Crispy Rice salads are perfect tossed with fresh herbs and raisins. This one uses parsley, cilantro, dill and mint, but feel free to use herbs you have on hand. Just make sure you use a lot of herbs – this rice salad is as much about the crispy rice as it is about the herbs.
One of my New Year’s Intentions this year is to eat more salads. Specifically, I want to eat a salad a day.
However, by mid-January I reframed this Intention to 4 – 5 salads a week.
And then the Intention became Nice Idea That Might Not Happen, and I promptly forgot all about it.
What Are 5 Major Types of Salads?
This Crispy Rice dish might not look like a salad to you. But salads take a nearly infinite variety of forms. This makes is super-easy to add them to your menu all year round. For simplicity, let’s divide them into 5 categories:
These are your tossed salads as well as composed salads, with greens as the main component. This includes butter lettuce, romaine, or kale. Caesar Salad is a great example of a tossed salad. So is this Crunchy Kale and Apple Salad with Thai Peanut Butter Dressing.
Vegetable salads are just what they sound like – mostly vegetables tossed in a dressing. Examples are this Greek Salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions, Grilled Fattoush Salad – a Middle Eastern staple, a Three Bean Lemony Salad with Herbs or this Warm Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad with Miso Dressing. I eat these all year round.
Pasta, Legume or Rice Salads
Salads dominated by pasta, legumes or rice fall in this group. I adore chickpea salads such as this Chickpea Salad with Garlic and Olives, Pan-Roasted Chickpea Salad with Curried Yogurt, and Chickpea Spread on Avocado Toasts.
This Herby Peas and Green Crispy Rice Salad obviously fits into this group as a rice salad. The rice is baked to get it crispy, and it’s tossed with herbs, sugar snap peas, golden raisins and a tart-sweet dressing.
Mixed Salads Incorporating Meat and Fish
These salads use meats or fish to bulk up a light salad, making it a meal for pescatarians and omnivores.
Fruit salads are most often served as a side dish, as in this Watermelon Salad tossed with herbs, feta and a vinaigrette, or as a dessert.
What is Crispy Rice?
Crispy rice starts with cooked rice, either cooked fresh or leftover rice that’s a couple days old. The cooked rice is spread in a pan with some oil and cooked so that the rice on the bottom becomes a crust. This crust is then folded into the soft cooked rice for a mixture of textures.
Do this on the stove in a seasoned pan or in the oven. Both methods work well. The key is to not move the rice around, so that the rice crisps up.
Some recipes call for sprinkling oil over the rice, as in this recipe, and a favorite from my childhood adds Italian dressing. I often add olive oil and dried herbs to leftover rices as a quick way to perk it up.
Salad Days Cookbook
Even with all the variety salads offer, I get stuck in salad ruts. Am I alone?
I make the same salads over and over ad nauseum.
Until Amy Pennington’s new cookbook, Salad Days, showed up in the mail. It was like the Universe reaching out to me with recipes ready to go, all in an effort to get me back on track. And what a great cookbook it is. Its tagline is “Boost Your Health and Happiness with 75 Simple, Satisfying Recipes for Greens, Grains, Proteins, and More”, and there’s a lot packed in here.
The Salad Chapters
There’s a Pantry section that includes a recipe for making your own apple cider vinegar, and ideas for salad dressings and tidbits that can be easily added. There are chapters on Breakfast Salads and Salads for a Crowd.
There are Grain Bowls (which are all the rage), Bean Salads, and Noodle Salads.
For a seasonal take, there are Winter Salads (the White Beans and Blood Oranges with Spinach and Preserved Lemon is a solid home run), Salads with Fruit, and Cooling Salads.
And There Are Lots of Vinaigrettes
The book wraps up with some great vinaigrettes and dressings ranging from a super simple Lemon Vinaigrette to a Cashew-Cumin Dressing, Nutty Miso Dressing, and Citrus-Avocado Dressing. I loved the Spicy Avocado Dressing and want to try the Rhubarb Juice Vinaigrette. It sounds so perfect with a spinach salad with strawberries. There are lots of tips throughout the cookbook, and lots of appetizing photos.
Salads All Year Round
In a nutshell, I now have a wonderful way to have several salads a week and still feel like I’m getting a huge variety in my meals. These salads are exciting adventures of flavor, and I highly recommend this cookbook to all of you.
Go here to order it! Just click on the below image of the cookbook. Full disclosure, I’m an Amazon Affiliate and will get a few pennies towards the cost of keeping my blog going. But you won’t pay anything extra for the book!
Herby Peas and Crispy Green Rice
- 1 cup basmati rice or other white rice
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup currants I used golden raisins, because that's what I had on hand
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 3 ounces sugar snap peas about 20 pods, very thinly sliced
- 1 green onion very thinly sliced
- Zest from 1 medium lime
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To cook the rice, in a medium pot with a lid, put the rice and add enough water so the rice is covered by 1 inch of water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, uncover, and set aside for about 5 minutes.
- While rice is cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a baking sheet, put the cooked rice and drizzle evenly with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Do not stir it, as this will break the grain. Roast the rice for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and stir the rice, coating it more evenly with the oil, and return the pan to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes more and remove the pan, setting it aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (Making this at high altitude required 5 additional minutes for each roasting, for a total of 10 additional minutes.)
- In a large bowl, add the currants, mint, parsley, cilantro, dill, snap peas, green onion, lime zest and juice, honey, salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Once the rice has cooled slightly, add it to the bowl and toss until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook to review, but there was no obligation and no compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.