This week, while our friends in the northeast were battening down hatches and contending with a ‘historic snowstorm,’ spring came to us here in the northwest.
This isn’t to rub it in; we’re not revelling in these spring-like temperatures yet. It’s nice, but it feels a little off – the mountains are missing ‘snow-caps’ and the magnolia tree across the street has started flowering; would it bloom again when spring comes?
Yesterday I peeled off my jacket halfway on my way to work, and I’ve been sleeping with the windows cracked open, my skin doesn’t remember what winter feels like anymore.
We didn’t get much of a winter last year either, but we could at least still enjoy our soups – these aren’t soup temperatures at all. There is no yearning for comforting and lush slow cooked stews and soups. I kind of miss that.
We’ve been doing warm salads lately, and lots of roasted vegetables with heady spices like Tunisian harissa and habanero curry from Tobago for warmth.
We’ve made this salad a few times; it’s a warm one… minty and lemony with raisins. It has slices of red onions too, which get slightly pickled from the acid in the lemon juice, and a little bit of sundried tomatoes for a savouriness.
This is an easy salad with simple ingredients, it’s a happy marriage of brown basmati rice, peas, mint and raisins with onions, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes and a light lemony vinaigrette, it’s immensely flavourful.
It’s fresh and light and appropriate for the kind of weather we’ve been having lately.
I think of peas in springtime, crisp and sweet; do use fresh English peas if you find them.
Like these types of salads, it tastes even better after the ingredients have had time to meld – I like it best the day after, just barely reheated.
- 2 cups basmati brown rice
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using broth with sodium)
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 red onion, sliced lengthwise
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup green raisins
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint, plus more for garnishing
- Rinse rice, add 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest and salt and broth and cook in a rice cooker per machine’s instructions or on stovetop per package instructions
- To cook peas, bring salted water to a boil in a small saucepan, add peas, stir and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes, drain and set aside. Or cook peas on high in a microwave for about 5 minutes
- Meanwhile, combine onions, pepper, sun-dried tomatoes in a large bowl
- Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl and pour over onion and pepper mixture and mix well to incorporate
- Add the rice, peas, raisins and mint, toss to combine
- Taste and check seasoning, add more salt and pepper if desired
- Serve garnished with mint