There's no question that this is one of my favorite recipes, and it's a recipe that's gone through a couple of incarnations. I first called this Jeanne's Wedding Salad, created about 15 years ago for a party honoring the wedding of my friend Jeanne Zeigler, someone I've lost touch with through the years. (Jeanne, do you ever google yourself? Maybe you'll find this someday.)
Back in the days when I was catering houseboat trips at Lake Powell in Southern Utah, this salad was a favorite with everyone, unless of course they belonged to that part of the population that hates cilantro. Then when we had the one year anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging, where bloggers were asked to vote for their favorite herb, I re-named this My Favorite Herb Salad.
The name of Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad doesn't fully describe all the flavors here because there are sweet bell peppers, green onions, and a savory dressing adding a lot of good tastes. If you're not a cilantro lover, you might try making this with flat-leaf parsley subbed for the cilantro, and I bet it would still be great. Of course, that would be Black Bean, Rice, and Parsley salad, the fourth incarnation for this recipe!
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad
(about 8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)
2 cups Uncle Ben's Converted rice (for South Beach diet) or Basmati Rice
1 T fresh lemon juice
4 C chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well (or use 2 cups cooked beans)
2 red peppers, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
(use any combination of colors)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
1 cup (or more!) finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T ground cumin
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Spike seasoning
1 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
Put canned beans in a colander and rinse well until no foam remains. Let beans drain while you cook the rice, chop ingredients and prepare dressing. If they still seem wet, blot dry with paper towel. (Beans you cook yourself are great for this recipe if you have the extra time. You need 1 - 2 cups cooked beans.)
In heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid, bring chicken stock and lemon juice to a boil, stir in rice, bring back to a boil, then cover and cook on very low heat for 25 minutes without lifting lid. After 25 minutes, check to see if all water is absorbed. As soon as the bottom of the pan doesn't have any stock remaining when you stir the rice, turn off heat and let rice sit about 10 minutes. Then remove lid and let rice come to room temperature before proceeding with recipe. (It can be cooled in refrigerator if you're in a hurry.)
Mix dressing and chop peppers, green onions, and cilantro while rice cools. When rice is room temperature, combine all ingredients and chill 1-2 hours before serving. This will keep fairly well in the refrigerator for a day or two, but it probably won't last that long.
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South Beach Suggestions:
Be sure to use Uncle Ben's Converted Rice to make this if you're a South Beach Dieter, since it's the lowest glycemic index type of white rice. A small serving of this with something like Grilled Fusion Chicken or Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon and Capers would be a great phase two dinner. For phase three, you could have a larger serving of the salad.