This Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette is an old favorite recipe, and this tasty meatless salad is gluten-free and South Beach Diet Phase Two (with limited portion size).
Re-discovering a recipe is always fun, and while I was unpacking from the move I found this old favorite recipe for Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette in a set of binders with recipes I clipped from cooking magazines back in the days before the internet. The salad was called Roman Rice Salad, but unfortunately I didn't write down where I found it, and I couldn't find anything with that name online. I made this salad many, many times through the years with white rice, dried basil, and chopped bell pepper, but I loved this updated version with brown rice, fresh chopped basil, and rings of pepper from sweet mini-peppers.
I took the salad to a party at my friend Mary's house, where it was a side dish to a lovely meal of Greek food, but I'd enjoy this in the summer as a meatless lunch or dinner, so I decided to share it as my Meatless Monday post for this week. (To see more meatless recipes, use the label Meatless Monday or check Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index. For more Meatless Monday ideas, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)
I cooked the brown rice in my much beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker, but if you don't have a rice cooker just follow package directions to get 4 cups of cooked brown rice. (Take the frozen peas out out and let them thaw on the counter while you cook the rice.)
VERY important, as soon as the rice is cooked fluff it in a bowl so it will cool down while you prep the other ingredients.
If I'd been smart I would have bought some pre-sliced olives, but I just drained a can of regular black olives and sliced them in thickish slices.
If you don't have these sweet mini-peppers, just use a red bell pepper, finely chopped, but I did think the pepper slices looked nice in the salad.
I loved being able to pick the basil from my window-sill herb garden! If you're using garden basil, give it a good wash in the salad spinner.
I chopped the basil in the bowl attachment of my immersion blender, but you can chop it with a knife if you prefer.
Then gently mix in the rice and grated Parmesan cheese, season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve.
Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe adapted from "Roman Rice Salad" found years ago in a cooking magazine, but I couldn't find anything like that online to give proper credit.)
1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice (4 cups cooked brown rice; I used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
1 can (6 oz. drained weight) black olives, thickly sliced (or use pre-sliced olives if you prefer)
6 sweet mini-peppers, sliced (or use 1 red bell pepper, chopped)
12 oz. frozen peas, thawed and drained well
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup purchased or homemade vinaigrette dressing (I used Le Parisien Vinaigrette, which might be hard to find if you're not in Utah.)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Take the green peas out of the freezer and let them thaw on the counter while you cook the brown rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker. As soon as the rice is done, put it in a large bowl and fluff well with a fork so the rice will cool while you prep other ingredients.
While rice cools, drain the black olives well and slice (or just drain the sliced olives if you're using those.) Cut off ends of the sweet mini-peppers, pull out seeds, and slice into rings. Drain the peas well (blot dry with a paper towel if they still seem wet.)
If you're using garden basil, give it a good wash and spin dry with a salad spinner. Chop the basil, either with a knife or using a food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender. Add the vinaigrette dressing and process a little more so the basil is finely chopped and well-mixed into the dressing.
In a bowl large enough to hold all the salad, combine the sliced olives, sweet mini-pepper rings, and drained peas. Mix in enough dressing so all the vegetables are coated with dressing, then gently mix in the brown rice and Parmesan, adding more dressing as needed. Season salad with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste and serve. The salad can also be chilled for a few hours before serving.
This is not bad when it sits overnight in the fridge, but it's best freshly made.
South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
Since peas are relatively high in sugar (for a vegetable) and this salad has brown rice, it would probably be best for Phase 3 of the South Beach Diet, or a once-in-a-while treat for Phase 2. If you want a lower-carb salad, use less peas and rice and more olives, peppers, and Parmesan.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Tasty Salad Ideas with Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Rice and Bean Salad ~ Chocolate and Zucchini
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Tahini Dressing ~ David Lebovitz
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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