Believe it or not, one of my favourite ways to eat rice is cold! Not so much white rice, but I’m talking about the brown, black/violet, red, and wild rice varieties. I’ve always loved incorporating them in salads as they soak up heaps of the flavour from the dressing, and if you cook it right, it has an awesome chewy texture. The berries in this salad, on the other hand, were warm! Roasting strawberries in balsamic vinegar was a fun little experiment, and they actually turned out better than I expected! Instead of drying up, they released their moisture to become super juicy.
You may have heard that brown, or other coloured varieties of rice are healthier than the classic white. But do you know why? In a nutshell, the milling process (used to polish and make white rice) peels the bran off the grain. It’s the bran which contains the vitamins and minerals that we want! Forbidden rice, which I’ve used for this salad, contains the antioxidant anthocyanin (also found in foods like blueberries, blackberries and acai berries). This is where it gets its beautiful purple pigment! Aside from the health benefits, I just eat it for its delicious nutty flavour.
- 10 strawberries
- 10 stalks of asparagus
- 1 cup tightly packed spinach leaves
- 1 cup cooked black/forbidden rice
- ¼ cup hazelnuts
- balsamic vinegar
- coconut oil
- sea salt
- cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Cut the asparagus into 2 cm pieces and place them on a baking tray. Drizzle some coconut oil on top and season with sea salt & cracked pepper.
- Line a separate dish/bowl with non stick paper. Put the strawberries & 1.5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar inside. Gently toss the strawberries so they get a good coating of vinegar.
- Put the strawberries & asparagus in the oven to roast. Take the strawberries out after 10 minutes, and the asparagus 5 minutes after that.
- In a large bowl, combine the rice and spinach.
- Once the strawberries are done, collect the left over balsamic juice in the baking dish and pour it over the rice and spinach. Gently mix, adding more oil/vinegar if needed. Salt to taste.
- Transfer the rice & spinach onto 2 plates, and top with strawberries, asparagus and hazelnuts.