This is one of my all-time favourite salad recipes. I know it may be daunting that it almost takes an hour to make, but it really is so easy (it’s just the rice and onions that take a bit of time), but you really can’t go wrong. If you make it earlier in the day, just hold off on the final step and then toss the dressing through it before serving it. This salad is another Christmas / summer favourite in my family – some others include:
The recipe is adapted from Karen Martini’s book Cooking at Home. Karen is such an underrated chef!!! She is so exceptional, but not nearly enough people know about her! She’s a Melbourne girl and her style is definitely that effortless Aussie cooking I love so much. What I really love about her recipes is that whilst they are effortless she often twists classics, or includes unexpected ingredients meaning each recipe has a newness that is often hard to find. In this recipe I love the tangy, sweet soaked currants with the fresh herbs and earthy pine nuts.
Anyone who knows me, knows that anything with caramalised onion (any onion ;)) is a win for me. I LOVE it. And this recipe is no exception. My beautiful friend Peony is an excellent salad-maker and once told me the secret is lots of varied ingredients, and I think that is for sure what makes this salad great. Exciting, contrasting flavours and textures that all balance each other perfectly.
I discovered this recipe as a teenager from my friend Sal’s mum Megan – she is a really wonderful cook and I’ve spoken about her before as she introduced me to another of my other favourite recipes, the Pesto, Tomato and Feta Tart.
- 2 cups short grain brown rice
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 Red or brown onions
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 150 g currants
- 1 cup red wine vinegar (roughly)
- 120 g pine nutes
- Half a bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- Half a bunch of mint
- 2 green chillies (or 1 x red chilli)
- 2 lemons (juiced)
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
First, prepare your brown rice. Rinse and drain the rice and and place it in a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Add some salt, bring to a boil, cover and gently simmer on a very low flame for 30–35 minutes, until the water has evaporated. Take off heat and keep covered so it will still be warm when needed.
Meanwhile, halve and slice the onions. Heat 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large non-stick fry pan. Add onion, season with pepper and salt and cook slowly over a low heat for about 30 minutes until onion is caramelised.
While the rice and onions are cooking, prepare the currants. Cover them with the red wine vinegar in a small saucepan, simmer for 3 minutes until the liquid has almost evaporated, then drain and keep the liquid for later use.
Toast the pine nuts in the oven until lightly golden – about 3-5 minutes on medium heat should do it (this can also be done in a fry pan). Just watch them very closely as they will burn!
Chop the herbs and finely slice the chillies. In a large bowl, mix brown rice, parsley, mint, onion and chilli.
Mix together reserved vinegar liquid, lemon juice and olive oil and then pour this over the rice. Mix through ¾ of the currants and the pine nuts. Place salad in serving bowl and top with remaining currants and pine nuts to serve.