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Friday, January 13, 2012

Pantry Project: Great Cold Side Salad

In looking for a barley recipe (to use some of the multiple bags of grains in our overstuffed pantry as part of our pantry-reduction project), we stumbled into a great cold side salad recipe from It is one of those sides you could serve anytime, and it uses the sorts of ingredients that most people typically have around the pantry.

Our only problem was that our barley canister was short by a quarter cup. We quickly realized that this salad recipe's barley could be replaced by just about any grain or rice. We remembered that we had an overabundance of black rice, also called forbidden rice.

The consistency of black rice is about the same as cooked barley. You just have to make sure that you rinse it well so that the reddish-black cooking liquid doesn't color everything else in the recipe.

(We cold have substituted quinoa or faro or any of a number of other grains. But the black rice was crunchy and colorful.)

This salad would be particularly good in the summer, but it worked well in the cold depths of January as well.


2 cups cooked rice, barley or other grain
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 red pepper diced, or 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 green pepper, diced
3 scallions, sliced or chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Cook the rice, barley, faro or other grain. A good rule of thumb is to cook the grain in twice as much water or stock, with a little salt, and simmer for about 40 minutes. Toward the end you might have to add a bit more liquid or drain off any excess. Just taste for doneness with a bit of crunchiness.

In a bowl, mix the first five ingredients.

In a small container with a tight lid, mix the dressing ingredients and shake well. Pour dressing over the salad and refrigerate for a couple of hours.


  1. What a great use of what's already there. Love the black rice!

  2. The key to black rice is to think of it as a grain rather than the way you would think of white rice. It doesn't work as a base for a stir fry or other Asian dishes.
    It works well as a standalone side (the way it was served in the Italian restaurant), but when used that way it should probably be cooked with stock and possibly finely chopped shallots to give it more flavor.