On the warm days of summer, the last thing I want to do is spend a long time—or really any time—cooking in a hot kitchen. But sometimes a purely cold, uncooked meal just doesn’t cut it, you know? This quick meal combines the light, fresh flavors of summer with the sole cooking requirement of making rice. The hot rice gently wilts the spinach and dill, slightly softens the feta cheese, and provides a warm, savory contrast to the sweet little tomatoes and tart lemon. I’ve made this rice salad at least a half-dozen times over the summer because it’s so simple, healthy, and tasty. Paired with a crisp chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, it’s a perfect summer meal!
Recipe: Warm Rice Salad with Spinach, Dill, Tomatoes, and Feta
- 1 tsp lemon zest (or yield from one medium lemon)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or yield from same lemon)
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach, washed and coarsely chopped (about 4-5 oz)
- 2 cups rice, preferably jasmine, cooked and kept hot (yield from about 3/4 cup dry rice)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Put all ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed. (If in this order, the hot rice will wilt the baby spinach and dill while gently warming the rest of the ingredients.)
- Toss to combine evenly and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, preferably with a crisp white wine.
This will make 2-3 dinner-sized servings or 6 side dish servings. The quantities of ingredients are rough guidelines to make it how I like it best, but you can increase the rice and decrease the spinach if you prefer that ratio.
The rice can be cooked however you like (including the microwave, if you really don’t want to heat up the kitchen!), though I use a rice cooker since it keeps the rice warm until the other ingredients are ready. I find that it takes me a leisurely ten minutes—depending on whether I’ve already poured a glass of wine—to zest and juice the lemon, crumble the feta, and wash and cut the vegetables.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 3