Friday, October 26, 2012

salad days

Most of us have those simple, easy recipes to fall back on. You know the ones, where the original recipe fell by the wayside long ago, or a family recipe that has been passed on, possibly with our own little tweaks added over the years. The dishes that can be whipped up quickly, often from the pantry and the garden.

My rice salad is such a dish. Originally it was my mother in law's tuna rice salad. Over the years, it has had many different reincarnations, depending upon what's been in the pantry or in season. Sometimes with tuna, sometimes without. Any assortment of chopped greens, or sometimes tinned beans. Sometimes fresh tomato, sometimes cucumber, corn or grated carrot. It is one of those dishes where almost anything goes. Perfectly suited to those long balmy type of afternoons, where you've been outside and need to rustle up an easy dinner quickly. Something filling but not too heavy.

I've never written down the actual amounts, but it's one of those recipes that works more instinctively. More a handful of this and a drizzle of that kind of cooking.

This is how I made it the other night.

I boiled about a half packet of brown rice (white is more than fine too) until tender. Once drained I added it to large bowl.

Then add your vegetables.  I added big handfuls of chopped young spinach and rainbow chard from the garden. Remember, you can add whatever vegies you have on hand.

 I also added a bunch of chopped chives and a small handful of mint from the garden. I love generous amounts of fresh herbs in this salad. Parsley is also very good. But whatever you have on hand. Spring onion or red onion is a good alternative to the chives.

I  added a tin of tuna (I'm finding the Aldi pole caught tuna in oil to be quite good) and some chopped sundried tomatoes. A little of the oil from this adds a touch more flavour. Again, sundried tomatoes are something you don't have to add, but it does add a good punch of flavour.

To dress the salad season it well with sea salt, add a very generous amount of olive oil and the juice of a lemon. A clove of chopped garlic is also a good addition. Mix together.  Keep taste testing and adjusting the amounts. You will know when you've got it right.

A tasty addition is a yoghurt garlic sauce on the side. For each cup of yoghurt add about 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic and season with sea salt. A nice way to serve it is with a sprinkling of sumac and a drizzle of olive oil.

Quick, easy and just perfect for the warmer months.

Do you have a favourite back up recipe during the warmer months?


  1. This looks yum! I've been really craving brown rice lately and this will be something new to try - perfect for our garden full of greens. I love rice salads but have never added tuna before -I'm not sure why?

    Thanks for sharing:)

  2. delish- i love simple recipes like this, especially if there's a lot of taste testing involved ;)sarah

  3. This looks so good! My lovely man made Nigella Lawsons Watermelon salad last summer for a light dinner one evening. I think it might be a favourite over the summer for us.

  4. I can see why this is a staple fall back salad. It has all the flavours and flexibility needed to endure our sometimes temperamental tastebuds. We do a warm version of this dish but this summer I am going to make it your way. Our staple is my garlic bean pasta, eaten warm in winter and cold in summer. And its ingredients are always in the pantry and garden! xx

  5. It sounds delicious Tania, all of my favourite ingredients and the yoghurt sauce on the side, such a great idea. Have a lovely weekend.

  6. The brown rice is a great base, my summer fallback usually starts with half a tin of red kidney beans and then sundried tomatoes and add any veges you want and dress with either a good balsamic and olive oil or a lemon and olive oil. I guess chickpeas would work too.

  7. Hi Tania, thanks so much for your lovely comments on my Blog - nice to meet you!! I'm enjoying reading through your Posts. We have lots in common except I don't know how to sew :-) This recipe looks great! Have a lovely weekend. Mel x

  8. That looks quite good. It's funny you are posting recipes for warmer months and here I've found post to be all about comfort foods that are served hot and are soul comforting. LOL!

  9. That looks really quick and easy...and super yummy too.

    We're turning to soups and stews here now - food to warm the soul.

    Nina x

  10. yum! those simple recipes really are the best sometimes. i love playing around with fancy pants recipes but find its always the simple favourites that stick as a regular!

  11. This is exactly what I love eating over Summer as well. Tuna, brown rice, whatever veggies and herbs on hand, a splash of lemon and some garlic. Always delish. Think I shall make tomorrow.

  12. that sounds awesome. i keep meaning to make more salads for dinner. in the summer i love pasta salads, not that those count as very healthy ;)

  13. Oh that looks good! Most of my recipes have evolved over time and end up being a bit of this and a bit of that.
    My favourite go to salad ingredient at the moment is quinoa. Paired with roasted root vegies, nuts, dried fruit, fresh herbs a few greens and a squeeze of lemon juice its the perfect go to meal.


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