Mediterranean Rice Salad

  • 6 cups cooked long grain brown rice (from 2 cups of raw rice)
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic or to taste, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil OR Italian flat leaf parsley
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  • 2 cups spinach leaves, washed, stemmed, and chopped (to save time use prewashed baby spinach)
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped small
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions or chives)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata or regular black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts OR 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (toast on a flat baking pan for 15 minutes at 250 degrees)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 cup cooked black beans (canned or home cooked). If using canned beans, drain, rinse and then drain well in a sieve.
  • Optional: 1/4 - 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (unless you are serving for vegans)
  1. Make rice ahead of time and cool to room temperature
  2. Heat oil on medium in a fry pan, and saute minced garlic until soft but not browned (2 minutes).
  3. Add red peppers and saute with garlic until tender crisp (2 minutes)(tender crisp means half cooked)
  4. Add the spinach to the pan and stir until wilted
  5. Use a spatula to scrape the oil, garlic and red pepper into a large bowl
  6. Add the lemon juice to the fry pan and stir it around, then add it to the bowl
  7. Add salt, pepper and dried oregano leaf to the lemon and oil mixture
  8. Add rice to the bowl, and toss the rice with the olive oil mixture
  9. Stir chopped basil, cucumber, green onions, olives, toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds, and optional black beans or feta cheese into the rice mixture
  10. Cover and let salad marinate for an hour before serving, in the fridge or not, as you like.
  11. Serve salad at room temperature or chilled.

My Notes

I've also turned this into an asian rice salad by using the sunflower seeds instead of the pine nuts and also removing the feta, olives, and lemon juice in favour of rice vinegar.