Rice Pilaf Salad

Ok - so I mentioned that for book group this week, I am planning to serve butternut squash soup, bread and a salad that my mother-in-law makes. That's all still a go. However, I decided in the interest of household sanity, I am serving bakery bread, and soup from a box. (It's organic and vegetarian, which ought to please my guests...I am also combining two varieties, and will zazz it up with a little of my own seasoning...)

But the salad..ah, that's going to be the highlight. At least I think so...it's a salad my mother-in-law makes and it's delightful.

Here's how it goes:
3 cups brown rice, give or take. (Make a pot of brown rice, then let it cool and fluff it up with a fork. I usually cook mine in broth, but since all I've got is chicken broth, I'll just use water this time around)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
3 green onions, chopped up
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 can mandarin oranges, drained, but reserve the juice.
toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper
toasted sliced almonds

In a big bowl, add the cooked rice, green onion, chickpeas, cranberries and oranges, and toss gently. You don't want the oranges falling apart.

In a small bowl, combine the juice and a good drizzle of the oil. I can't tell you how much, but taste it, it should taste GOOD. Add salt and pepper until you think it tastes just right.

Add the dressing to the salad and gently toss to coat.
Garnish with the toasted almonds.

(Note - I made this tonight with a Harvest Grains pilaf mix from Trader Joe's. Da-yum that was good. Israeli couscous, orzo pasta, quinoa and little chickpeas. I pretty much just cooked it, let it cool and added the cranberries and the oil.)

(Second note - if you don't want to use brown rice, this would probably be darned tasty with one of those rice mixes in a box. I might do that on Wednesday. Depends.)


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