Posts Tagged 'salad'

Brown Rice Salad with Spinach and Balsamic Chicken

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I read a LOT of food blogs on a regular basis, and I’m starting to see a trend: I gravitate towards blogs with a) fantastic, beautiful pictures and b) original recipes. This is because my blog usually has c) none of the above (but I’m working on it! I really am) and I’m hoping that I’ll learn a thing or two from the blogs that inspire me so much.

A few months ago my husband challenged me to come up with one (or more) new, original recipe each week. Because we were traveling the last 5 months, I couldn’t stick with it, but now that I’m back to cooking daily, I’m taking up the challenge once again.

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Today’s recipe was inspired by the bag of brown rice I recently purchased, and the beautiful bunches of spinach at the market. Since I pack my lunch every day, I knew I wanted to make something filling and nutritions, that could be eaten straight from the container without needing a spin in the microwave. I marinated some chicken in a little balsamic vinegar, cooked it up with some browned onions, and tossed that with citrus-scented brown rice, some raw spinach, and toasted walnuts. I know that sounds like a jumbled mess of flavors, but they come together really well.

1 cup brown rice
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups washed spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Combine the brown rice, water, and orange juice and cook (on the stove top or in a rice cooker).
Toss the chicken with the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
While the rice is cooking, toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat (shake the pan to keep the nuts from burning) and remove when fragrant.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the onion. Over low heat, cook the onion, stirring minimally, until translucent. Add the sugar, give the onions one good stir, and continue cooking until onions are browned (about 15 minutes).
Add the chicken to the onions and turn the heat up. Cook, stirring, until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
Put the chicken and walnuts in a serving bowl and top with the spinach.
Put the cooked rice on top of the spinach and let sit for a few minutes so the spinach wilts slightly.
Toss, then serve warm or at room temperature.

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Grilled Eggplant Salad

Eggplant salad
I LOVE the smoky flavor grilled eggplant brings to baba ghannouj and baingan bartha, but those dishes can be a little heavy. When I saw this recipe linked on Thirty A Week I was immediately inspired.

I made a few changes based on my preferences and the ingredients that are available here, but this recipe is definitely a keeper! The smokiness from the eggplant is what makes this salad, but the citrus and all the fresh vegetables keep it light and perfect for summer. I added some cubes of tofu that I browned in a nonstick pan to make a light lunch, but grilled chicken breast would work well for that too.

(adapted from Food and Wine)

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot red chili pepper, minced

Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

Salad:
2-3 Japanese eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
2 carrots, julienned
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber (cut in half lengthwise, scrape out the soft middle part and slice thinly)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1-2 cubs cubed cooked tofu or chicken (optional)

Put the eggplants on a grill or right on a gas burner and cook until all the skin is charred and the eggplants are very soft.
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Set aside to cool, then scrape off all the charred skin and discard.
Cut into long, thin strips, and discard the seeds. Cut the strips into 1/2″ lengths, and mix with the dressing. Toss with the tofu or chicken, if using
Toss all remaining vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro) together in a serving bowl, then top with the dressing mixture.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Eggplant salad
I LOVE the smoky flavor grilled eggplant brings to baba ghannouj and baingan bartha, but those dishes can be a little heavy. When I saw this recipe linked on Thirty A Week I was immediately inspired.

I made a few changes based on my preferences and the ingredients that are available here, but this recipe is definitely a keeper! The smokiness from the eggplant is what makes this salad, but the citrus and all the fresh vegetables keep it light and perfect for summer. I added some cubes of tofu that I browned in a nonstick pan to make a light lunch, but grilled chicken breast would work well for that too.

(adapted from Food and Wine)

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot red chili pepper, minced

Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

Salad:
2-3 Japanese eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
2 carrots, julienned
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber (cut in half lengthwise, scrape out the soft middle part and slice thinly)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1-2 cubs cubed cooked tofu or chicken (optional)

Put the eggplants on a grill or right on a gas burner and cook until all the skin is charred and the eggplants are very soft.
IMG_7122
Set aside to cool, then scrape off all the charred skin and discard.
Cut into long, thin strips, and discard the seeds. Cut the strips into 1/2″ lengths, and mix with the dressing. Toss with the tofu or chicken, if using
Toss all remaining vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and cilantro) together in a serving bowl, then top with the dressing mixture.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.