This is an approximate recreation of the ubiquitous brown rice salad that those of us who were around during the 1980’s may remember. I was a kid at the time and like many kids would occasionally go off for the weekend to stay over at friend’s house. My own mum wasn’t terribly adventurous in the kitchen and so with me being the kind of child who was used to a non-challenging ‘fish-fingers, boiled potatoes and peas’ kind of diet, it seemed the weirdest thing when my friend’s mum – who also wore embroidered cheesecloth blouses, woven leather sandals and smelled of patchouli oil – would put such alien foods as “vegetarian sausages” (made from a packet in those days) and “brown rice salad” on my dinner plate.
Of course these days I’d scarf the lot down in a heartbeat but back then such foods seemed thoroughly mysterious! Gladly today ‘Whole Plant Foods’ are no longer such a minority interest; in fact they’re all the rage and recipes for multitudes of different kinds of grain salads filled with of all kinds of super-foods, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables, now litter glossy recipe books and internet cookery sites.
Still, today I felt like I wanted to pay homage to one of my first exposures to a movement that is now happily thoroughly established and still growing strong, but that nevertheless has taken a good few years to attract such mass interest, and which has also endured much derision en route!
I may even dab on a little patchouli oil 😉
Retro Brown Rice Salad – vegan
- 1 cup / 6 oz long grain brown rice (I used brown basmati)
- 1 green or red pepper, medium diced
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- One stick of celery, finely sliced
- 1 – 2 oz (a handful) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 – 2 oz (a handful) raisins
- 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Four firm closed-cap mushrooms, sliced
- 6 tbsp cider vinegar (or more if you like it nice and tangy)
- 4 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
- 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Plenty of salt and black pepper
- Cook rice according to packet instructions (mine took 20 mins).
- While rice is cooking, lightly toast the chopped hazelnuts in a dry frying pan for a few minutes.
- Then make up the dressing from the vinegar, oil, dried herbs, garlic, mustard and salt and pepper. Set to one side.
- Just prior to end of the rice’s cooking time, add the diced carrot and allow to cook for three to four minutes just to soften slightly. Then drain and rinse rice and carrot in cold water.
- Once cooled, add remaining salad ingredients to rice. Then add the dressing and gently toss to coat everything.
- Allow the salad to sit for a short time before serving.