This eclectic dish combines east and west (and Europe –middle?!). Think of the classic Italian tomato, red onion and basil salad. Then bulk it up with some chewy black rice which can trace its roots back to China, apparently. Throw in an avocado (central and Latin America) and then back to Italy: garnish with basil, pine nuts and olives – although I love using Greece’s Kalamata olives here.
The combination of these sweet, savoury and aromatic flavours, along with a wealth of textures – succulent, crunchy, chewy and buttery – makes a delicious and filling salad or side dish. Get out the Tupperware and take into work for a healthy work day lunch: it’s so easy to throw together and you don’t need to be prescriptive on the amounts at all.
Ingredients (4 servings)
200g black rice
2-3 red onions
50g pine nuts
Olives – optional but recommended
Fresh basil to garnish – a 20-30g packet is ideal
1 fat garlic clove – crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- Boil the rice in plenty of hot water according to packet instructions; usually takes 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing up the ingredients together in a small bowl or cup. Leave to one side.
- Dice the red onions finely, slice up the tomatoes and avocados into bite sized chunks and de-stone the olives if using.
- Toast the pine nuts by dry frying for just a minute or so in a frying pan – remember to regularly shake it to ensure they don’t burn.
- Once the rice is done, drain it thoroughly. Return it to the saucepan and stir through the dressing first.
- When you are ready to serve, stir in the tomatoes, onions, olives, pine nuts and avocados and garnish with shredded basil.
Wine suggestion: a light-ish red works well with these zingy flavours and the bulky rice; try a Pinot Noir such as this simple red Burgundy from Waitrose or give a nod to the Italian theme with this beautiful Sangiovese from Uncorked – a grape variety that works with the high acidity of fresh tomatoes