This morning I had this odd, sudden realization that I haven’t made or eaten black rice in a while. Actually, it wasn’t that sudden or odd. I thought about it after Beyond Sushi Instagramed this. And then I cried and sobbed because I wanted Beyond Sushi, because as we all know it’s my favorite thing on earth.
Then I thought fondly back to my beloved Rainbow Black Rice Salad. I love love love that dish. It’s flawless in my opinion. Crunchy, fresh, bright, flavorful and satisfying. Ahh, yes, I’ve eaten that black rice salad many-a-times and never been let down.
After a few minutes reminiscing over all the good times I’ve eaten said salad, I decided that lunch today was going to be a black rice salad, of sorts. Except I didn’t have those ingredients and I was feeling like something a bit more fall-ish since the Rainbow Black Rice Salad is a bit summery. I consulted my fridge. Half a pre-cut/seeded pomegranate. Awesome. I was instantly inspired by how bright the red would look against black rice. Step one towards recipe creation/greatness. I decided to work from here.
Next stop: pantry. Sweet potatoes are never NOT in my pantry, and today was no exception. Grabbed a big one, and got chopping. While I popped those in the oven, I debated what else would pop on the plate with red and orange. As I did so, I reached for more ground coffee, which happened to be next to some coconut shreds. Coconut + black rice is also a favorite combo of mine (it worked amazingly in this black rice pudding) so those went in, as well. Upon assembly, I added some cilantro. Initially I thought this flavor combo would be weird, but it somehow pulled everything together. The clean note of the cilantro worked well with the earthy black rice, the tangy crunchy pomegranate seeds, and the creamy, hearty sweet potato cubes. The dish came together so well, my mom even decided she liked it better than the Rainbow Black Rice Salad. Personally I love them both, and think both are beautiful and satisfying for any event depending on your current taste mood.
The tanginess of the pomegranate seeds removes the need for an acidic dressing as in the Rainbow Black Rice salad, and really all this salad needs is a drizzle of good olive oil, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. This is another keeper, I tell ya. Make a big batch and serve as a side dish, entree, or pack for lunch. Eat up!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves 2 as entree or 4 as side dish
- 1 cup black rice
- 1 pomegranate, cut and seeded
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup coconut shreds or chips (sweetened or unsweetened depending on preference)
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook black rice on the stovetop according to directions on the package.
2. While the rice is simmering, peel and cube sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and place in the oven. If you’re short on time, you can also just microwave these for 3-4 minutes until tender.
3. Cut and seed the pomegranate and set seeds aside. Dice cilantro.
4. Cool rice and sweet potato cubes. When they are cool, pour rice into a bowl, and mix 3/4ths of your sweet potato cubes, your pomegranate seeds, your coconut, and cilantro (saving the remaining 1/4th for garnish).
5. Drizzle olive oil onto salad and add salt and pepper and mix.
6. Serve rice salad in a bowl or plate, topping with remaining sweet potato cubes, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and coconut. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy~!