This seasonal warm rice salad makes for a great addition to your holiday entertaining and is perfect for sharing with friends and family. Not only is it beautiful to serve, it’s also the perfect mix of sweet and salty flavours, and the balance of warm and cool temperatures will make your soul cheery and leave your taste buds full of umami.

This dish is inspired by traditional Persian jewelled rice, and a recipe that can be easily prepared ahead of time or customized with ingredients you may already have in your pantry or fridge. It’s very forgiving to any changes in ingredients or portion sizes, so have fun and don’t be afraid to personalize it!

What you’ll need:

2 cups of uncooked rice (I used 1 cup of black rice and 1 cup of Canadian wild rice.)

2 cups of brussels sprouts, shaved or very thinly sliced.

¾ cup of golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 4-5 minutes, then drained.

¾ cup of fresh pomegranate arils.

½ cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped.

¼ cup of fresh green onion, finely chopped.

½ cup of toasted almond slivers.

Juice of ½ lemon and ½ an orange.

3 TBSP of olive oil.

2 TBSP of maple syrup, local honey, pomegranate molasses, or agave.

1/3 cup of plant-based butter.

1 clove of garlic, minced.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Large bowl for tossing.

Preparation:

I personally like to use a mix of different kinds of rice for both texture, flavour and appearance, but literally, any kind of rice would work, so you can use what you have. Try pairing of dramatic black grain rice (find it at your local Bulk Barn!), and classic and earthy wild rice.

Other add-ins you may enjoy: roasted root vegetables, chopped mint, sautéed garlic and onions, chopped and roasted pecans or walnuts, finely chopped apple, local microgreens or cranberries.

1. Cook your rice following the cooking instructions and season with salt appropriately. I always recommend soaking your rice for 5-10 minutes before cooking to remove excess starch. I also recommend cooking rice in vegetable stock for optimal flavour.

2. While rice is cooking, prepare your other ingredients. During this time you can shave brussels sprouts, chop parsley and green onion, mince garlic, toast your almonds and clean your pomegranate.

3. Add shaved brussels sprouts, chopped parsley and green onion into a large bowl. Add the drained golden raisins, pomegranate arils and toasted almond slivers. Add in cooked warm rice.

4. In a small saucepan, melt your plant-based butter. Add your garlic. Add olive oil and maple syrup. Keep on lowest heat until your salad is ready to dress.

5. Once all ingredients are in your large bowl and your dressing has warmed and mixed, incorporate dressing into rice and salad mixture. Squeeze fresh lemon and orange juice into the salad. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Toss well to incorporate all ingredients. Serve warm.