It was my birthday this past weekend! Let me say, there is nothing better than waking up in bed on your special day to the kisses of your husband, children, and two wet-nosed dogs, followed by a treasure hunt of sticky notes pointing me to the location of my birthday presents! Little did they know I had already gotten the best gift I could ever ask for!
Another year older (boo!), but another year wiser, so let’s skip right to the wiser part. This week’s dish was inspired by a delicious chard and beet salad I enjoyed a few weeks ago at one of my longtime favorite local restaurants, Bistro in Red Bank, New Jersey. It’s been a family favorite of ours for almost a decade now, with exceptionally friendly service, casual fun atmosphere and sushi that will most likely blow your mind!
There is so much incredible farm fresh produce to talk about and such wonderful restaurants in our area, that I wanted to begin a new series on the blog called “My New Jersey” where I will feature some of my favorite places to eat and some of the dishes that make my “Hanging Spoon Favorites List.” My husband and I enjoyed this Bistro-inspired salad so much it’s first up on the list, especially since I always get questions from people asking what to do with all the chard they have growing in their gardens! I put my own little twist on the salad by adding in some red rice and some sweet dried currants (since I’m absolutely addicted to red rice lately). A simple homemade balsamic vinegar dressing blended it all together nicely.
So, what’s so special about red rice you ask? Red rice is considered a whole grain. Therefore, much of it’s nutritional value remains intact. In addition to it’s amazingly rich, nutty flavor (that I happen to think is spectacular in salads and paired with vegetables of all sorts), it contains iron, antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber making it a great choice for those trying to lose weight, control blood sugar levels and boost the nutrient content of their diet.
And then there’s the beets. Ahhh beets! Some people hate ’em, some love ’em…I happen to love them of course. I save a lot of time in this recipe using pre-packaged cooked beets. My favorite are LoveBeets. They come in so many delicious marinade varieties from mild vinegar to honey ginger infused and most are very low in sodium, which is unusual for pre-packaged products in general.
I hope you enjoy the beauty and flavor of this very special salad.
- 1 cup red rice
- 3-4 large stalks of chard or rainbow chard (chopped)
- 4 medium sized cooked chilled beets (pre packaged) quartered
- 2 tbsp dried currants (or raisins)
- 2 tbsp pistachios (preferably unsalted)
- 2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- pinch pepper
- Cook rice according to directions on package.
- In meantime, prepare vegetables and whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for dressing.
- Once rice is cooked, transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
- Add in chard, beets, currants, pistachios and pour in balsamic dressing.
- Toss together and top with crumbled goat cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.