As someone who lives the #forksoverknives life, I always get a little anxious when invited to a dinner party at someone’s home. I don’t mind not eating if there aren’t any vegetarian-friendly options (I’m more than happy to drink my calories), but I also don’t want to be awkwardly rude with an empty plate while everyone feasts. For this reason, I have always asked to bring a salad. And I always return home with an empty salad bowl and the highest of praises from herbivores and omnivores alike. Now, my vegan salads are requested as soon as I RSVP yes!
This salad is a great side dish, but also hearty enough to be a complete meal. It’s complex, robust and captures the essence of the fall harvest. I take extra precaution to get no sugar added products (like fresh cranberries instead of craisins!) so I can add organic sugar that I trust as I see fit. This is a relatively low sugar dish, but packs a kiss of sweetness. Because I make this recipe for parties, I use kale, as it withholds long car rides and sitting out on a dinner table better than it’s lettuce cousins. It is also the only salad base that can stand the test of time for leftovers (although there never is any). I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I have this season!
Autumn Harvest Rice + Pear Salad
vegan, gluten-free, heart-healthy
Preptime: 15 minutes (Cook time depends on method used for rice, but approx 1 hour)
Yields: 12 servings
I N G R E D I E N T S >>>>
- 2 1/4 Cups Brown Rice
- 1 container Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (I use Pacific)
- 1 Cup White Onion, Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Mushrooms, chopped (I use whatever is on sale, but crimini give a nice flavor)
- 1 Sweet Potato or Yam, Chopped
- 1/3 cup cranberries
- 1 tsp Cane Sugar (I use Florida Crystals – sugar helps to sweeten the cranberries)
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 tsp Grated Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 2-3 Sage Leaves, Chopped
optional add-ins: chopped dates go great in this dish!
- 2 tbsp Tahini
- 3 Oz No Sugar Added Black Cherry Juice (can sub for Pomegranate or Cranberry)
- 2 Pears, Cubed
- 1 tsp Cane Sugar (I use Florida Crystals®)
- 1/2 Lime, Juiced
- 1/2 tsp Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- If needed, 1/2 tsp sesame oil
TOPPINGS & BASE:
- 2 Bushels of Kale (I use black kale + green kale), chopped
- 1/3 Cup Almonds, chopped (Walnuts or Pecans also work!)
- Balsamic Glaze
optional add-ins: for a vegetarian twist, add cubed sharp cheddar
D I R E C T I O N S >>>
- Combine all ingredients for “RICE” in a one pot rice cooker and press brown rice. (If you don’t have a rice cooker, everything can be cooked stovetop. Rice in a pot, everything else in skillet).
- When rice is done cooking transfer to a bowl and let cool.
- Mix all dressing ingredients, including cubed pears, in a mason jar and shake vigorously until mixed. If it isn’t mixing well, add 1/2 tsp of sesame oil (or olive oil).
- Place kale in large salad bowl, mix in rice and almonds, top with balsamic glaze and enjoy!
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