Every family has a picky eater, and it’s usually a child who only eats white foods and has the inherent dexterity to remove the most microscopic particles of onion from any casserole, soup or stew in which it hides.
In my family, that picky eater (age 8) is joined by assorted others who can’t or won’t consume certain foods. One has celiac disease, another is lactose intolerant, a third is a vegan, another refuses to eat carbs… and so on, through seven children.
As the family cook, I meet these dietary challenges by avoiding the kitchen at night. (Just kidding.) Instead, I try to make a couple of dishes that can be eaten by at least some family members, and hope that between the two dishes, there will be enough to satisfy most of the people, most of the time. To make it all work, I rely on a mixture of convenience and fresh foods.
Tonight, I made a dish nearly everyone likes. It’s a brown rice salad that is versatile in that you can add or subtract various ingredients. If you don’t like peppers, use radishes instead. Using frozen steam-in-bag vegetables means you don’t have to wash and cut up green and wax beans. You can use whatever nuts you like, toss in fresh herbs if you prefer, and hey—if you don’t have the 40 minutes to make brown rice, this works well with quinoa or pasta.
Though you could serve this warm, it is much more refreshing to eat it chilled during a heat wave. With it, serve grilled or roasted chicken, sliced watermelon, and iced tea.
Brown Rice Salad
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- ½ (12-oz) package steam-in-bag Petite Bean Blend, cooked and drained
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- ½ zucchini, chopped
- ½ cup shelled edamame, cooked
- ½ cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup torn fresh basil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, bell pepper, zucchini, edamame, walnuts, and basil.
In small bowl, whisk vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add it to the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Taste before serving; add extra salt and pepper, if desired.