Picnic Recipe: Minted Orange Summer Rice Salad

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Jessica Aldridge has crafted a recipe for a rice salad with a touch of mint and oranges that is easy to prepare and the perfect light dish for a summer picnic.

Summer Rice Salad, Jack Eidt

Summer picnics, mint from the garden, oranges from the neighbor’s tree, something for everyone…

With such crisp and fresh flavors, this salad is a perfect addition to any summer day. And, it is quick and easy to make! Even 24 hours later, the left overs continue to burst with immense flavor, so much that you might consider chilling the finished dish overnight for best results.

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: up to 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3-4 fresh oranges (for a total of 1 ½ cup of juice at least)
3 cups water
2 tablespoons of orange zest
2 cups jasmine rice (or basmati)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or preferred oil to help it fluff)
1 large orange carrot (shredded)
2 medium green apples (peel and cut into small chunks)
2 medium cucumbers (peel and cut into small chunks)
4 tablespoons fresh mint (chopped)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Already, we’d be driving past
those trees, that part of the forest.
Even briefly, it refreshed you.
It was like mint in August
though that sting would be gone
with summer.  — Elaine Terranova, Mint

DIRECTIONS

1. Grate One Orange:

  • Wash one orange as you will be eating the rind.
  • Using a grater or peeler, collect the rind/zest of one orange and set aside. (Do not remove the white pith, which can be bitter.)
  • If you use a peeler, be sure to mince the rind.
  • *Do not add the rind to the rice when cooking or it can taste bitter.

2. Cook the Rice:

  • Juice the oranges and keep the pulp
  • Measure out at least 1 cups orange juice for the rice – more or less according to taste. Set aside the remaining juice and pulp. (Note: for every 2 cups of dry rice you need 4 cups of liquid. Choose the ratio that best suits your taste.)
  • In a pot, combine the rice, water, orange juice, and salt.
  • Cover pan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 18-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.
  • Remove from heat and cool.

3. Prep Additional Ingredients (while rice is cooking):

  • Shred the carrot (any color carrot will do, but the orange makes the colors pop)
  • Peel the green apples and cut into chunks*
  • Peel the cucumbers and cut into chunks*
  • Chop up the mint. (Do not mince; you want to see the mint once mixed.)
  • * I do not completely peel my apples and cucumbers, but leave a little skin on for texture and vitamins.

4. Combine the Ingredients:

  • Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the cooled rice and fluff with a fork.
  • Mix in remaining orange juice. You should have ½ cup juice, plus pulp. Juice another orange if necessary.
  • Mix in the carrot, apple, cucumber, and mint.
  • Mix in salt and pepper to taste
  • Once mixed, add orange zest to the top.

5. Serve cool:

  • This dish should be served at room temperature.
  • Although it tastes great served immediately, if possible, place in fridge for 6 – 12 hours and the flavors will mingle even more. Leftovers taste great!

Variations

  • If rice is too dry to fluff, add a little more coconut oil.
  • For a change in flavor, substitute the last ½ cup of orange juice with ¼ cup pineapple juice and ¼ orange juice.
  • Add slices of mandarin oranges on top.
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WilderUtopia.com regularly invites professionals, activists, and inspired individuals to publish opinion-editorials that illuminate the challenges to coexistence between city and wild, developed and developing, human and other. If you have a relevant piece to share, let us know at Jack [dot] Eidt [at] WilderUtopia [dot] com.