Now that the warm weather is starting to appear (at least here in Portland), I was craving a grain salad full of bold, fresh flavors. This salad fits the bill, with a black rice and teff grain mixture, tossed with a sesame vinaigrette and sliced crispy jalapeños, juicy mandarin orange segments, sweet dried cranberries, cilantro, peppery scallions, and roasted peanuts (or any nut or seed you choose). It is delicious, and keeps me full for hours. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse!
I’ve been obsessed with teff grain lately. It’s gluten-free, packed full of protein, fiber, iron, and calcium, and really keeps me feeling satiated and full in the best way. In fact, I love it so much that I bought a 25 pound bag of it. I eat it for breakfast as a hot cereal, put it in my granola (recipe coming soon), mix it with grits for fun dinners, and sprinkle it in wherever I can.
Teff is a tiny grain (in the grass family), and is primarily grown in Ethiopia, although it’s also grown locally in Oregon and Idaho. You can find it in Ivory and brown varieties, and has a lightly sweet, nutty flavor. I really love the teff from Maskal Teff, which you can find in some local stores or on Amazon (or direct from their website).
For this salad the teff grain makes a great partner for the Thai black sweet rice. I also throw in some brown rice too, either brown jasmine, Thai red rice, or whatever brown rice I happen to have on hand. I put it all in the rice cooker, set it to the quick setting, and let it do it’s thing. Then I toss it with a sweet sesame vinaigrette, the dried fruit, nuts, scallions, and sliced jalapeños. But the best part of this salad is how adaptable it is. You can customize it however you like. If you don’t like cilantro, you can swap in Thai basil. You can switch peanuts for hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, toasted pepitas, or sunflower seeds. You can also use dried apricots in place of the cranberries, or dried pineapple, golden raisins, or mango. You get the point. Add more vinaigrette if you like, or add chili paste for a bolder bite. This is how I cook most days. It’s nice to be able to tailor your recipes to your mood or what you have on hand.
I should also add a couple more things. The teff grain doesn’t need to be rinsed, and if you were to try, it would probably all wind up in the sink going through the holes in your strainer (it’s that tiny!). And, you will have a little leftover rice left. That’s okay, as you can use it in other dishes, in place of white rice in a rice bowl, or use it in other dishes. Lastly, this salad is ideal for picnics or to pack for easy lunches.
Let me know if you make the recipe. I’d love to hear what you think.
This salad is perfect for lunch or dinner (or picnics!), with black rice and teff grain tossed with a sesame vinaigrette and sliced crispy jalapeños, juicy mandarin orange segments, sweet dried cranberries, cilantro, peppery scallions, and roasted peanuts (or any need or seed you choose). It is delicious!
1 cup black Thai sweet rice, rinsed and drained
1 cup brown jasmine rice (or Thai red rice or long grain brown rice), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup teff grain (brown or ivory) -no need to rinse this first
3 cups water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons agave
2 tablespoons GF soy sauce (or regular)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3 cups cooked black rice teff mixture, packed (above)
2 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated into individual pieces
1 jalapeno, sliced
About 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or more to taste)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
About 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or more to taste)
About 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (or more to taste)
Vinaigrette to taste
Optional: You can serve the grain salad over arugula or baby greens, if desired
Combine the black rice, brown rice, and teff grain in a rice cooker bowl. Gently stir in the water, cover and set on the quick or regular rice setting. When the rice cooker is finished cooking, keep the lid closed and let sit for an additional 10 minutes to finish steaming. The rice should be tender and a little sticky.
While the rice mixture is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, mix together the sesame oil, agave, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Set aside.
Place 3 cups of the cooked rice mixture in a large bowl. Pour some of the dressing over, tossing well. You can add more dressing to taste. You may not need it all. Add the mandarin oranges, jalapeño, cilantro, scallions, cranberries, and peanuts. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Serve the salad as is, or over baby salad greens or arugula.
You can make the rice mixture a couple of days ahead, and just warm up the rice slightly in the microwave (to plump it up).
You can also use a smaller amount of the rice mixture for a smaller salad.
The vinaigrette can be doubled and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It’s delicious on green salads!