You know you need a good lunch. Why not make a batch of this hearty, crunchy, colorful salad and pack it up for the week?
Crunchy cashews, chewy whole grains and vegetables, bathed in a miso-ginger dressing; this is the kind of hippie whole grain comfort food that I love to prep for myself. Life is often uncertain, but when you have a tub of food that makes you feel good when you eat it, you can take on whatever comes.
Or at least I tell myself that.
This salad reminds me of my early days, making big whole grain salads every day. It makes me feel good because it nourishes the body in so many ways. You might think half a cup of cashews is a lot, but it feels kind of decadent to have crunchy cashews in every bite of your meal. They add some protein and good fats, too, so crunch away!
Whole Grain Goodness
Whole grain consumption is associated with lowered risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and obesity. Whole grains are also the darlings of the scientists studying the microbiome, because the fiber in whole grains is one of the best pre-biotics to keep the best pro-biotics thriving in your digestive tract. Whole grain rice blends are fun, with brown rice as a base, and red, black, wild or other whole grains mixed in. Each blend is made up of grains that cook in the same amount of time, so you don’t have one overcooking while another is underdone.
Get Into Meal Prepping
Fall is here, and there’s no time like the present to get into Meal Prepping. You may know that I wrote a book, Vegan Meal Prep, where I dug deep into the art and science of making food for the week. This whole grain salad is a perfect example of meal prep. It keeps for a few days, and has enough flavor and appeal that it is just as good on Wednesday as it was on Monday.
How to Make Cashew Rice Salad
First, you’ll cook the rice. Always bring the water to a boil, then add the rice. Return to a boil, cover and lower the heat to the lowest setting. Then the rice can gently steam and bubble in the pot for 35-40 minutes, or longer, depending on your blend.
Next, chop the veggies and add to the cooled rice.
It’s quick and easy to use a fork to mix freshly grated ginger and pressed garlic with orange juice, then mash in the red miso. You can use other kinds of miso, for variety. Then just stir in the remaining ingredients, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, tamari, and avocado oil.
Pour it over the rice and veggies, mix well, then serve topped with cashews. You can put the whole batch in a storage tub to portion out later in the week, or divided it between smaller tubs to pack in your lunch later.
Make a batch, you’ll be so glad when you open up the refrigerator and see all that good food waiting for you.
Cashew Rice Salad
- 1 cup mixed whole grain rice
- 2 carrots sliced thinly
- 1 small red bell pepper chopped
- 2 scallions sliced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/2 cups toasted cashew pieces
- First, bring 2 cups water to a boil, then add the rice blend. Return to a boil, then cover, turn heat to low and cookd for about 35-40 minutes, depending on your blend. When all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, take off the heat and let cool, covered, for five minutes, then uncover and cool completely.
- Scrape the rice into a large bowl, then add the carrots, pepper, scallions and mix.
- In a 2 cup measure, grate the ginger and add the pressed garlic. Stir in the orange juice and miso, until smooth. Add the red pepper flakes, vinegar, sesame oil and tamari and stir until smooth, then gradually stir in the avocado oil.
- Pour the dressing over the rice mixture and stir to mix, transfer to a serving bowl and top with cashews, stir gently.Serve.