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COCONUT RICE SALAD WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND CORN

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Alright. There’s this three day weekend ahead, and if the stars align, it’ll be blessedly warm and filled with hours of outdoors eating – an activity I’d easily rank among my top five favorite things to do. I’ve been making a lot of grilled meat dishes with an eye towards this weekend and the many summer weekends to come. And I knew that this meat-heavy throwdown (coming Friday!) was in need of something non-meaty to round things out. Thus, a salad. I am pretty sure this salad would do equally well alongside some well-marinated grilled tofu, too.

It’s heartier than many summer salads, which makes it a fine and generous thing to eat all by itself. It’s got the best of early summer produce in a partnership that’s flexible and lenient. Throw in some zucchini if you wish, or some shredded carrot. Opt for a tamer lettuce than arugula. But whatever you do, have fun with it. And try to eat it out of doors.

Also! This salad tastes a lot better at room temperature than it does chilled.

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COCONUT RICE SALAD WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND CORN

1 cup sweet brown rice (or any short grain brown rice)
13 ounces (1 can) light coconut milk
2 inches fresh lemongrass, sliced in half (optional, but worth it!)
1 inch knob fresh ginger (also optional)

1 ear corn
1/2 cup sliced shallots
2 cups arugula, rinsed
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar (or use a similar, mild vinegar)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper to taste

First, prepare the rice. I love to use a rice cooker, but if you don’t have one, combine the coconut milk, 3 ounces water, lemongrass, ginger and the rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Refrigerate for one hour to cool. Remove the ginger and lemongrass.

While the rice is cooling, prepare the corn. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Break the ear of corn in half. Boil for about five minutes, until the rice is tender but plump. Stand one half of the corn on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut along the length of the cob. Repeat with second half of corn. Set aside.

Next, saute the shallots. Warm a small skillet over a medium low flame. Add a little oil. Saute the shallots until soft, about five minutes.

Make the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and sea salt until emulsified.

In a large mixing bowl, ctoss the cooked rice, cherry tomatoes, arugula, corn, shallots and the dressing. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This salad is ideal served at room temperature, not chilled. Enjoy!

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  • Stacy - May 23, 2012 - 8:36 pm

    I love eating outdoors in the warmth as well! I wish you your many hoped-for hours of that this weekend. I’ll keep this salad in mind for the days when corn and tomatoes are plentiful at my midwest market — the veggies and dressing look like things I’ve concocted before, but I’m intrigued by the rice preparation! Looks delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth (Greens & Seeds) - May 24, 2012 - 5:10 am

    Oh, I just adore coconut milk in anything, but always feel guilty eating it in the warmer months because it’s so heavy. But coconut rice in a salad? Genius.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn - May 24, 2012 - 5:23 am

    I yearn for warm weather meals eaten outside. Salads are almost always included in the mix – but I always forget about the idea of putting a starch in there to jazz it up a bit. The coconut rice makes this salad seem indulgent – but with all of the good-for-you benefits of a salad. Definitely keeping this in my summertime arsenal.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - May 24, 2012 - 6:04 am

    What a fabulous combination of flavours! I love the rice in this salad!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food - May 24, 2012 - 6:52 am

    Fingers crossed that we have a nice weekend! There’s nothing like being gathered around family and grilling and eating big bowls of hearty dishes (like your amazing salad, which I am putting on our Memorial Day menu).

    Have a good one!ReplyCancel

  • Tine - May 24, 2012 - 6:53 am

    I love rice salads!ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - May 24, 2012 - 9:01 am

    Oooh I like the idea of coconut rice tossed in this summery salad! This morning over breakfast the husband said, “We need to have burgers on the grill this weekend, it is Memorial Day.” Yes, the weekend of meat is here. :)ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - May 24, 2012 - 9:47 am

    Yes! I love coconut rice, but never thought of it in a salad. Brilliant! I would love a big scoop of this next to anything grilled in the sunshine :) Have a great weekend!ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - May 24, 2012 - 10:07 am

    We just had our long weekend and the weather held out until Monday which rained. Oh well. We ate salads and had lots of friends visit and had a blast. Love the look of this salad – especially the lemongrass & coconut rice! And arugula is always a favorite. Looks gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • kankana - May 24, 2012 - 12:42 pm

    I seriously need a good weather during the weekend. Planning to hit the road :)
    The salad sounds so perfect .. light , healthy and flavorful!ReplyCancel

  • SG - May 24, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    I will most definitely be making this and eating it out of doors!ReplyCancel

  • Erica Julson - May 24, 2012 - 6:56 pm

    yummm this looks delish! I actually have a can of coconut milk that has been sitting in my cupboard for months. Thanks for the push to use it!ReplyCancel

  • sarah - May 24, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    Oh, this looks so good. A perfect summer salad. I have my fingers crossed for you + nice weather. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Andree - May 25, 2012 - 1:33 am

    Looks like a fab recipe!

    I have a quick question: with a rice cooker – do you put the coco milk and all the other ingredients into the cooker with the rice?

    thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - May 25, 2012 - 5:13 am

    Eating outside = best activity. Simple seasonal things like that make life so fantastic. Love the neat mixing of ingredients in this salad. So many favourites brought together in a new way, yum.ReplyCancel

  • Hilary - May 25, 2012 - 8:30 am

    This sounds so tasty! I have the same question as Andree about the directions for making the rice if you have a rice cooker… Thanks!ReplyCancel

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  • Kimberley - May 25, 2012 - 8:51 am

    Andree and Laura: With a rice cooker, yes. Just add coconut milk, water, lemongrass, ginger and rice at the beginning, and press cook! The coconut milk spurts a little, but I think that always happens with a rice cooker.ReplyCancel

  • sara - May 25, 2012 - 8:31 pm

    just look at that healthy bowl of greens. love all your grilling inspiration for the weekend. Just wish we had some sun!!ReplyCancel

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  • Kristi Rimkus - May 28, 2012 - 8:28 pm

    Lovely colors in this salad. The coconut rice is truly inspired!ReplyCancel

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