This Mediterranean-inspired rice salad with creamy cannellini beans and Hemp Hearts can be served warm or chilled and makes a lovely vegetarian main or a flavorful side. Over 15 grams of plant-based protein per serving.
The weather is cooling down a bit and I know many people gravitate away from salads at this point in the year, but there’s still plenty of salad action happening over here. I’ve been sticking with the #saladeveryday movement, but adding some fall flavors in the mix like cinnamon roasted sweet potato croutons, fresh local apples, roasted pecans and more. It’s been delightful.
Another way I like to transition salads into the fall and winter months is to serve them warm. I have a few examples here on the blog (including this sautéed mediterranean lentil salad) and I’m adding another with this lemony rice salad.
This salad starts with a base of warm white rice and it’s loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients like cannellini beans, green peas and Hemp Hearts. The lemony dressing is rich and flavorful with just the right amount of zest while an extra boost of flavor comes from the raisins, fresh parsley and scallions.
Added bonus, white rice only takes about 15 minutes to cook so tossing this rice salad together doesn’t take much time at all!
You can serve it as a vegetarian main (perfect for Meatless Mondays) or as a side dish with your protein of choice. I bet it’d be delicious alongside this grilled rosemary chicken. That said, if you are serving it as a main, there’s no need to worry about lack of protein because each serving has over 15 grams!
As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts and I love adding them to my salads. For this warm salad they’re used as a main ingredient to add a rich and nutty flavor and loads of plant-based protein.
The recipe makes a large batch of rice salad so you can easily serve it warm the first time you make it and enjoy it cold thereafter (or reheat it). We enjoyed it as a main dish one night and ate the leftovers cold as a side for lunch. I also snuck a few bites (straight outta the fridge) throughout the week as a snack. It’s so good, I couldn’t resist.
I hope you enjoy this warm and hearty rice salad as much as we do. I can already tell it’s going to be an EBF staple this fall and winter!
Add about 4 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the frozen peas and cook until just tender, this should take about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or a strainer to remove peas and transfer them into a large bowl. Using the same boiling water, add rice and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain rice, return to the pot, and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, make dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.
Add the Hemp Hearts, cooked rice, beans, raisins, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, and dressing to the large bowl and stir gently to mix. Serve warm or cold with extra scallions, parsley and Hemp Hearts as a garnish.