Here is a recipe I created that can be interchanged so many ways! It can be used as a side dish or a main dish by adding a protein. This salad is really about throwing several ingredients together and eating it all at the same time. Here are two versions:
Cooking the Grain:
It will depend on what type of grain you choose, and the quantity will determine the cooking time, so follow the instructions on the package.
Brown basmati rice (this is what I use)
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. of butter or extra virgin olive oil
Cook using package instructions. Add to a large bowl, prepare the other ingredients while the rice is cooking.
1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
** 1/2 oz. lemon juice and lemon zest (when the measuring cup has the balsamic vinegar add the lemon juice and zest to fill to the 1/3 cup mark, you should have a total of 1/3 cup with the combined liquid)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. of mustard
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients and whisk together. Set aside until all ingredients are ready. Sometimes I add a minced whole jalapeno for a kick.
You can be creative; add what you like. I like to grill (or use grill pan) or steam my vegetables of choice.
Here is what I use:
2 grilled zucchinis
**Add salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon zest
1 pint halved cherry tomatoes
**Add salt, pepper, olive oil and a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dry thyme. I will toss on the grill or in a pan to just warm the tomatoes through.
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into medium dice
Once you have grilled and/or chopped the vegetables, add to the bowl with the rice.
Add at the end to brighten up the dish.
1/4 total of fresh herbs (choose up to 3 fresh herbs): I use what I have in the kitchen at the time. I like:
Add to bowl with rice and vegetables.
You can use meat, chicken or fish. I like the taste of grilled meat with this salad:
If you have time, I marinate the chicken with the following:
(If you don’t have time it will still taste great!)
I enjoy scallops, and this is my preparation (2-3 per person)
Rinse and pat dry; it is important for the scallops to be dry to get a nice sear on them. Add salt and pepper. Add to hot (almost smoking) saute pan. Sear 3-5 minutes on one side and 3 minutes on the other. Add to waiting plate and brush vinaigrette on the seared side. Set aside.
Bringing the entire salad together!
Add a little bit of the vinaigrette to the rice, vegetables and fresh herbs; mix together. The vinaigrette should just coat the mixture, you don’t want to drown it. Add to serving plates and add your protein on top. This dish is sure to be a repeat!
She is fun, fabulous and fierce. She is chic, intelligent and in-the-know. But most of all, the Cheeky chick is the kind of woman who embraces, admires, respects, smiles at and opens her heart to other fabulous chicks. Now THAT'S Cheeky, darling!