In my head there is a category of salad that screams “summer weekend.” Not the kind of salad I have for my lunch most workdays (mixed greens, chopped radishes, carrots, and a little protein or some berries with vinaigrette…snore) but the kind of salad that combines grains and vegetables for a single side dish. This is the kind of salad that’s always welcome at a cookout, that pairs well with all kinds of proteins for supper.
This kind of salad gets better as it sits. It taste best at room temperature. And the “dressing” is really a pesto of herbs and aromatics. The most recent version at our house involved brown basmati rice, but you could easily substitute quinoa, bulgar, wheat berries or couscous in the recipe below and have equally great results.
When garlic scapes are in season here, I rely on them to flavor all sorts of things: salads, meats, fish, pasta, other vegetables. Now that herbs are coming on, it was simple to grab a big bunch of cilantro at the farmers’ market and throw it in the food processor with garlic scapes from Stone Gardens. I added this paste to burgers and pasta. But this salad might be the best use for it yet.
Later in the season, when the garlic scapes are gone, I’ll use a little red onion, or shallot, or scallion—with other herbs, like basil, or parsley, or dill. But the result will still be delicious. And beans of all kinds would be a welcome addition as well. Play around with it and let us know what you come up with!
Chard+ rice salad with scapes and cilantro
- 1/2 lb. Swiss chard, washed and sliced into a chiffonade
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup garlic scape and cilantro paste (see recipe below)
- 2 cups cooked rice (I used brown basmati)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- sea salt, if needed, to taste
1. Pour olive oil into skillet on stove. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add chard. Stirring frequently, saute until greens are wilted and the stems are starting to soften. Remove to cutting board and chop to medium fineness.
2. In a bowl combine scape and cilantro paste, cooked rice, raisins, and cooked chard. Mix well. Taste and correct for salt. Serve at room temperature.
Garlic scape and cilantro paste
- 2 cups of garlic scapes, chopped and then measured
- 3/4 cup cilantro, packed into measuring cup
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
1. In the bowl of food processor, combine the first three ingredients. Pulse on and off until finely chopped, scraping down sides twice.
2. Scrape down the sides and add the olive oil with machine running until fully incorporated.
3. Use immediately or refrigerate. Or freeze up to 3 months.