The first thing we did when we got home from our food photography class last spring was head straight for our local produce market.
We’d been so inspired by all the vibrant vegetables we styled and photographed at the class, we could hardly wait to get our hands on some beautiful produce of our own.
We got asparagus, fennel, carrots, broccoli and artichokes, roasted them and then tossed them with fragrantly spiced rice. We enjoyed it so much the first time we made them, we ignored our cameras and just sat down to eat.
We make it quite often now, it’s become a staple in our dinner repertoire; we switch to whatever produce is available as the seasons change.
Last fall we roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli with lots of garlic and added some leftover rice cooked with lemon zest and a drizzle of tahini dressing – We made it three weeks in a row and had to stop ourselves from making it again, lest we got tired of it.
This past weekend, it was artichokes, asparagus and fava beans at the market that reminded me that spring was here again, we’d come full circle
We’ve made this balsamic roasted veggies and rice salad throughout the year using a myriad of seasonal produce, each season has been special but spring’s produce feels a tad exceptional… it’s refreshing.
This salad, in essence, is a simple, nutritious meal that is perfect for weeknights and makes even better lunches days after.
It’s easy to assemble once you have the vegetables prepped and the rice can be cooked in advance… it’s a great way to use up your leftover rice.
For the vegetables, you gather a multitude of fresh in-season produce, toss them in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roast until they caramelize and become even more flavoursome.
I like to use different types of rice; I have a little reserve of forbidden rice specially for this recipe because its sweet nutty flavour pairs well with the bountiful vegetables and adds to the hardy texture of the dish.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup forbidden rice (black rice)
- 2 bunches baby broccoli, trimmed
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/2 –inch thick pieces
- 2 – 3 medium carrots, sliced into 1 –inch rounds
- 1 – 2 medium leeks, trimmed, sliced into 2-inch rounds and washed thoroughly
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for artichoke
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for baking sheet and artichoke
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 roasted artichoke, chopped – see notes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Cook the brown and black rice separately, according to the package instructions (or in a rice cooker)
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees f. and drizzle some olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet
- Combine broccoli, fennel, carrot and leek in a large bowl
- Toss with salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and spread onto baking sheet
- Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender and caramelized.
- Stir once or twice while vegetables are roasting,
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pan
- Add cumin and onion when oil is hot and cook for about 2 minutes until the cumin is fragrant and onions are softened
- Add cayenne pepper and balsamic vinegar and cooked brown and forbidden rice
- Mix in roasted vegetables and toss to combine
- Check seasoning and add salt to taste
- Remove from heat and toss with cilantro
- Serve and enjoy
- Prepare artichoke by removing the tough outer layer, trim and clean, cut in half lengthwise and immerse in lemon water. Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Lay artichoke halves cut-side up in a baking dish and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Roast until artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes