Springtime Jasmine Rice Salad.

I’m about to ask you a weirdo question. Ready?

What’s your favorite salad?

Odd I care about such a thing, no? But I love your guts. I want to know.

My ideal salad – like if I-was-about-to-bite-the-dust salad – includes butter lettuce topped with things like crispy bacon, avocado, gorgonzola, strawberries, mango, fresh herbs and some sort of warm crusted protein, like chicken or shrimp. WANT.

Second place would be a giant Caesar with freshly toasted, warm croutons and anchovies. Oh yes. Do the darn thing.

But let’s get serious: I’m not sure WHY on Earth my last meal would be a salad. But it’s my blog and I get to make the rules.

Whomp whomp.

If it’s just a regular old day, plain and boring and margarita-less, lettuce does not cut it for me. I’m perfectly capable of throwing together a salad that may sound somewhat appealing, but the minute I sit down to eat that mess? Ugh. Sad city. It’s like cracker boxes eat my arms or something. Then they get stuck in the cheese drawer. They may grab some grapes that Ryan Gosling is not hand-feeding me. (Why?) Then they eventually find their way to a previously hidden (but not really hidden at all) chocolate stash, until I’m waaaaaay too full to eat that salad.

Just how it is people. No way around it.

Soooo in order for me to actually EAT salads that I deem worthy of my chew, they have to be one of two things: a. lettuceless or b. a taco salad with copious amounts of cheddar cheese and seemingly half a bag of organic blue corn chips.

Which… sort of puts me and my mouth back at square one.

Oh. Except for the chips. Healthy since they are organic. That’s why I ate that entire organic chocolate bar last night. Full of health!

But these… these sorts of salads are ones I can get behind. Last year I had a… moment… with jasmine rice and seriously can’t.get.enough. When I finally found BROWN! jasmine rice you would have thought that James Taylor set up shop in my bedroom and sang me to sleep every night. I felt as though I hit the jackpot. I mean, jasmine rice is just so… jasminey.

Rice salads, quinoa salads, and every other salad with as few vegetables as possible rise to the top of my list. And! Asparagus has always been something I can handle in moderation (like a few bites every few weeks while in season) but now… I’ve been roasting it’s jewels off like I do with green beans and it might be something I can get behind.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.

Springtime Jasmine Rice Salad

serves 2

12-15 asparagus spears, woody stems removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup uncooked brown jasmine rice

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

1 shallot, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pint baby bella mushrooms, quartered

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

salt & pepper

Prepare rice according to directions on package, subbing in 1 cup chicken stock for the water. This will most likely take 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast for 20-22 minutes.

While asparagus is roasting, heat a large skillet oven medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced shallot with a pinch of salt. Saute until soft – about 3 minutes. Add in chopped mushrooms, tossing to coat, and let cook for 4-5 minutes until soft and juicy. Stir in garlic and cherries and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat a bit and add wine, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Toss in rice and asparagus, then serve. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Also delicious served cold!

Oh PS: add bacon.