Tuna Rice Salad with Balsamic Tomato Vinaigrette

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Spring is finally here in Philly! And for real this time! The weather is getting so much nicer, that I’m finally able to go to class without a puffy winter coat. Food wise, one of my favorite things about Spring season, is that I get to eat salads at every single meal. I crave fresh, tasty and healthy lunch options, which brings me to experiment with a ton of veggies and dressings. Since I get bored quite easily with the typical “mixed greens and tomatoes” type of salad, I love to add several types of grains, or other add-ins to my go-to recipes. Among “mixed salads,” rice ones are at the top of my list. Once you have the base, you can add whatever your heart desires and make a tasty dish in no time. This brown rice tuna salad is very easy to make, and adaptable so you can let your creative “kitchen juices” flow. All you need to remember is that simpler is better, and you’re in for a great new dish. Bon appétit!

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Prep Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 small can of tuna
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1/4 shallot
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil, and cook the rice for the time indicated on the packaging. Mine takes about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the carrot and the cucumber, and set aside. Using a fork, flake the tuna in its can.
  3. Next, make the “balsamic-tomato vinaigrette.” Roughly chop the cherry tomatoes, shallot, and parsley, and put them in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is still slightly chunky, but starting to get homogeneous. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and pulse again. Set aside as well.
  4. When the rice is cooked, put it in a colander and let cold water run over it. As soon as the grains are at room temperature, drain thoroughly and place them in a bowl.
  5. Toss the rice with the flaked tuna, grated veggies, and “balsamic-tomato vinaigrette”. Enjoy!

Mapple Lentil Salad with Tomatoes and Crumbled Feta

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When it comes to cooking, one of my mom’s specialties is her “world famous” lentil salad with onions and a dijon vinaigrette. I grew up with it, and it has definitely become one of my go-to lunch options when I’m on a time crunch. It’s fast, easy, and incredibly satisfying. Yet, I recently stumbled upon a lentil salad recipe on My New Roots, Sarah Britton’s amazing food blog. What immediately caught my eye was her title: “The Best Lentil Salad, Ever”. When I first read it, I naturally thought to myself that however good her recipe would be, it wouldn’t top my mom’s. After trying it, I have to admit that it’s delicious, but in a different way. The star of her recipe is the dressing, a spicy Maple Vinaigrette with dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar (so basically a twist of my mom’s dressing). Since I was quite skeptic when I first saw the list of ingredients, I slightly tweaked it, and it turned out to be one of the best dressings I’ve ever tasted. So though I still love my original (more simple) recipe, this one’s a keeper for when you need to step up your game! Bon appétit!

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Recipe for the dressing barely adapted from My New Roots.


Prep Time: 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 small onion
  • crumbled feta cheese (to taste)
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • salt, pepper to taste

Maple Vinaigrette:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • a pinch turmeric
  • a pinch nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Make the Maple Vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients well together, in a closed container.
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and fresh parsley, and put them in a bowl.
  3. Add the cooked (and cooled down) lentils to the bowl, toss with the dressing and the veggies, and top with crumbled feta cheese and some more fresh parsley. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy!