Mixed Grain & Bean Salad

This is a perfect side dish for just about any meal, very high in protein, iron and fiber. You can use whatever rice appeals to you most – I generally prefer short-grain brown rice, but in this recipe I used “forbidden” black rice and found it very visually appealing. I do recommend it if it’s available to you. This does involve a few separate preparations, but though it takes a little time, it’s nothing difficult.

You can also experiment pretty broadly with seasoning. I recently tried finishing it with rice vinegar and a touch of sesame oil and thought it was terrific; I may go with even more Asian in flavoring for this in the future, perhaps adding some toasted sesame seeds and scallions as well. As it stands, it’s mild – perfectly nice on its own or as a template for other flavors.


1 cup brown rice, black rice, or other rice of your choice

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 cup green lentils, sorted and rinsed

1 cup quinoa

1 shallot, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (sherry is also good if you want to splurge)

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, minced (about eight)

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced

coarsely ground black pepper to taste

The first few steps can be cooked simultaneously, provided you have three pots and three timers.

  • First, get the rice going. In a medium pot, bring the rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 45-55 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and let rest until ready for use.
  • In another medium pot, cover the lentils with 2-3 additional inches of water, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain & set aside.
  • In a third pot, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, covered, and cook for 15 minutes – the germ will be visible as a ring around the grain when done. Fluff with fork and let rest for 5 minutes.

Whew! While you have all those balls in the air, saute the shallots in the olive oil for 5  minutes. Strain out the shallots and set aside. Put vinegar in a large salad bowl and whisk in the shallot-flavored oil. Add the sundried tomatoes and chickpeas. When the rice, lentils and quinoa are done, add them to the large bowl along with the parsley and toss everything together! Add additional salt and pepper as desired, and possibly a touch more vinegar.

I like this slightly warm but not, with the leftover heat from the cooked grains, but it’s also just as good chilled the next day. It makes a good amount, so unless you’re feeding a big crowd, you’ll have some leftovers – always a bonus in my eyes.

–posted by Anne

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