After so much chocolate yesterday this basmati rice with salsa verde is in order. Did I tell you it’s full of seeds, almonds and other good-for-you stuff?.
That psychedelic green comes from the turmeric that I cook my rice in. It really pops, doesn’t it?. And it adds another layer of healthy flavor. We all know turmeric is good for us.
This is the recipe for a light lunch or side dish that needs to happen in your kitchen. It’s full of flavor, of course, and so easy to make.
The salsa verde is amazing on its own and lasts quite a while in the fridge, but combined with the basmati rice it’s heavenly. Really. Do you use basmati rice? It has a flavor all its own, very different from regular rice. And it comes in white and brown. I have both of course, at all times. Together with jasmine rice and arborio for risotto. And wild rice and yamani. And don’t forget black rice. Yes, I’m a sucker for rice in all shapes and colors.
But basmati is probably the most versatile, hard to mess with and compatible with all those Middle Eastern and spicy dishes we all love (yes, I’m sure you love them too).
About the gorgeous salsa verde, it comes together in no time, or the time the blender takes. I use my hand blender because I don’t make a lot and the big blender is a pain to wash, too much trouble. A few green ingredients, some olive oil, and you got yourself a yummy salsa verde that can be used in other grain salads, for pasta or even cold chicken.
Then we have the crunch to finish this rice salad.
Toasted sliced almonds, seeds, green onion and the turmeric that I put directly into the rice water at the beginning, but it stained my white colander (I know!) so now I add it after the rice is done. Or to the salsa verde. You can skip it too.
The main idea here is the basmati rice together with the salsa. Together they are dynamite. A great addition to your next spring lunch – I’m getting ahead for most of you who are still snowed in – but a little color is always welcome. We are in the last part of our summer here, so this basmati rice salad with salsa verde is regular weekday fare. I keep the cooked rice, the salsa and the garnishes separated and put them together at the last minute. It is fresher and crunchier that way.
In a month or so I will be stocking up on squash, soup, and pears. For now, this rice salad is perfect.
I use turmeric to cook the rice (it gives it that yellow green hue), but it stains a bit, so you might want to omit it or add it after the rice is cooked.
For the salsa:
- 1 bunch arugula (clean and dry)
- 1 medium green onion
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 4–5 green olives (pitted)
- 2 tbs mayonnaise
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the rice:
- 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, see notes)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds (toasted)
- 2 Tbs sunflower seeds (lightly toasted)
- 1 Tbs sesame seeds (lightly toasted)
- 2 Tbs chopped green onions
- Fresh parsley (chopped)
For the salsa:
- In a processor put chopped arugula, chopped green onion (only white and light green parts), coarsely chopped parsley and basil, mashed olives, and mayonnaise.
- Add olive oil, about 1/4 cup and start to process. Add more oil if it’s dry until you have a creamy salsa.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep covered in a jar in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil on top.
For the rice:
- Cook basmati rice according to package direction with salt and turmeric if using. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, drizzle with some olive oil, mix and let cool.
- Mix with salsa verde to taste.
- Add almonds, seeds and green onions, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh parsley and some black pepper.