This rice salad is great for using leftover rice and can be made in advance. It has a great combination of sweet and savory flavors with a light lemony dressing and lots of flavor and texture in every bite. It also makes great leftovers!Hint: prep all the veggies while the rice is cooking to save time.
Course: Entree, Side Dish
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4side dish servings, or 2 large servings
2tablespoonmint leavesfinely minced (or use more parsley)
salt and pepperto taste
Cook the rice according to packaging, but make sure to add a little salt or vegetable base to the water so the rice is flavorful.
While the rice is cooking, sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic in ½ tablespoon olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion softens.
Add the torn kale and chopped apple, stir, cover, and allow to cook down oved medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and continue cooking until the kale is cooked to your liking (another 2-3 minutes).
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, sautéed kale and apple, and the rest of the ingredients, along with a drizzle of olive oil (½ - 1 tablespoon). Mix well and adjust the flavor to your liking with salt, pepper, lemon juice, or maple syrup. Serve warm or chilled.
To toast sunflower seeds, just toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and aromatic. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
Make the rice ahead of time for a super quick side dish.
Ingredient notes:→ Rice: I recommend using any kind of rice other than white rice. Red rice, forbidden black rice, whole grain rice mix, brown rice... or use instant rice for a super quick side dish!→ Make it healthier and lighter: You can decrease the rice and increase the amount of kale (and apples, if you want), so you get a nice sautéed kale salad with red rice instead of a rice salad with kale.... if that makes sense :)→ Add dried cranberries: a little more sweetness in every bite is always a good thing!→ Add some sliced celery to the chopped onions while sautéing: more veggies, more crunch.→ Use crushed pecans or walnuts, or slivered almonds in place of sunflower seeds. I recommend toasting them first.→ Sautéed spinach is also an option instead of kale, it just doesn't have as much of a chewy texture, but it cooks much faster.→ Switch up the herbs: Use a few teaspoons of fresh sage and thyme or rosemary for a more classic Fall side dish flavor.