Dietitian's Choice: Asparagus Salad with Black Rice and Radishes
This recipe is bursting with the flavors of Spring! Asparagus, radishes, and parsley are paired with fresh lemon and olive oil dressing for a combination of flavors that will excite your tastebuds. Add in black rice, and you have a well-rounded, satisfying dish that can be served on its own or alongside a protein of choice.
Black rice is sometimes referred to as “forbidden rice” because it is so nutritious that it was once off-limits to everyone except royalty. Black rice is technically purple rice, and
the dark purple pigment that gives the rice its black look is the same one found in blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, and red cabbage. Anthocyanin is the formal name of this purple-red plant compound, which is known to have health benefits, including being anti-inflammatory. If you’re unsure about black rice or can’t find it in-store, no worries; this recipe can be made just as well with red rice or regular ol’ brown rice.
Asparagus Salad with Black Rice and Radishes
Time: 40 minutes
1 cup black rice
1 3/4 cup vegetable stock
4 medium-size radishes, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup raw almonds, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
Place rice and vegetable stock in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, uncover, and let sit for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.
While rice is cooking, prepare other ingredients: slice radishes, and chop almonds and parsley. Set aside. Then combine lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk vigorously to combine, and set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Give lemon juice and olive oil mixture one last whisk, then place all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a large spoon, stir gently to combine.
The dish may be served warm or cold. For a warm dish, serve immediately. For a cool dish, refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Leave the rice covered while it cooks, and resist the urge to remove the lid for a peek at how it’s doing! This is will allow it to cook properly. When 35 minutes have passed, you may remove the lid and tilt the pan to make sure all liquid has been absorbed.
Three tablespoons of lemon juice are about the equivalent of juice from one medium-size lemon. Small lemons may only yield two tablespoons of juice, whereas large lemons may yield one-fourth of a cup.
When combining all ingredients in a large bowl, the rich pigment of the rice may discolor the other ingredients. If you’re looking for a nice presentation to accompany the great taste, first combine rice, asparagus, and dressing. Then top with radishes, parsley, and almonds.
Red or yellow bell peppers may be substituted for radishes. They can also be included in addition to radishes for extra color and crunch.
Toasted almonds add another dimension of flavor. They require a little bit more time but are worth it. To toast, place almonds in a pan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula so that they do not burn. Once they become aromatic and begin to turn golden brown, remove them from heat. This may take 8-10 minutes.
Black (purple) rice has a nutritional profile much like other rice in its whole form. It is a good source of fiber and B vitamins, and it also contains numerous minerals, including significant amounts of magnesium and selenium. As discussed above, it contains anthocyanins, which are studied for their antioxidant properties and other health-supportive effects. Asparagus contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals and is particularly high in vitamin K and folate. It contains many substances known to be anti-inflammatory, including well-known flavonoids, in addition to many micronutrients known to be antioxidants.