Crispy Rice Salad with Kale.
I present to you: the crispy rice salad.
The crispy rice salad! If this is how salad is going to be from now on, I am on board. In fact, I’m driving the train.
I’ve never been so excited about a meatless Monday before! Crispy rice salad is blowing.my.mind.
It seems like every September, usually in early September, we have one of THOSE days. One of those days where it’s gloomy and maybe rainy but also slightly chilly. It happened for us this weekend – in fact, it was even in the low 50s on Saturday evening and it just makes you CRAVE fall. It means nothing, because even for the next month or so our temperatures could reach the 80s and 90s. But it was one of those perfect weekends where you could tell fall wasn’t that far off in the distance. And it helped because I burned a Leaves candle nonstop.
This salad comes at the perfect time because it’s a little bit like comfort food. It might be my new comfort food. Excellent for the season transition and wonderful for the weeknight when you’re thinking what the heck can I make.
Where do I even start!?
How about the texture. The texture is spot on. If you’re a texture freak like me, then you will go crazy. You crisp up the rice in a skillet and not only is it ridiculously flavorful, it’s crunchy and crisp and chewy.
I threw in lots of kale, because it adds texture too. But also: green veg.
And I went for a little bit of Thai-inspired flavor with some lime and peanuts. You can use leftover rice or you can make rice exactly for this purpose. It’s a win for everyone!
The crazy thing is that this salad? It’s hearty. There isn’t any chicken or shrimp, no beans or beef. But it’s satisfying and filling. Of course you can totally add those things if you’d like. The salad I adapted this from uses an herbed chicken which sounds wonderful. Totally depends on what you’re going for!
I love that it’s kind of sticky and crunchy. It’s a fantastic lunch, leftovers are great – or it can even be some kind of side dish at dinner.
And it’s a flavor bomb. I mean, just look at it? All that flavor. Right there.
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 bunch lacinato kale removed from stems and chopped
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 shallot diced
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 green onions sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
- a bunch of torn cilantro
- lime wedges for spritzing
The original recipe calls for rinsing your rice super well and I have done that when making the rice just to make this dish. However, I've also used leftover rice, and it's great too!
Place the kale to a large bowl and massage it with the olive oil. Set it aside.
Place the uncooked rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well multiple times. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the rice. Cook the rice for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the rice - it will be slightly undercooked and thats okay! Place the rice in a bowl.
Heat a large skillet (that has a lid!) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil. Add the peppers and shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the peppers and shallots to the bowl with the rice. Stir together.
Place the skillet back over medium-high heat. Take the lid from the skillet and wrap it tightly in a large kitchen towel - you want it to be tight so the towel does not catch on fire! This helps any condensation that falls from the lid and it will make the rice super crispy. Add the remaining coconut oil to the skillet. Once hot, add all of the rice mixture and use a wooden spoon to press it into one layer, like a rice cake. Cover with the towel-wrapped lid and cook until the rice is golden and crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes. You can scrap it with a spatula to see. Once that side is browned, you can flip a few parts of the rice cake and crisp the other side. Remove the skillet from the heat, keep it covered with the lid and let it sit for 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil.
Take the bowl of kale and scrap out the crispy rice. Gently toss it with the kale. Serve the rice on a plate and drizzle with the soy sauce mixture. Top with green onions, peanuts and cilantro! Spritz with lime and serve. This will serve 2 generously.
The crunchy bits are life.