This recipe was part of the 2014 New York Times Vegetarian Thanksgiving.
This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving and I made a small spread full of seasonal eats. Thanksgiving in Canada may be a big deal in some homes, but generally, it’s not the big to-do that the American holiday is. Nevertheless, it’s a great excuse to eat plenty of good food (not that I need a holiday for that). This salad recipe was part of the menu, serving as a more substantial half main/half side vegetarian option on the table. I greedily filled half of my plate with it and dreamt about tomorrow’s leftovers, which were eaten before lunch by someone else the following day. So, if you want a kale salad that people will fight over, make this.
We had stellar weather this weekend to boot. Crisp air, clear skies, a blanket of stars at night, all complete with crunchy leaves underfoot. I spent quite a bit of time outside, took a little hike with my family, and stayed off of the computer–because our service provider left us without internet for 3 days. It wasn’t that bad (okay, I couldn’t remove myself completely; I definitely went over my cell’s data limit checking Twitter). Being forced offline left me with ample time to read, eat, walk, and finally finish the second Hobbit film (which is much better than the first, I’m happy to report). It also left me with plenty of spare time to tinker away in the kitchen.
Black rice is a fascinating grain. Inky, tender, with a flavour reminiscent of brown rice, it can be used anywhere rice is called for. But keep this in mind: if you’re throwing it in a soup or stew, it will turn the whole thing purple, so it’s best use black rice as a bed for curries, a simple grain side dish, or in a salad like this.
The health benefits of black rice really get me excited. The black coat contains anthocyanins, antioxidants delivering a variety of health perks. In fact, black rice has one of the highest levels of anthocyanins of any food. Healthy, beautiful, and delicious–check, check, and check. If you’re curious as to where you can source black rice, check the grocery store or a bulk food store (I live in a smaller town and was able to find it very easily). If you can’t seem to find it anywhere and are just itching to get your hands on some, online shopping never fails.
If you celebrated this past weekend, I hope you had a fantastic, food-filled Thanksgiving, and for those of you that didn’t, I hope your weekend was no less fantastic and food-filled.
Black Rice, Beet, and Kale Salad with Cider Flax Dressing Recipe
I created this black rice salad recipe as a healthy Thanksgiving side dish, and it appeared in the New York Times Vegetarian Thanksgiving in 2014. Filled with roasted beets, kale, pecans, and an apple cider vinegar and flaxseed oil dressing, this make-ahead dish pleases all palates and diets. It’s gluten-free, vegan, and can be doubled to serve a larger crowd.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side
1 lb beets, halved
2/3 cup uncooked black rice (see Notes)
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 cups shredded raw kale
Cider Flax Dressing
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp cold-pressed flaxseed oil OR extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme (whole, not ground)
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
- Salad: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Add beets to a sheet of parchment-lined foil. Crunch into a ball. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Cool until comfortable to handle. Cut into bite-sized pieces or wedges. Add to a large bowl.
- In a medium pot, add rice and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until tender. Fluff with a fork and add to beets, along with kale, and pecans. The heat of the rice will help to soften the kale, so there’s no need to cool it down .
- Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients or shake in a jar until combined. Add to salad. Toss to combine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (overnight best), up to 3 days.
- Serve chilled or room temperature.
- If you can’t find black rice, replace it with wild rice; cook according to package instructions.
- Black rice is sometimes labelled as Forbidden Rice.