Mediterranean Rice Salad
- ½ Cup Pine nuts
- 3 Cups Cooked Texas long grain rice
- 1 Cup Crumbled feta or goat cheese
- 1 Cup Sliced English cucumber, peel left on
- ½ Cup Diced red bell pepper
- 1 Zucchini squash, grilled tender-crisp, and cut into chunks
- 1 Yellow squash, grilled tender-crisp, and cut into chunks
- 3 Green onions, sliced thin, including tops
- 1 Cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 Cup Halved grape tomatoes
- 1 or 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp Finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp Finely minced fresh mint
- 6 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 3-4 Tbsp Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the salad: Toast the pine nuts in a dry, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir often. Watch carefully — they burn easily! When lightly browned, transfer the nuts into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooked rice and feta. Add cucumber, bell pepper, grilled squashes, onions, olives, and tomatoes. Stir gently to mix all the ingredients.
To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl combine garlic, rosemary, mint, lemon zest and lemon juice. Very slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously until the mixture is emulsified. Adjust seasonings. Pour over rice mixture, and lightly toss all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make-ahead tip: This salad is delicious made a day in advance to allow flavors to blend.
Variation: Add cooked diced chicken or cooked shrimp for a heartier salad.