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I LOVE Forbidden rice! If you’ve never had it, you need to. So named because it used to be forbidden to anyone but the emperor of ancient China to eat this rice, it is now more widely available and touted for it’s nutty flavor and the large quantity of antioxidants it offers. It is sometimes called Black Rice and is available in most health food stores. This salad has it all: nutty rice and cashews, crunchy fresh veggies, sweet cranberries, and a tangy dressing.


I have no idea what possessed me to start making this salad so early this morning but I’m glad that I did. I ended up taking the girls on a spontaneous trip into the mountains and it was the perfect picnic lunch. We took a trip up to Snowbird to go “panning” for gemstones, had a picnic by the river, and then drove up to Alta to see the wildflowers. Here are a few of our highlights:

Holding their big bags of dirt before we begin:Photo 2013-07-30 02.49.16 PM Sifting the dirt in small batches in the water trough looking for treasurePhoto 2013-07-30 02.49.38 PM We were very thorough:Photo 2013-07-30 02.49.58 PM Trinity shows her bag of gems that contains 20 varieties of gemstones!Photo 2013-07-30 02.59.58 PMIt was during our picnic lunch that we decided Gemstone Salad would be a good name for this dish. The forbidden rice looks like the “dirt” and brightly colored vegetables and cranberries are the “gems” within. We enjoyed ours river-side:Photo 2013-07-30 03.00.41 PM Lilly also enjoyed the raspberries:Photo 2013-07-30 03.01.03 PM

The day was a fun treat from start to finish and we hope you will enjoy this salad as much as we do!

Gemstone Salad

This recipe is heavily modified from a recipe by: fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com

Salad Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup uncooked Forbidden Rice – cook according to package directions and cool
  • 2/3 cup diced carrot
  • 2/3 cup diced celery
  • 2/3 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, raw cashews, roughly chopped (toasting them lightly in a dry saute pan on the stove top will enhance their flavor but that is optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2-4 Tbsp sliced scallions

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (I used blood orange infused olive oil. If you have something fun like that on hand use it but don’t go out and buy something fancy just for this)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 heaping tsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • zest of one lime (or lemon)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust it to be more sweet, salty, tangy, or spicy according to your own preference.

Pour dressing over salad, stir to combine and serve or refrigerate for up to three days before serving. Eat as a lunch, serve over a bed of lettuce, or serve as a side dish for dinner!DSC_0473

After we wrapped up our delicious lunch, we enjoyed the summer wildflowers:Photo 2013-07-30 03.12.30 PM Photo 2013-07-30 03.12.57 PM Photo 2013-07-30 03.16.31 PMPhoto 2013-07-30 03.14.31 PM Photo 2013-07-30 03.25.25 PMWhat can I say? It was a “gem” of a day! 😀