Magic Salad with Brown Rice

Why is this salad magical? It has so many interesting features and potential variations:

• ALL ingredients are optional, including the rice.
• Vary the amount of each ingredient according to your own taste preferences. You can add/substitute additional ingredients such as different vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, or seeds.
• Eat it chilled, hot, or any temperature in-between.
• Nothing in it spoils easily (no meat, dairy, or egg) so it can sit on a picnic, potluck or buffet table without being chilled. It also travels well for the same reason.
• Chopping vegetables and cooking rice are the only skills required.
• You can use fresh, frozen, or canned ingredients for any item in the recipe.
• If refrigerated immediately, this salad will last many days. I don’t know exactly how many days because in my house it’s always eaten before it spoils.
• It’s very tasty! A dressing is optional but not necessary.

The basic recipe:

0.5 cup uncooked brown rice
1 15 oz. can corn
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
1 cup petite green peas
1 cup chopped mushroom
1 cup peeled and shredded carrot
0.50 cup chopped onion: any kind
0.25 cup chopped olives
1 Tbl chopped garlic
0.50 cup chopped parsley
0.50 cup raisins

Drain and save the liquid from the cans of corn and beans. Mix the saved liquids and use 1 cup to cook the rice. Add water if you need more liquid. Add rice if you have extra liquid. (Keep the liquid/rice ratio at about 2-to-1.) As the rice cooks, prepare the vegetables as indicated. Combine all ingredients in a 2.5 quart or larger bowl. Serve or chill or bake or microwave; this is an any temperature salad. Easily serves 8-10 or more!

Other variations:

Want it sweeter? Add chopped apple, or more dried fruit.
Want more color? Add chopped leafy greens: spinach, etc. or your favorite color chopped bell pepper.
Want more sweet & color? Add a (drained) can of julienned beets.
Want a little more fat? Add avocado, chopped nuts or seeds.
Want a lesser quantity? Reduce the grains or vegetables.
Want a greater quantity? Original ingredients need not be added in the same ratio as the original recipe. New ingredients can also be added.
Insist on a dressing? Equal parts (one tablespoon each) yellow mustard and balsamic vinegar complement this salad wonderfully. Or use any other dressing you have available.

The are so many ways you can creatively transform this salad. That’s why it’s magical!

-submitted by David Grappo

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