Perfect Party Salad

Are you looking for a light, refreshing salad to serve at your next summer party? Something different from the standard potato and pasta salad?

Well not to toot my own horn but…”toot toot”….I have got just the thing for you!

Rice salad with veggies and a lemon-basil dressing.

I served this alongside some grilled pork tips that I marinated overnight but those could just as easily be fish, chicken, beef or turkey – whatever floats your boat!

But back to the salad…

Fresh, light and lemony – This can be made the night before (perfect party food!) and than just toss and re-season before serving. It would be nice to garnish with some lemon wedges, a fact I didn’t think about until after I took the picture. A food stylist I am not.

I used some of my favorite veggies – partly for taste and partly for color. (Zucchini and yellow bell pepper respectively)

Of course no dish is complete unless I can find a way to get tomatoes into it!

However can you guess what is missing? And I didn’t even miss it…. CHEESE!  Add some at your own option. Some crumbled feta might be nice.

The recipe

Serves A LOT – like 10-15 servings. Cut in half if you are not having a party.

2 cups raw rice cooked via your favorite method to yield about 6+/- cups cooked rice, cooled

1 medium zucchini, sliced thin (think “mandolin”) lengthwise to create ribbons, but you could just as easily dice.

1 large sweet yellow bell pepper, fine dice

3 small tomatoes, diced

2 cups chiffonade cut basil leaves (loose pack, measure after cutting)

3 lemons, zested and juiced. Will need about 3/4 to 1 cup juice.

1/2 + 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or other oil of choice

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Fresh minced garlic to taste, I like a couple teaspoons.

Plenty of salt and pepper

Combine the cooked rice, zucchini, lemon zest, yellow pepper and tomatoes by lightly tossing. Now gently stir in the 1/4 cup of oil to just moisten things.  In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and some salt/pepper. Now pour this dressing over the rice and veggies. Add the basil and gently fold to combine. You don’t want to bruise the basil leaves. Taste for seasoning – add more salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least an hour – longer if your cooked rice was still a little warm.

Production Notes

I used a nice white, long grain, Basmati rice and made sure to cook it carefully so the grains would be separate and fluffy. You could use your favorite rice instead – even brown! But I think a “sticky rice” (like sushi rice) might not make as nice of a fluffy salad.


4 comments on “Perfect Party Salad

  1. Karen says:

    I love rice salad. I make one when I’m asked to contribute a salad to a picnic. Since no mayo is involved it can sit out without worry. Yours looks very tasty and colorful.

  2. I hardly ever make rice salad, but this one tempts me. How about brown rice?

    • cabinet stew says:

      Thanks it was yummy. When rice is the star I like to use white and when there is sauce I use brown.(basically to hide it from my anti-healthy husband!!) But I also think white rice speaks “light and summer-ry” to me while brown feels more hearty and warming!

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