Yesterday it was another hot one in Southern California and limes, avocados and tomatoes were on my table. Nick suggested nachos, but that involves a lot of cheese and I am doing so well on my diet (lost 15 pounds so far!). Trying to cut out dairy these days.
Fortunately I had an idea for something completely different that involved a bag of quick-cooking brown rice from Trader Joe’s. (I love that stuff! This is a white rice-free zone now.)
What makes this Mexican Confetti Rice recipe delicious is the use of lime juice on the cooling rice, coupled with a sweet-sour lime honey dressing on everything. I got this idea from America’s Test Kitchen’s “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook,” which is excellent. The confetti effect comes from all the colors of the vegetables, beans and chipotle-flavored seitan — it’s beautiful although my photography doesn’t do it justice. Rather than just a salad, this is a complete meal with lots of protein too. Probably closer to an Asian fried rice without the frying and without the Asian. (!)
There is a place for more hot sauce in this dish but the jalapenos and the wonderful dressing really pulled it altogether for me and I didn’t need any hot sauce (Nick did).
Mexican Confetti Rice
1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (preferably the Trader Joe’s Organic Basmati Rice variety)
1 package chipotle or southwest flavored seitan (or marinate seitan strips in a little olive oil and taco spices for an hour or so)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed until water is no longer cloudy
3 large juicy limes (or double or triple that number if they are small and don’t have much juice)
4 scallions, whites and green parts, sliced thinly into rings.
1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped (use gloves!) or 1/4 cup pickled nacho jalapeno peppers
2 ripe avocados
3 teaspoons honey
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
Make rice according to package directions (1 cup rice and 2 1/2 cups water, brought to boil, covered with lid, turned down to low heat, and allowed to cook for 10-12 minutes until water is absorbed)
When the rice is fluffy and still hot, spread out on a cookie sheet and squeeze the juice of an entire large lime over all the rice. Allow to cool.
In a small frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, fry seitan until crispy (about 15 minutes). Set aside.
Drain and rinse black beans and set aside in same bowl with seitan.
Prep and put all together in a bowl: tomatoes, jalapenos, scallions.
Pull out a small bowl or a small jar for making the dressing. Put together: Zest (filament strips of the outer green skin, not the white part underneath) of one large or two small limes, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, the 3 teaspoons honey, the 3 cloves garlic, finely minced, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings so the dressing is sweet enough, not just sour. Add a little more oil if it needs to be toned down a little. Shake well.
Now it’s time to assemble the dish in a large bowl or rimmed platter.
Put in rice, seitan, black beans, and chopped vegetables.
Halve the avocados, remove the pits, slice each half crosswise, scoop out the flesh with a spoon, and add to the mixture in the bowl.
Pour the dressing over all. Toss gently to get all the ingredients nicely combined with the dressing. Taste for salt and pepper and add more if needed. Have extra lime slices handy.
Serve with a mixed baby greens salad (optional), salt and pepper on the side, and bottles of hot sauce.