Kale salad packed with rice, roasted vegetables, sliced almonds, and feta, drizzled with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. This healthy salad is a great option for all your summer barbecues and picnics.
I’ve been thinking about all the picnics we’re going to go on this summer, and all the barbecues we’re going to attend. I’m picturing us rolling out a big fluffy blanket (specifically the huge blue mickey mouse quilt from my childhood, which my mom still possesses in her linen closet) on the grass on a warm evening, and plunking down an over sized canvas bag filled with meats and cheeses and other picnicables, including this here salad. And wine…always wine. We’ll chat about nothing in particular…just enjoy the slow, warm evening. You in?
When I participate in a mass barbecue or picnic, I always like to bring a healthy option, as I know there will be plenty of snackety trinkets and booze, but am always afraid there will be a shortage of greens. My go-to for a healthy BBQ side dish is a gluten-free pasta salad (like this Kale Pesto Pasta Salad or this Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing), or a hearty greens and grains salad that I know will hold up well over time and amidst travel.
Hence, this lil’ guy.
The concept here is simple. We have roasted veg + brown rice + kale + a simple balsamic dressing. I like adding goat milk feta and sliced almonds for zing and crunch. All ingredients combined generates that all-textures-and-flavors experience that’ll keep you going back for more.
I used bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and carrot, but you can incorporate any of your favorite seasonal vegetables. I enjoyed the salad warm just after preparing it, but you can definitely serve it chilled as well!
The recipe makes enough to comfortably feed 4 to 6 (depending on how many other side dishes are invited to the soiree), and can easily be scaled up if need be. Plus, there are so many ways you can customize this thing. Have a looksy:
- Make this salad year-round by using fresh seasonal produce for the roasted veggies.
- You can turn this salad into a complete vegetarian meal by adding garbanzo beans or black beans, or serving with a cooked egg.
- Add some grilled animal protein for a healthy protein-packed dinner
- Omit the feta to make this vegan.
- Use any leafy green you’d like, such as chard, collard greens, or spinach. Kale holds up really nicely for several days, so bare this in mind when choosing your greens.
- Make recipe up to 2 days ahead of time and store in sealed container in the fridge.
- Substitute cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or lemon juice for the balsamic vinegar.
- Add fresh herbs!
For all your summer picnics and BBQs! –
Roasted Vegetable & Rice Warm Kale Salad
- 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 medium zucchini squash chopped
- 2 medium yellow squash chopped
- 1 red bell pepper cored and chopped
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread the chopped vegetables over two large baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and any other seasonings you like such as dried herbs, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.
Roast vegetables for 30 minutes, stirring half-way through, or until they have reached desired doneness.
Place chopped kale in a large mixing or serving bowl. Transfer the roasted vegetables to the mixing bowl with the kale - the heat from the roasted vegetables and rice will help wilt the kale.
Pour the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the rice and veggies, and sprinkle with sea salt, feta, and sliced almonds. Gently stir everything together. Serve alongside your favorite main dish.