Some of the recipes in Mollie Katzen's new cookbook, The Heart of the Plate, have appeared in different iterations in earlier cookbooks. This green rice salad is a re-jiggering of one of her most popular recipes for Jeweled Rice from Still Life with Menu. Between the bright, lemony, parsley-filled dressing, the sweet grapes, and the crunchy pecans, it's easy to see why the recipe is a hit. Because the rice is best served after a long rest in the fridge, it makes for an excellent pot-luck dish or brown-bag lunch.
Why I picked this recipe: I'm not sure I'd ever had a rice salad filled with grapes, pecans, and this much parsley. The color alone was enough to draw me in.
What worked: This salad really couldn't have been easier, and I loved how the lemon and garlic permeated the earthy brown rice.
What didn't: Katzen doesn't call for salting the rice cooking water, but I'd definitely recommend it. Be sure to season the salad well before it goes in the fridge. Remember, cold dishes need more salt than warm ones.
Suggested tweaks: You could use just about any leafy green herb here in addition to the parsley. Katzen recommends mint, and a bit of tarragon would be equally nice.
Reprinted with permission from The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation by Mollie Katzen. Copyright 2013. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 6 to 8
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:1 hour, plus time to chill the salad
- 2 cups long-grain brown rice (plain or basmati)
- 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon light-colored honey, agave nectar, or pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more if needed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 scallions, whites and light greens cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1/2 (packed) cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, larger stems removed
- 2 cups seedless grapes, halved
- Black pepper
- 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted, or to taste
- Lemon wedges (optional)
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the rice and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil over medium heat for about 40 minutes, or until tender. (Check the water level during the cooking.) Drain thoroughly in a colander in the sink when done, then shake dry. You can help this along by patting the grains with a kitchen towel.
Meanwhile, combine the garlic, lemon juice, sweetener, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl (a wide, shallow one, if possible) and whisk to blend. Keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil.
Add the freshly cooked, drained rice (it’s OK if it’s still hot or warm) to the dressing, mixing it in gently with a fork until completely coated.
Put the scallions in a mini food processor with the parsley, and buzz until feathery. If you don’t have a small food processor, just go at the herbs on a cutting board with a very sharp knife until finely minced.
Add the herbs to the rice mixture, stirring gently with a fork until well combined. (The rice will turn a lovely shade of green.) Gently stir in the grapes, then taste to adjust the salt if needed and add some black pepper.
Cover tightly and chill well before serving. Serve cold or at cool room temperature. Stir in the pecans shortly before serving or just sprinkle them on top. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Chopped or grated lemon zest for the top (zest the lemons before juicing)
Up to 1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves added to the herbs
Chopped apple or other fruit in addition to the grapes