December is certainly a busy time of the year. With preparations for Christmas day, parties, gift ideas and decorations I’m having loads of fun, this year, cooking and crafting all sorts of festive things.
This simple rice salad recipe is something I’ve thought about making for a while and it really celebrates the colours and flavours of the festive season. The white rice looks beautiful scattered with bright red pomegranate and shredded green mint. It’s full of those lovely Christmassy flavours with sweet dates and crunchy roasted pistachios. Perfect as a hearty vegetarian side to your festive lunch or dinner.
We served the salad cold as, here in Australia, it’s a summertime Christmas. Traditionally at home we enjoy a big banquet of salads, hot dishes and cold sweet, fruity desserts to fill our bellies on Christmas day. For cold climates this salad would work beautifully served as a warm dish.
I have a few more recipes I’ll hopefully get to share over the next two weeks, but until then, I hope you’ll enjoy this simple & quick vegetarian rice salad…
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves 6+ as a side
- 1½ cups short grain rice
- ½ cup dry roasted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup dates, chopped
- 100g vegetarian feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- ½ pomegranate, seeds & juice
- 1 lemon, juice & zest
- 3 tbs good quality olive oil
- ½ tsp honey (or agave nectar)
- bunch of fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
- 1 tsp sumac
Cook the rice using your preferred method until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool (if serving the salad warm simply continue without allowing the rice to cool).
Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and honey or agave nectar together with a pinch of salt flakes & ground black pepper.
Transfer the rice to a large bowl, add the pistachio nuts, dates, feta (if using), lemon zest and toss to combine well with the dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and honey.
Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, a squeeze of pomegranate juice and the mint leaves, toss lightly and then dust with the sumac and a few extra mint leaves before serving.
All the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time, simply toss together before serving to keep the nuts crunchy and mint leaves fresh.
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