Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in new recipes… project reno house has been rather time-consuming, but don’t you worry I’ve got you covered with a new recipe for the week. Have you seen all the stunning stone fruit flowing in from B.C. at the markets?! I can’t get enough of all the local produce I can get my hands on, its endless and I wish we had it all year round. I bought a huge flat of apricots from B.C. as they are my absolute fav, then after eating them straight up and like I’d never see them again… I decided to get creative and create something filling and fresh to share with all of you, how about a Black Rice Salad with Apricots, Beets, Herbs & Goat Cheese?! I also received an incredibly beautiful and bountiful herb basket from a very thoughtful colleague at work and knew I had to incorporate it somehow! I love the idea of a grain salad with fruit, herbs and crunchy salty nuts combined into a glorious salad, so that’s how this Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese was born. Wait until you taste this combination of earthy and fresh ingredients!
I stumbled upon black rice aka Forbidden Rice at Planet Organic a few months ago, I had to try out this dark and mysterious rice, I was so positively delighted and my senses were captivated by this little deep purple grain, I’ve been dying to use it in a recipe to spread the word of its existence! I wondered where it came from, how it differs from regular white/brown rice and did it have any added health benefits from regular rice? Well, I did some research and legend tells us that black rice was once only served to Chinese royalty back in the day, oh and it does have some impressive health benefits. Black rice has this rich, slightly sweeter and nutty flavor, it’s becomes soft and sticky when cooked and really shines in the nutrient department. This forbidden black rice holds powerful disease fighting anti-oxidants, it is rich in fiber, iron and a good source of plant-based protein, it smokes white rice off the charts! It’s popularity is gaining and I’m seeing it pop up in health food stores around Calgary, your best bet is Planet Organic in the bulk section! Cook up a pot of this black rice and watch it turn deep purple after it’s cooked, it’s amazing!
Now for the rest of this salad! As I mentioned before, I had an entire flat of apricots to put to good use, I’m a huge advocate of fruit in salads, trust me, the combination here of the nutty and slightly sweet rice, with earthy red beets, the unique tart nectarous flavor of the apricots all topped off with fresh soft goat cheese coated in fresh thyme and those crunchy salty walnuts… we are talking serious salad business! I was leaning on the more traditional dijon, balsamic dressing for this salad, but I wanted the rice to have a light coating of something creamy… a thought came to me, what would happen if I mixed balsamic and TAHINI!? It sounded odd, it couldn’t possibly work… only one way to find out! I whipped together tahini, dark balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, fresh thyme, salt & pepper, drizzled it over my salad, closed my eyes and took a huge bite, OMG YUM, it was marvelous! The flavors of roasted sesame from the tahini just enhanced the earthiness of this salad even further.
Alright, enough talking and more recipe blogging! Here is how to make this beautiful Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese!
For the Salad, approximately 4 servings:
1 cup of black rice (I find it at Planet Organic or Community Health in the bulk section)
2 medium red beets – roasted & chopped
2-3 fresh apricots – chopped
2 tbsp soft crumbled goat cheese
1 sprig of fresh minced thyme
Handful of halved walnuts
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper
For the Tahini Balsamic Dressing:
1.5 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tbsp warm water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey (I used Drizzle Spring Honey)
1/4 tsp salt
Ground fresh pepper
Pinch of fresh minced thyme
How to create your own Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese:
Turn oven on to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash and cut end off beets, place in an oven safe dish, fill with water until just under half of the beets are immersed in water, cover with lid/tin foil and roast for 45 minutes or until a fork is easily inserted into beet.
Add 1 cup of black rice to a pot, add 2 cups of cold water and 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to a slight boil then turn down to low and cover with a lid, cook for 30 minutes.
Once your beets are roasted, the skin should peel off very easily, chop them up.
Chop up your apricots.
Crumble soft goat cheese and make them into mini balls, roll them in the fresh minced thyme.
Mix together the cooked rice, beets, apricots and top off with herbed goat cheese, halved walnuts, salt & pepper.
Mix all your salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk until well blended, pour over salad and toss!
I make extra rice and roasted beets so I can throw this Black Rice Walnut Salad with Apricots, Beets & Fresh Thyme Goat Cheese together for quick lunches and dinners!
There you have it, your own beautiful salad for dinner! Let me know what you think, I absolutely love hearing from all of you and seeing how I’ve inspired your dishes each and every day, nothing makes me happier. Have a lovely week and enjoy everything our last days of summer have to bring, xoxo!