What did I love about this salad? Besides the yummy tastes and textures, the addictiveness of each bite, the ease in preparation, and the good-for-you health perks? I loved everything about it. This salad can be made vegetarian, or add your favorite protein to really round it out. I used grilled chicken, as the original blogger recommended, but I could envision this salad going great with grilled shrimp, or grilled tofu, or maybe even the addition of more veggies. It’s a homerun.
Brown rice salad with basil and pistachios (and grilled chicken) (from Cook, Snap, Repeat)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup golden raisins (I only had black raisins, and I thought it came out fine)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup raw unsalted pistachio nuts
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, finely diced (I left this out – don’t like raw onions)
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1 or 2 grilled boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Prepare the rice according to package instructions. While the rice is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Blend together until smooth the golden raisins, red wine vinegar, and olive oil
Toast in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, the raw pistachios. When they are toasted, transfer them to a cutting board and let them cool slightly. Give them a rough chop if you wish.
In a large bowl, gently fold together the chickpeas, garlic, red onion, red bell pepper, golden raisins, the cooked brown rice, the pistachios, the vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, fold in the basil leaves, and the grilled chicken, if you desire to add that.
Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 6 generous servings.