Salads with a grain base such as rice, couscous or quinoa offer a great way to make a hearty one-dish meal that is also ideal for picnics or packed lunches. This variation offers tons of flavour while delivering in a lot of nutrition at the same time. You can easily omit the shrimp for a vegetarian/vegan version, and add in other vegetables to use up whatever you have on hand. To prepare this more quickly for a rushed weeknight meal. make the rice ahead of time, refrigerate it and reheat it prior to assembling the salad.
- 3/4 cup (145 g) brown rice, uncooked
- 1 large ruby red grapefruit
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 1” (2.5 cm) piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
- 12 stalks asparagus, in ½ inch (1.25 cm) pieces
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped red pepper
- ¾ cup (185 mL) small shrimp, peeled and cooked
- 1.5 tablespoons (22 mL) rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) maple syrup or honey
- Salt and pepper
- 5 tablespoons (75 mL) olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) finely minced chives, for garnish
- Put the rice in a medium-large saucepan and toast it over medium heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan often, until it is just starting to turn a golden brown colour and you can smell it becoming fragrant. Roasting not only enhances brown rice’s natural nutty flavour, it also enables our bodies to better process its many nutrients and produces a lighter, fluffier rice once cooked.
- Add 1.5 cups (375 mL) of water to the rice in the saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn heat down so rice is barely simmering.
- Cook 30 – 40 minutes until all water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat and keep covered.
- While rice is cooking, with a sharp knife, cut the peel and white pith off the grapefruit. Working over a bowl, cut out the segments of the grapefruit, leaving the membrane behind. Put the segments in one bowl and the juice in another, squeezing the membrane after you have segmented the fruit, to extract as much as possible.
- Cut most of the grapefruit segments in half, leaving several intact to use as a decorative garnish on the salad. Set aside.
- In a jar with a tight lid, combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the grapefruit juice with the rice vinegar, Dijon, maple syrup and about ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Shake to combine. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust seasonings, oil and vinegar as needed to achieve a balanced vinaigrette (not too tart, not too salty, not too oily).
- When the rice is just about cooked, put 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil in a large frying pan. Over medium heat, gently sauté the shallot and ginger for one minute. Add the asparagus and red pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is just barely tender (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the shrimp and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Put the cooked rice in a broad serving bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the grapefruit vinaigrette over top, stirring to blend well.
- Put the cooked vegetables and shrimp plus the halved grapefruit segments on top of the rice and drizzle with just enough of the remaining dressing to lightly coat everything (you don’t want a huge puddle in the bottom of the bowl).
- Toss very gently to nestle the vegetables and fruit into the rice.
- Top with the whole grapefruit segments and sprinkle with chives.
- Serve warm, immediately, or refrigerate and serve cold (stirring gently before serving if it has been in the fridge).
Serves 3 – 4.