Vegan Mediterranean Rice Salad
Our small group had a Mediterranean-themed potluck last month. When I googled something like “Vegan Mediterranean Recipe,” I stumbled upon this awesome salad. And I’m SO glad I did! I’m also glad I found Savvy Vegetarian, which is full of really great vegetarian/vegan advice, recipes, articles, etc.
I love this salad so much that I’ve made it three times already. I mean I REALLY love it. I’m not a big fan of leftovers, but this salad is an exception. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and tastes even better on day two. This is a great recipe to make ahead for a potluck, then serve it chilled.
It’s easy, but there is definitely some prep work involved with the rice and chopped veggies. Trust me when I say it is definitely worth it. It can be served as a side, or it could definitely be a meal in itself. Dee.lish.us. I can’t wait to finish this post and have some for lunch!
Here we go…
First off, you’ll need to cook your rice. This can be done in advance if you like, even the day before.
- 1½ cups long grain brown rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
- 3 cups cold water
- ½ tsp. salt
Rinse rice until water runs clear.
Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Add salt, cover and simmer on low-medium for about 50 minutes (or until rice is done).
Fluff rice gently with a fork and set aside to cool at room temperature.
Next, chop your veggies:
- 2 cups spinach leaves – washed, stemmed and chopped
(To save time, use pre-washed baby spinach – that’s what I did.)
- 1 medium red bell pepper – finely chopped
- 1 cucumber – peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped green onions or chives
- ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives (make sure you buy the pitted ones)
I mixed all my veggies together (not necessary).
Preheat oven to 325º. Spread ½ cup of pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden.
(I like to do this in my toaster oven, but beware, they toast really fast that way.)
For the dressing you will need:
- 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (I only needed one lemon.)
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
Mix dressing ingredients together in a LARGE bowl.
Add the rice and mix well.
Stir in the chopped veggies, spinach, pine nuts, and ½ cup of black beans (rinsed, drained).
Grab a fork and dig in!
The fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil, and Kalamata olives – mmmmmmmm. During a Mediterranean cruise a few years back, I remember having the most amazing lunch at one of our stops in Greece.
It was a gourmet buffet and I couldn’t stop eating – I must have gone back up to the buffet ten times (okay, maybe three times). This salad triggers my taste buds and brings me back to that day!