I’m not sure how I’ve gone so long without ever trying a rice salad, but one bite and we were hooked. We both love rice and vegetables, so what’s not to love about this cool summer version? I chose to omit the bell peppers that were called for in the recipe, and added fresh sweet corn instead. We both very much enjoyed this dish and look forward to making it again soon. We served it alongside of pulled pork sandwiches. It would also go really well with grilled meat or poultry. Plus it’s just pretty.
Rice Salad with Summer Vegetables
Credit: The Essential James Beard Cookbook by James Beard
According to James Beard: The secret to a good rice salad is to use freshly cooked rice and toss it with oil while it is hot. This coats the cooling grains and keeps them separate and fluffy.
4 1/2 cups freshly cooked long-grain white rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped scallions (white and green parts) or red onion
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
1/2 cup seeded and diced green or red bell pepper (I omitted these)
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato
3/4 cup fresh sweet corn, cooked, cooled, and removed from the cob (This was my own addition)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 to 3/4 cup Basic Vinaigrette Sauce (recipe follows)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
~The minute the rice is drained, put it into a bowl, add the oil, and toss well with two forks until the grains are completely coated. Cool the rice at room temperature.
~While the rice is cooling, chop the vegetables.
~Mix in the chopped scallions, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, corn, parsley, and basil. Add vinaigrette to taste, according to how moist you would like your rice salad–it should be well coated but not soggy. Toss lightly with two forks. Season with salt and pepper.
Basic Vinaigrette Sauce
This is a simple vinaigrette recipe for use in the Rice Salad with Summer Vegetables Recipe, or any salad of your choosing.
6 tablespoons fruity olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
~Blend the ingredients together in a bowl with a wooden spatula, or a fork, using 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar. Then taste, and add more if you feel the dressing needs it.
Note from James Beard: Never add sugar to a vinaigrette. If the vinegar is mild, as it should be, no sweetening necessary. Always mix your vinaigrette just before you intend to use it. The fresher it is, the better. Don’t follow that reprehensible practice of making the vinaigrette days ahead and keeping it in a jar in the refrigerator.