Salads are one of the best ways to use leftover grains. Brown rice is my favorite for this salad, but wild rice or other grains, such as bulgur wheat or couscous, also work well. For a light spring supper or luncheon, serve this salad with fruity muffins.
For the salad
1 ½ cups cooked rice, preferably long-grain brown
4 cups coarsely shredded fresh stemmed salad spinach leaves
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
One 11-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
One 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
For the vinaigrette
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons white rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Garnish (optional): blanched snow peas, currants or raisins
Toss together the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add to the salad and toss.
The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving. To keep longer, it's best to refrigerate the dressing and salad in separate containers for up to 2 days, then combine the salad and dressing before serving.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.