the asparagus. Cook for 3 minutes until just turning tender. Drain and add to the bowl with the rice.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, and toss together until everything is fully coated with the dressing. Taste and season with a little salt if required.
- Divide between two plates and serve immediately. (NB. If you are preparing this in advance, eg, to take to work in a lunchbox, leave the lemon juice and dressing off until you are about to eat it, or else the watercress will turn soggy and unpleasant).
For more simple Spring Vegetable Salads from blogging friends, take a look at Laura's Spring Green Quinoa Salad from How to Cook Good Food
or similar recipes from my blog:
Minted Bulgur Wheat with Fennel & Apple