Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

A zesty recipe for cold rice salad packed with Southwestern flavors like green chiles, avocado, corn, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil. The bright and fresh flavors make it the perfect accompaniment to anything grilled and it is perfect for a pot-luck, picnic or barbecue.

Rice salad may sound a little strange to you if you’ve never eaten it before. As it did to me. But I loved it and I’m certain you will too. The rice was soft and tender and completely delicious cold. An ideal dish for lunch or dinner on a sweltering summer day. To elevate it from a side dish to a main dish simply add protein like cooked shrimp or chicken. The leftovers make a great lunch-time treat the next day. 

Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

Southwest Rice Salad
(loosely adapted from Bon Appetit)
(Makes 8 side dish servings)

1 cup long-grain Rice (I use Brown Basmati)
1 Avocado, diced
1/3 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 cup Corn, fresh or frozen, thawed
4.5 ounces diced Green Chilies
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Sea or Kosher Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1. Rinse the rice thoroughly in a colander with cold water in a colander. Cook according to package directions. Rinse rice again after cooking to cool it down. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile make dressing by whisking lemon and oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In a large mixing bowl toss rice with the rest of the ingredients. Pour dressing over top and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving.

Printable Recipe

Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

This is going to my July Side Dish Showdown. Keep those side dishes coming for  – add your links here and be sure to look over the guidelines as I’ve made some small changes.

And don’t forget to send me your favorite burger (beef, turkey, chicken, bean, veggie or fish) recipes for the Burger Free For All!

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Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad for a Picnic!

Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting a virtual picnic! It’s a spin-off of the childhood favorite: the picnic game. Each blogger picks a letter and a corresponding dish to bring to the picnic.

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing:

A: Almond Joy Pie by Marjie @ Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet 


B: Baked Beans by Kasha @ Grub and Stuff 

baked beans

C: Chocolate Cake by Janet @ Dying for Chocolate.

Chocolate Cake

D: Dutch Funnel Cake by Julie @ The Sporadic Cook

Dutch funnel cake

E: Easy Blender Chicken Pie by Juliana of Simple Recipes.

Easy Chicken Blender Pie

F: Five Bean Salad by Barbara @ Moveable Feasts 

5 Bean Salad for a picnic

G: Granola Bars from Stephanie of Fun Foods on a Budget.

Granola Bars

H: Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad, that’s me!

A picnic wouldn’t be complete without a pasta salad. This one is packed with over a cup of fresh herbs, two kinds of cheese, olives, red onion, sweet pickled cherry peppers, and grape tomatoes. I used fresh herbs right from my garden including two kinds of basil; regular and ‘Aussie’ sweet, lemon thyme and parsley. The cheeses include little cubed bites of Swiss and fresh grated Parmesan. I used a hot garlic vinaigrette to infuse flavor into the dressing, allowing it to cool before tossing with the salad. If possible make a day ahead to allow the flavors to develop.

The salad is fully customizable by using your own mix of herbs, your choice of cheese, olives and pasta shapes. A medium sized pasta works best like rotini, bow-ties or penne.

Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

Herb & Cheese Pasta Salad
(by Reeni, Vinaigrette adapted from Bobby Flay)

8 ounces pasta (like Barila Whole-grain Medium Shells)
6-8 ounces Swiss Cheese, 1/4-inch cubes
1 – 6 ounce can Black Olives, halved
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Pickled Sweet Cherry Peppers or Fresh Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Fresh Basil, cut into a chiffonade or chopped
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, cut into a chiffonade or chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Sweet Aussie Basil, chopped
1/3 cup Fresh Lemon Thyme
1/2 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper, to taste

For Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup Olive Oil
4 large cloves Garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Meanwhile make the vinaigrette. In a small skillet or saute pan heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until the garlic becomes fragrant and just begins to turn color at the edges. Remove from heat, whisk in vinegar. Allow to cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In a large mixing bowl toss the Swiss cheese, olives, tomatoes, red onion, peppers and pasta together.

4. Add the herbs, Parmesan and cool vinaigrette. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving. Best made a day ahead of time.

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Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

There’s still time to get in on the Picnic. Visit Louise to find out what letters are available. Hope to see you there!

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Caesar Salad Flank Steak Burgers on Garlic Sourdough Crostini

Caesar Salad Flank Steak Burgers on Garlic Sourdough Crostini

This recipe for Caesar Salad Flank Steak Burgers on Garlic Sourdough Crostini is for the current Burger Club Challenge and was chosen by my lovely guest host, Kim of Stirring the Pot. I am thrilled with her choice! It has my name written all over it. I have a professed love for Caesar Salad…

That love was passed down to me from my Dad. Along with the love of a good burger. The best of both worlds collide here. My Mom even joined in the taste-testing for this one.

The burger itself is well-seasoned with spices, shallots, parsley and red wine or beef broth. It is served on grilled sourdough bread brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic. The burger gets sandwiched with Caesar salad on the bottom and Parmesan Cheese on top. The Caesar dressing is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The recipe calls for mashing the garlic and anchovies by hand but I had a hard time getting my garlic to mash and used my food processor. If the thought of anchovies puts you off make it without – substitute Worcestershire Sauce in it’s place.

We all loved the burger! Except for one component, that being the crostini. It’s not that we hated the crostini. We would of preferred a softer bread. Next time, and there will be a next time, I am going to make them on rolls – grilled on just the flat side so the tops stay soft. And my other thought was on Texas Garlic toast…These would also be good sans the bread totally and served on top of a meal-sized Caesar Salad. In that case I would double the dressing and greens used and make croutons with the sourdough.

I’m rating it 3.5 stars! Exceptionally delicious!

Caesar Salad Flank Steak Burgers on Garlic Sourdough Crostini

Caesar Salad Flank Steak Burgers with Garlic Crostini
(adapted from Build a Better Burger via Stirring the Pot)

-Makes 4 large meal-sized burgers.
-Estimated Time: 30-40 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 flat anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained and chopped or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-1/2 pounds ground flank steak
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Zinfandel (feel free to use any red wine or even beef broth)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing the grill rack
Garlic Crostini:
8 (1/2 inch-thick) sourdough bread slices
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on the bread
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
You will also need:
1-1/2 cups washed, dried, and shredded romaine lettuce
Shredded, freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

2. To make the dressing, combine the olive oils, vinegars, and salt in a small jar with a lid and shake until well blended. Mash the anchovy fillets and garlic together on a cutting board until they form a paste; transfer to a bowl. Add the oil and vinegar mixture, lemon juice, and parsley and whisk until smooth. Set aside. (I used a food processor for this step.)

3. To make the patties, combine the steak, parsley, shallots, garlic, Zinfandel, salt, lemon pepper seasoning, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread slices.

4. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference 5-7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, to make the crostini, brush the bread slices to taste with olive oil on both sides. Place the bread slices on the outer edges of the rack, turning once to toast lightly. Remove and rub each side of the toast with 1/2 garlic clove.

5. To assemble the burgers, combine the lettuce and the dressing in a large bowl and toss lightly. On 4 of the bread slices, place an equal portion of the salad, a patty and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining slices and serve.

Variations: (not for the Burger Club Raters)
-Serve on grilled buns rubbed with garlic or Texas Garlic Toast.
-Serve without the bread on meal-sized Caesar Salads. Double the dressing and romaine. Make croutons with the sourdough.

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Caesar Salad Flank Steak Burgers on Garlic Sourdough Crostini

Thank-you Kim for picking one of the best Gourmet Burgers I have ever tasted! And for hosting!

If you would like to join us in this round please visit Kim of Stirring the Pot for all of the details.

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Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons

Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons with Caesar Salad

I’m bringing you a simple recipe for croutons that are made by pan-frying little pieces of pizza dough and tossing them in Parmesan cheese. While the method is simple the outcome is not. I taste tested one three before adding them to my salad and was quite tempted to eat them all straight away – one right after the other. The heck with the salad! These are extremely addicting! Make extra!

The recipe comes from one of the newer shows on Food Network called Five Ingredient Fix. As soon as I saw what the host, Clarie Robinson was up to I knew these were in my very near future. Cheesy little bites of lightly fried dough? Who can resist? And why would you want to? Claire served hers in a salad dressed lightly with lemon and olive oil that she calls Caesar salad. Where she is limited to five ingredients I am not. I served mine with my Mock Caesar Salad; a knock-off of the traditional dressing using mayo in place of egg and Worcestershire or fish sauce in place of anchovies.

Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons with Caesar Salad

I didn’t give set amounts because you can really make as little or as many as you’d like. This is more of a method than a recipe. I broke off a small piece of dough while making pizza and saved it to make these another night. I do suggest that you have the salad ready before frying up the croutons. They are best served warm. And if the salad isn’t ready when the croutons are there may not be any croutons left! I’m pretty sure these would be good with any type of salad or dressing. They also make a great appetizer or snack. And are very versatile. I will be playing around with seasonings and different cheese(s).

These really add a little something extra to an everyday salad. I loved them warm with the contrast of the cold salad. They truly are little puffy bites of heaven that melt-in-your mouth. Salty, crusty and totally delicious. Make some today.

Crusty Pizza Dough Croutons & Caesar Salad

Pizza Dough Croutons
(adapted from Food Network)

Pizza Dough
Fresh Parmesan, grated*
Vegetable/Canola oil
3 or 4 garlic cloves, whole,peeled

1. Cut the pizza dough into little rectangles or roll into balls. They will puff up bigger as they cook so cut them a little smaller than you want them to be. Add the Parmesan cheese to a medium size bowl.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet add about 1/4-inch of oil. Heat on medium-low heat, add garlic cloves and saute.

3. Test oil by frying one piece of dough – the oil should get bubbly around the dough. If not turn heat up to medium. Fry the dough turning until all sides are browned. Drain on paper towels and then add to bowl with Parmesan while still warm. Serve with your favorite salad.

*I used a 1/4 cup for 15 croutons. 

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Mock Caesar Salad Dressing
(by Reeni)

1 tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire or Fish Sauce
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for shaving/sprinkling over top
Sea/Kosher salt and fresh Pepper
Pizza Dough Croutons

By Hand:
1. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, Garlic, and Mustard until well combined.

2. Stream in the oil while whisking and continue whisking for a minute or two.

3. Stir in Parmesan. Taste and adjust to suit your own taste by adding more Garlic, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, or Mayonnaise for a creamier finish. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss with Romaine hearts, additional Parmesan, Croutons, and slices of Parmesan Chicken.

In a Food Processor:
1. To the bowl of a food processor add the Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire, Garlic, and Mustard. Pulse until well creamy and well combined.

2. Stream in the oil while pulsing. Pulse until well emulsified.

3. Taste and adjust to your own tastes by adding more Garlic, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire or Mayonnaise for a creamier finish.

4. Stir in Parmesan cheese, taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Toss with Romaine hearts, additional Parmesan, croutons, and slices of Parmesan Chicken.

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Crunchy Pizza Dough Croutons with Caesar Salad

I’m taking your side dishes for the Showdown! Add your links to the bottom of the post HERE.

Do you love burgers? Join us and rate Katie Lee’s Award Winning Logan County ‘Grilled Cheese’ Burger. Find out the details/ get the recipe and add your link to the bottom of the post HERE.

I also want to tell you about a new site to visit called Foodierama.

Foodierama is a homepage for foodies based on the idea of serendipity. It’s designed as a portal front page containing teasers to the latest posts of a list of hundreds of the best food blogs. Whenever users enter the page they discover something new and exciting: a new blog, a new recipe or cooking technique etc. In addition, users get a panoramic view of what’s going on in the food blog-sphere all on one graphic page.” -Dave, co-founder of Foodierama

I’m linking this to Chaya of My Sweet and Savory for her Meatless Monday round-up.

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Blue Cheese, Cranberry and Pecan Salad with Grilled Chicken and Honey Mustard Dressing

Red, White & Bleu

This recipe is a recreation of one of my favorite salads from my favorite diner! It is packed with blue cheese, pecans, dried cranberries and topped with grilled chicken. The creamiest, most-delicious, homemade honey mustard you can imagine is drizzled over top.

The textures and different flavors in this salad make it so fun to eat. My taste buds are totally addicted to tart and sweet flavor pairs. I love dried cranberries! They take on a whole new life compared to fresh ones. They are sweeter, less tart and the contrast between them and the bite from the blue cheese is off the flavor charts. Soft, savory, sweet, smoky, salty, crunchy, chewy, creamy, crisp, tangy, tender and juicy; this salad has it all!

It is the most perfect warm weather dinner salad. You can throw the chicken on the grill and have the dressing and salad assembled in the time it takes to cook. And it is nothing short of sublime! Light yet filling and completely addicting!

100_6935 (Small)

The great thing about this salad is you can make it for one or for a crowd. You can adjust how big or how little you want the salad to be. That’s why I haven’t included measurements for the salad fixin’s. But be on the generous side. They really make the salad.

Red, White and Blue Grilled Chicken Salad
(by Reeni)

For the salad

Chicken breast, boneless, skinless
Romaine hearts, chopped
Dried Cranberries
Pecans or Walnuts
Blue Cheese, crumbled

For the dressing*

2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons Honey
2 teaspoons Rice Vinegar
Salt and pepper
Mayonnaise (optional)

1. Pound out your chicken breasts between saran wrap using a mallet to your own desired thickness. Season well with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile toast the pecans or walnuts in a dry saute pan for about five to seven minutes on low tossing a few times.

3. In a food processor emulsify the mustard, honey and vinegar. Taste and adjust to your liking by adding more honey or more mustard. If too thick thin with a little more vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. For a creamy dressing add a teaspoon or two of mayonnaise. I save my empty honey bear bottles for storing my home-made dressings in. *For creamy honey-mustard in a pinch mix equal parts Ranch dressing and honey mustard.

4. Assemble your salad, start with the romaine and top with generous amounts of cranberries, walnuts and bleu cheese. Drizzle with honey-mustard and top with the grilled chicken.

Printable Recipe

Red, White & Bleu Salad

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