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    This dramatic holiday salad is sure to stand out! Black rice is the star of this vegan and gluten-free dinner salad!

    Black Rice and Pomegranate Winter Salad – Perfect for Potlucks!

    December 13, 2017

    Black rice gives this beautiful vegan and gluten-free holiday-inspired dinner salad it’s dramatic appearance. Ruby red pomegranate and bright clementine slices draw the eye while adding a surprising touch of sweetness. Root vegetables add delicate depth, while roasted chickpeas add a satisfying crunch. It’s finished with a balsamic based dressing and a garnish of pepitas. 

    I’ll admit, I was more than a little unsure of this salad at first; black rice with fruit? But, I’ve had this black rice lying around since a previous recipe fail, and I’ve really been wanting to use it for something. (It has a nice nutty flavour and looks quite pretty to boot).

     Anyway, I had a pot-luck with a bunch of non-vegans to attend last weekend, and decided that I would take this little holiday salad for a spin. So, I basically subjected a bunch of unsuspecting friends to a experimental recipe that I wasn’t completely sure other people would like. It turns out they actually liked it, the bowl was emptied by the end of the night and I even got some complements. Mostly from the people who didn’t notice me staring them down while they tried to choke back their salads. 

    TL;DR if you invite me to dinner, you may become an unwitting recipe guinea pig. 

    Carrots and Roasted Chickpeas

    In other news, we are finally back from Western Canada. I feel like I haven’t been properly home since September. 

    We drove 4500 km from Mackenzie, BC to Caledon, Ontario between Friday morning and Monday night. My poor partner started work in Barrie on Tuesday morning. Ouch. I battled a head cold and sciatica and have been bouncing back over the last couple of days.

    Highlights from the road trip back across:

    1. Buying an aftermarket light that we mounted on our Honda Accord with cable ties in an effort to avoid deer. Being from China, it has an amazing/really dangerous strobe light function that sometimes turns on when you’re driving. I’m looking forward to re-purposing it as camera lighting/a dance party accessory.
    2. Kenora, Ontario. LOW Brewing Company has great beer (or so I’m told), friendly service and even some vegan options! Definitely worth a stop if you’re up in Northern Ontario. Kenora is also an adorable town with gorgeous waterfront and neat architecture. Two thumbs way up!
    3. Sadly not the weather, or I would have taken a lot more photos. It is a really gorgeous drive, and it’s cool to watch the geography changing as you go. You can see short video clips from each province on my way out here though, if you’re interested. 
    Beautiful festive holiday salad! Vegan and gluten -free
    Pomegranate and Black Rice Winter Salad - Perfect for Pot Lucks!
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    45 mins
    Total Time
    55 mins

    This dark and dramatic salad is sure to be the star of your holiday table! Roasted sweet potato, carrot and cauliflower are tossed with black rice, pomegranate and blueberries. Roasted Chickpeas and pumpkin seeds add a great crunch! Loaded with whole food goodies, vegan and gluten-free!

    Servings: 8
    • 2 c black rice
    • 2 medium sweet potatoes
    • 1 cauliflower
    • 2 medium carrots
    • 1 quart blueberries
    • 1 pomegranate
    • 4 clementines
    • 1/3 c pumpkin seeds
    • 2 c or 1 can chickpeas
    • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    • 3 Tbsp tahini
    • 1/4 c of balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely shredded
    • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon
    1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

    2. Chop the sweet potato into 1 cm cubes and slice the carrot into matchsticks.

    3. Line two baking sheets with tinfoil and put the sweet potato over half of one.

    4. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

    5. While the sweet potato is baking, cook 2 c of rice according to the instructions on the package.

    6. Cut your cauliflower into very small pieces. 

    7. Open and rinse your can of chickpeas.

    8. Once the timer goes off, reset it for 25 minutes, and remove the sweet potato from the oven. Flip or stir briefly and then add the cauliflower, chickpeas and carrots, spreading between your two baking sheets.

    9. Bake another 20 minutes.

    10. While your vegetables are baking, wash your blueberries, and prepare the pomegranate (see note). Peel and separate your clementines.

    11. Prepare the dressing by mixing the ingredients in a bowl.

    12. Once your rice and the vegetables are done cooking, allow to cool briefly before mixing in the fruit. Add the dressing, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds right before serving for best effect.

    Recipe Notes
    *I remove the pomegranate seeds using "mess-free water technique". Fill a large mixing bowl with enough water to cover the pomegranate. Slice the pomegranate in half (I usually do this in the bowl to avoid staining anything, but be very careful) and then break it apart underwater. The rind and waxy pieces separating the seeds will float to the top, while the seeds sink. Once you are done separating everything, scoop the rind and waxy bits off of the water's surface and discard. Strain the pomegranate seeds, and voila, no mess! **If you are feeling more root vegetables, you may replace the cauliflower with white potato or another tuber.

    So that’s it for today’s recipe. If you bring this to your very own holiday dinner, make sure to tag me on  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or leave me a note in the comment section below, so I can see how it turned out. I’m glad to be back in Ontario and have access to all of my props and some real grocery stores, so hopefully I’ll get back into a more regular posting rhythm (I’m already plotting another recipe to share this week).

    Hope you all enjoy!

    Looking for more crowd-pleasing salads? Try:

    1. No-Hassle Spicy Vegan Salad
    2. Mango Vermicelli Salad
    3. Freeky Greek Salad

    or for unique Apps that everyone is sure to love:

    1. Super Food Nachos (one of my personal favourites!)
    2. Cauliflower Chicken Wings