Delicious summer salad

Brown rice, arugula, black beans and feta in a tangy vinaigrette. 

Brown rice, arugula, black beans and feta in a tangy vinaigrette. 

As the weather has warmed up, I have been craving salad.  Not a leafy, light, I'm-hungry-again-in-2-hours kind of salad, but a filling, substantial salad that still screams summer.  I created this brown rice based salad, using a lemon vinaigrette and arugula to lighten it up.  Black beans add protein and feta cheese makes it seem decadent.  It hit all the right buttons….substantial from the rice and beans, creamy from the cheese, bright and crunchy from the arugula.  I used Trader Joes lemon olive oil for the dressing, but any olive oil will work.  I also used black soy beans because that's what I had but you could use regular black beans or any bean for that matter.  I am an onion lover so I made caramelized onions but green onions would be fine. 

I ate a big plate of this for dinner one night, and then took leftovers to work for lunch the next three days.  It was still delicious and I never got tired of it! 

Rice Salad with Arugula, Black Beans and Feta

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Keywords: salad side vegetarian brown rice arugula feta cheese black beans

Ingredients (4 large servings)

    For the rice
    • 1 cup of brown rice, uncooked, ideally soaked in room temperature water to cover for 4 hours, rinsed and drained
    • 2 1/4 cups water
    • pinch of salt
    For the vinaigrette
    • 1 Tbsp stone ground or dijon mustard
    • i garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    • pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2/3 cup lemon flavored olive oil (or plain olive oil)
    For the salad
    • 4 big handfulls of arugula (about 2/3 of package pre-washed)
    • 1/3 cup slivered sun dried tomatoes (I used Trader Joes, 1/2 bag)
    • 1/2 cup caramelized onions (see other recipe) or 4 green onions, sliced
    • 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
    • 1 14 oz can black beans or black soy beans, drained and rinsed

    Instructions

    For the rice

    Put the rice with the water into a medium sauce pan and add a pinch of salt. Heat over high heat until it just comes to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 45 minutes. Turn off the heat. Leaving the pot covered, let steam undisturbed for 10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

    For the vinaigrette

    While rice is cooking, put all ingredients except oil into a small jar. Close tightly and shake well to mix. Add oil and shake again. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper, oil or vinegar to taste. Set aside. Note: this will make more than you need. Leftovers are delicious on salad, used to roast vegetables or on a baked potato.

    For the salad

    Put the arugula, onions, and sundried tomatoes into a large bowl. When the rice is done, scoop it into the bowl on top of the arugula. Add about 1/2 of the vinaigrette. Using tongs or two large spoons, toss together, allowing the arugula to wilt. When mixed well, add the blackbeans and feta cheese. Toss again to mix well. Taste for seasoning, adding more dressing as needed to coat all ingredients nicely. Serve at room temperature.

    Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and are delicious!

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