Quick Work-night Meals: Rice Salad

White square plate with dots on the edges, with a green salad topped with a rice mixture and bright mandarin oranges
Rice Salad

December’s theme is “food for all those days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that aren’t holidays.” Or, to be less wordy (never my strong suit): quick work-night meals. Meals that you can prepare after a long day at work or doing whatever it is you do that makes you tired. You still have to eat, right?

Today’s recipe is more of a “recipe.” This is salad for people who want to eat more vegetables, maybe even specifically more greens, but also really want hot food. Who has time to make food AND a salad? Well, honestly, with salad boxes, I guess anyone, but I don’t actually really like salad. So in this dish, I have topped some mixed greens (spinach and baby chard mixed with some arugula) with a hot rice skillet using leftover rice mixed with black beans, earthy mushrooms, crunchy veg (either water chestnuts or jicama — you pick) just a touch of onion, olive oil, vinegar, and cilantro — and topped all of that with oranges.

What you get is a simple one skillet (assuming you have rice already — if not, it’s two pots. Sorry.) meal heavy on the vegetables, low on the salt, with straightforward flavors. It’s hearty and satisfying but not heavy. Perfect for between food-heavy holidays, right?

White square plate with dots on the edges, with a green salad topped with a rice mixture and bright mandarin oranges

Rice Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4-5 servings
Servings
4-5 servings
Rice Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4-5 servings
Servings
4-5 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 Tablespoons onion chopped, optional
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped
  • 16 oz black beans cooked (rinsed if canned)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1-2 Tablespoon vinegar I liked white wine vinegar for this
  • 1 cup water chestnuts or jicama chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 can mandarin oranges or 2 segmented oranges
  • 5 cups mixed greens of your choice
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. If you don't have cooked rice, make some. You don't really need leftover rice for this. I just like to cook a large pot and use it during the week.
  2. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. You'll use the other in a few minutes. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Cook until translucent.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms, and stir well to coat with oil. Cook until they shrink and give up their moisture.
  4. Add the black beans. Stir well. Then add the rice. Add the second tablespoon of oil and mix until the rice and beans are well incorporated. Add the vinegar.
  5. Stir in the water chestnuts/jicama and cilantro. Remove from heat and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until the crunchy vegetables are warmed.
  6. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary -- salt, pepper, more oil and vinegar, whatever appeals.
  7. Serve the rice mixture over your mixed greens with the oranges on top. If needed, you can add an oil and vinegar dressing or a bit of orange juice, but I don't find this needs it.
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