Cold Rice Salad

Up this week in the summer salad series is a simple but delicious brown rice salad. This is an easy recipe to enjoy as either a warm or cold version, as well as in a wrap for lunch the next day. Peas were one of the first vegetables that I gave to my children when they were babies. I think peas are an often overlooked vegetable, but they shouldn’t be! A cup of peas contains less than 100 calories, yet they are loaded with protein, fiber and micronutrients.

The other star of this recipe is the mushroom. A lot of people hear the term “fungus” and immediately discount their benefits. A study by the American Society for Nutrition found that mushrooms may promote immune function by increasing production of antiviral proteins that are released during digestion. No matter what variety you choose, mushrooms contain selenium, iron, and yes it’s true…vitamin D. In fact, mushrooms are the only vegetable source of this critical vitamin. Just like people do, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. In another study done by researchers at Penn State University, they found that crimini and portobello mushrooms contain about the same amount of antioxidants as red peppers. The moral of the story? Onions and mushrooms are a delicious combination, so don’t skip the mushrooms!

1 cup (dry) brown rice (prepare according to package directions)
1 small vidalia onion, sliced thin
1-2 cups chopped mushrooms (mixed or any variety you like)
2 cups peas

Dressing Ingredients
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
5-6 fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper to taste

While the rice is cooking, sauté the onion and mushrooms in a splash of olive oil over medium heat until caramelized. Whisk salad dressing together in a separate bowl or use an immersion blender for best results. When the rice is cooked, fold all ingredients together and add the salad dressing. Serve warm or cold.

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