This salad was actually inspired by a simple picture and is very timely, given that carrots are at their peak right now. Wadson’s Farm does an heirloom variety that have hues of yellow, purple and red. Roasted in coconut oil until crispy, they are an incredible side to any spring dish – sweet and crispy and just right. Black rice isn’t something I cook with often, but it offers a deep nutty flavour that is quite moreish. Nuts are always a good idea for flavour and texture, and here pistachios would be magical, but if you aren’t one for patience, almonds would be second.
While the inspiration for this recipe came from a picture, I cooked it up with a chef. After purchasing all the vegetables at the market and before starting to cook, we sat down to talk about how it would come together. Black rice and chickpeas would combine well for good plant protein, but we needed a dressing that would brighten the dish and was representative of spring. He suggested an orange vinaigrette and schooled me on the importance of a cold reduction first. I don’t possess a lot of patience, but after tasting the vinaigrette with the sweet reduction I am converted. This dressing was out of this world and I would recommend doubling it, at least.
We served this at a big dinner party alongside a big green salad and organic chicken that had been roasted in basil, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, shallots and sea salt. To date this is one of the best grain salads I have ever had, and the chef agreed, too. Enjoy!
Black Rice and Roasted Carrot Salad
Recipe serves 4 – 6
2 cups of cooked black rice
2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 bunch of carrots
1 pomegranate, seeded
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 shallot, sliced very finely
¼ cup pistachios or roasted almonds
1 batch of Orange Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
4 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Sea salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375F. Clean the carrots and slice into four pieces, keeping the tops on if possible. Massage about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on the carrots and add sea salt and pepper. Don’t under coconut oil them - it works for the crispness. Spread onto a baking tray (not too close together) and place in the oven for about 30 – 35 minutes. Now we can start on the rest of the salad.
Assuming you have already cooked the black rice and opened some BPA free cans of chickpeas, rinse them thoroughly and throw into a big mixing bowl. Next up is the dressing. Into a sauce pan, add the juice of 3 oranges and bring to a boil and then a simmer. It will take anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes but it will reduce to about ¼ cup. You’ll wonder where it all went but once you taste it you’ll understand. Once reduced, put it on ice or transfer to a bowl and put in the freezer until chilled. You can start mixing together the maple, olive oil and ACV. Slowly add in the orange reduction and whisk. A good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Add a tiny bit more sea salt than you normally would as it will flavour the entire salad, not just the dressing. Set the dressing aside.
Chop the cilantro and parsley and toss in with the rice and chickpeas. Next the pomegranate seeds and shallots. Add in the dressing and mix thoroughly. Arrange the salad onto a serving platter.
Once the carrots are done and have cooled for about 5 minutes, arrange them on top of the salad and garnish with pistachios!
This salad gets better and better so double the recipe, store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.