It finally felt like spring this weekend. It was 65 degrees, I took my dog to the park, and I felt like cooking something fresh and delicious. Then I remembered saving this Black Rice Salad with Snap Peas, Carrots, and Almonds for a spring day. Because you can’t eat loads of fresh veggies mixed with almonds, black rice, and a light wasabi-laced dressing when it’s cold and blustery outside. This dish was made for the first day of spring.
To start, I did have to invest in a couple of ingredients, but none were too spendy, and I knew I’d be making this salad more than once. I found black rice at a gourmet market along with the wasabi paste. I was a little intimidated because I had never cooked with black rice before, but I followed the package instructions, and it only took a little longer than regular rice. When testing it for doneness, I realized it has this subtle sweetness that is really unexpected. I can’t wait to try using it in other recipes.
The good thing about this recipe was that I could chop everything while the rice cooked so it didn’t take forever. Then, I just threw all the ingredients together and topped it with crunchy almonds. I couldn’t even wait five minutes to eat it. I had to scarf down a bowl immediately, and it was just as fresh and zippy as I thought it would be.
And the dressing! Oh my gosh, let’s talk about the dressing. It’s really simple: just honey, tamari sauce (which is like a darker, milder soy sauce, so if you don’t have a bottle on-hand regular soy sauce works great, too!), wasabi paste, oil, and lemon juice. The sweetness from the honey and the bit of wasabi come together for a combo that is truly flavor awesomeness.
One thing to note is that it makes a big batch. I think we originally shot the recipe for the magazine to be a side dish, but I like it all on its own as a main dish (though I suspect it would be amazing with baked salmon). I kept the almonds on the side and then topped each bowl with them as I dished it up. Though the recipe calls for Marcona almonds, any kind of nut would work here. The nuts do add a lot though, so don’t skip them!
So what are you waiting for? Go make this amazing recipe already! It’s healthy, filled with veggies, and just dying to be your new go-to spring salad.
Here are my tips:
- You can get black rice and wasabi paste in the health food and Asian aisle of your supermarket. You can also substitute farro or wheat berries for the black rice.
- Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never cooked with black rice. It’s just like regular rice only it takes a little longer to cook than regular rice. Plus, it’s subtle-sweet flavor is really interesting!
- Tamari sauce is a darker, milder version of soy sauce. It’s gluten-free as well. But if you don’t want to buy it, just use regular soy sauce.
- The recipe calls for microgreens or shredded cabbage. I found bagged shredded cabbage at my grocery store so that’s what I used. It worked great!
- Marcona almonds are my favorite nut. And I’m nuts about nuts. But they can be a little expensive, so feel free to substitute with whatever nut you like. Just don’t skip the nuts, because they do add delicious texture to the salad.