Rice salads are a summertime staple, and a great way to round out a warm weather menu. Use whatever rice you have around, or that you are fancying lately.  I used plain old white rice, because that’s what I had, but brown would be perfect, and it would be fun to play with more “exotic” types of rice, like Texmati, jasmine, basmati, or wild rice.  

Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad

Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad: Whatever rice you like, whatever spring vegetables you have on hand add up to a perfect light rice salad.

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Blanching Vegetables for Vegetable Rice Salad

What you are doing to the green vegetables by cooking them briefly in boiling water, and then immediately draining them and plunging them into ice water is blanching them.  Blanching is a quick-cook method, usually used with vegetables, that not only softens the vegetables slightly, and when you dunk them into cold water right after cooking them this method also locks in their bright color.  This also stops them from cooking further in the residual cooking heat, which is known as carryover cooking.  

If you cooked the vegetables for a couple of minutes and skipped the ice bath they would just soften a bit, and lose a bit of their brightness, but everything would still be a-ok.  However, this ice water bath takes very little extra time, and also, the bowl that you use for the water bath is barely “dirty” and can be immediately put to use for something else, like a green salad or to mix up whatever else is happening for dinner in your house.  That’s my case for the ice bath, take it or leave it.

Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad

Cooking Beets

To cook beets, click here, or…you can cheat.  Cooked beets, even golden or yellow beets, are available in the supermarket, canned or freshly cooked usually within the produce section.  I’m partial to Melissa’s steamed beets, which some in red and golden colors, and can be kept in the fridge for months til you are in a beet mood.  The chunks are larger than I prefer for this salad, so I just cut them in half or into smaller pieces, which takes all of 2 minutes.  I like using golden beets in salads because the color doesn’t bleed into the other vegetables.

Storing Rice Salad

This salad can be made up to 2 days in advance, though the green vegetables might lose some of their brightness.

Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad

What to Serve with Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad:

This would also be great as part of a composed or prepared salad mini buffet, with other salads such as Pasta Salad with Chicken, Avocado and Tomato, Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Salad, Arugula and Cucumber Salad with Tzatziki Vinaigrette and Modern Three Bean Salad.

Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad

Other Grain and Vegetable Salads:

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Spring Vegetable and Rice Salad

Whatever rice you like, whatever spring vegetables you have on hand add up to a perfect light rice salad.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar snap peas , de-stringed and halved crosswise
  • 1 cup asparagus , trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • ½ cup diced cooked golden beets (see Note)
  • ½ cup minced scallions , white and green parts

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt generously with kosher salt, and return to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, fill a medium bowl with ice water and keep it nearby.
  • Add the sugar snap peas and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, then drain and immediately plunge the drained vegetables into the cold water to stop the cooking. Let sit in the cold water for 2 minutes, then drain again.
  • While the vegetables are in the water bath, in a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooled blanched vegetables, rice, beets and scallions and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

To cook beets, click here, or…you can cheat. Cooked beets, even golden or yellow beets, are available in the supermarket, canned or freshly cooked usually within the produce section. I’m partial to Melissa’s steamed beets, which some in red and golden colors, and can be kept in the fridge for months til you are in a beet mood. The chunks are larger than I prefer for this salad, so I just cut them in half or into smaller pieces, which takes all of 2 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 661IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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