Rice & Bean Salad

Do you ever have a recipe that you adore and make all the time, and then for some reason or another it fades out of your repertoire? And then one day you think of it, or see the recipe and say to yourself, “Why haven’t I made this lately? I love this dish!”  And then you make it again and it returns to your rotation of frequently-made-dishes.  This recipe is one of those.

In the ’90s I worked at a lovely stationery store, following college graduation and during graduate school.  I learned so much during those years from the incredible team of women that I worked alongside.  Things that became part of me.  They were a classy bunch (much more refined than I) and yet they loved me and mentored me in many ways.  Molly, a very deliberate and sophisticated lady, was our manager.  She oftentimes would pick up a prepared dish at Bread & Company or The Food Company (which was across the street) to have for lunch or dinner.  One of her go-to dishes was this Rice Salad.  I couldn’t afford to pick up food like that, but I was eager to taste, and then attempt to reproduce things at home.  It was so tasty: zingy, fresh, hearty, and so yummy!
this is the “recipe” I’ve had in my recipe box all
these years- the list of ingredients from
Molly’s salad
Molly had this brilliant trick. She would walk in, put her personal belongings away, place her food in the fridge, along with her car keys, and be about her day- knowing that she wouldn’t get past the door to head home without remembering her food.  I took note of this ritual and have adopted it in my own life. It’s fool proof!
I sometimes wonder (in my very analytical mind) if I could untangle the web of my life and retrace the origins of my philosophies, habits, ideas, and even recipes – what all of the sources would be.  We have each adopted a multitude of things from countless people along our paths- which make us who we are!
If we live with our eyes open, our hearts receptive and our minds curious- we are capable of being shaped by the people around us.  Some things repel or just pass by, but some things stick forever.
This dish was one of those things that became a staple for me and then went by the wayside and now is coming back.
1 1/2 cups brown rice- prepared as directed on package
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes- sliced in half
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or less if you prefer)
bottled Italian dressing – start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed
Prepare rice.
My sister and brother-in-law gave us this rice cooker a
few Christmases ago- it is a kitchen tool he has used
that was new to our family.  We use it all the time
now.  It does the work for you, and you can focus on
the rest of the recipe.
In the meantime, chop tomatoes and green onions.
Drain and rinse black beans.
Gently toss together rice, beans, tomatoes and onions.
Add feta.  Toss together.
Add Italian dressing a little at a time, folding in, and adding enough to lightly coat the salad and to your liking.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.
This dish is great because it only takes a few minutes to put together and it keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.  It is great cold or warmed.  It is delicious as a side dish with a piece of grilled meat, or as your main dish. It’s lovely for lunch or dinner.

I decided to use brown rice, to make it even healthier- though not as pretty, in my opinion. It’s a recipe you can play around with and find the balance of ingredients you like.

I made it recently and my girls gobbled it up!  (If you remember, my son is still working through his bean-phobia).  In fact, Lainey asked me this week if I would make it again because she “LOOOVEs it”.  Music to my ears!

This was my lunch the other day as I was grading my last batch of exams.  

It was the perfect spring lunch for me.  A crisp sliced apple and a bowl of Rice & Bean Salad. Quick, tasty and filling! 

2 thoughts on “Rice & Bean Salad

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