When I was little I hated potato salad. My grammie used to save the liquid from sweet pickles all year round just to use it all summer in potato salad. The pickle juice was sweet and maybe she used Miracle Whip? I don’t know. All I know is that the one bite I was required to eat was like licking the back of a toad to me.
Then I grew up and still thought that I hated potato salad. But I soon discovered that all potato salads are not created equal. My mom’s is salty and has ground up olives in it and I love it. Dill, which I also don’t love, is perfect when mixed with a little sour cream and mayo and layered like a royal robe over some very thinly sliced boiled red potatoes.
This summer I’m not in the mood for mayo or sour cream. I’m not even in the mood for the olive oil roasted potato salads that one can make. That leaves me with what? Lettuce? Boring.
I don’t subscribe to Bon Appetit because I’m not in the love with the style of photography that they’ve gravitated to. My neighbors somehow get one extra copy of the magazine every month of which they pass on to me, and I am grateful for. In effort to continue a past legacy of love for the magazine, I try to find one thing a month from the issue to make and love. It’s the right thing to do. In the May 2010 issue, I found nothing at first. But then I randomly found a rice salad recipe. Rice Salad? Ummmmmm…maybe yuck. Nope-won’t go there. So I have to make the recipe now that I even started to go there.
Checked the fridge, found most of the ingredients, substituted some others. Cooked some rice, roasted a chicken, tossed the ingredients for the salad and we were off. Was it good? So good I called my Dad and told him that he was cooking giant steaks for Father’s Day and that we would be having rice salad as the side dish. His first reaction-”Can’t you make that olive oil roasted potato salad that you made for Easter?” I said no. If I know my Dad, this rice salad will become one of his new standards.
Here’s my adaptation of the same recipe:
- 3 cups cooked white rice or brown rice, still warm but not hot
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp. garlic powder or 1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 cucumber, peeled and diced small
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (mine actually came from my own plants!)
- 1 cup yellow zucchini, yellow squash or regular zucchini
- 1 avocado, halved, peeled, diced
- 3 each thinly sliced green onions
- 1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional-Shredded dry cheese such as Panela
Cook rice until just tender, about 15-20 minutes for white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice. Take the lid off and let sit.
Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder and most of olive oil in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the rest of the olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until just tender, 6 to 7 minutes; scrape into large bowl. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat. Add the rice and mix well, without crushing the rice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve room temperature. Sprinkle on avocado and optional cheese just before serving.
Here’s the link to Bon Appetit’s recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2010/05/southwest_rice_and_corn_salad_with_lemon_dressing