This recipe started out as a simple side dish salad (because it has a fantastic mix of salad veggies and ingredients in it) intended to be the “starch” part of a meal but also meant to fulfill that “salad” role.
It has been such a versatile dish however that it has slipped into many other fabulous meals in so many roles, my friend’s little girls call it the “Transformer”
salad. It has truly become the base for all kinds of side dishes for our table and appeals to all ages.
To tell you the truth, I took two things my husband liked and put them together as a substitute for potatoes (not that there’s anything wrong with potatoes unless you need a longer burning carb). Then I got the idea of hiding a few veggies in it as a “seasoned” hot side dish,
Then it became a room temp side dish, then a salad (hiding more veggies)
Here, you can pick your own, your favorites, i.e., grated carrots, pickles beets, broccoli slaw,etc.) and if you add them in ¼ cup amounts, you can get away with it before you’re caught veggie-hiding.
 When 5 extra unannounced people showed up as we were about to sit down to a roast beef dinner one evening, I added 3 cups of mixed crunchy greens and 3 tbsp. of Italian dressing, to it at room temperature and made it a true salad. It was a giant hit.
 Since then it has been the base for the addition of tropical fruits (some sweet) with a bit of chili pepper for a summer side salad with grilled fresh fish and
 Some winter fruits (diced apple, cranberries, (sometimes dried apricots)walnuts and diced dried plums or prunes) to serve alongside roast pork or under pan-seared pork chops) but is also good with roast duck, chicken and turkey.
So you can see how valuable this base recipe might be in YOUR kitchen and why the little girls call it “transformer” salad.
Ingredients and Process Serves 6
- 3-¾ c. low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water)
- ½ c. good dry wine (or water)
- Add liquids together and bring to a boil
- In a covered 2 quart casserole stir the next 10 ingredients together to combine.
- 1 cup whole grain brown rice, rinsed
- 1 cup whole grain quinoa, rinsed and drained well
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt,
- 2 tsp. each, granulated garlic, *black sesame seeds*optional
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. dried chopped onion
- Pour boiling liquids over rice/quinoa mix and stir to combine.
- Place in a preheated 350° F oven for 30-35 minutes after which taste test to make sure both rice and quinoa are done.
- Yes, remove from heat, uncover, stir and cool.
- No, return covered to oven for 10 additional minutes. Repeat taste test. If not all the water is absorbed and mixture is not “fluffy” return for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered.
- When done, cool to room temperature.
- Add following ingredients into cooled rice/quinoa
- ½ cup diced green onion (whites and green tops)
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced sweet red pepper
- ½ cup diced radishes
- ½ cup diced celery ribs (and leaves if possible)
- ¼ cup (your favorite) robust Italian dressing
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup crumbled Feta Cheese*
- *(you can substitute crumbled blue cheese, or Parmesan if you like)
- Stir to combine
- Cover and refrigerate
The above recipe is the base salad . The above mentioned variations are outlined in the numbered groups of ingredients below. If the details of these variations are not clear to you or if you have other questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your question, and we’ll respond immediately, or almost so.
 True Salad Addition (Great with beef or chicken)
- 3 cups broken romaine lettuce (or)
- 3 cups mixed spring salad greens
- 3 tablespoons of your favorite Italian dressing
 Chili Fruit Addition ( Fish Accompaniment)
- ½ cup orange segments
- 1/2 cup grapefruit segments
- 1 tbsp. orange zest
- 1/2 tsp. lime zest
- 1 tbsp. diced cilantro
 Winter Fruits Addition (Pork, Poultry, Game Accompaniment)
- ¼ cup each diced apple, cranberries, walnuts and diced dried plums or prunes)
- ¼ chopped dried apricots (when you have them or expressly, instead of plumbs) for duck or venison.)
While not in the citrus family, additions of Mango and Avocado elevate this salad to holiday status.
©BAPantryGourmet.com/Barbara A. Ziegler April 2016~All Rights Reserved