Jewelled with pomegranate seeds and perfumed with orange blossom and pink peppercorns this orange, pomegranate and red rice salad really is a princess of the dinner table. Rice salads can be a bit heavy and so to make this dish a bit lighter I’ve included the darling of the clean eating scene – cauliflower ‘rice’. Cauliflower rice is essentially just raw cauliflower florets blitzed in a blender turning them into couscous like granules allowing them to be used in place of rice, couscous, bulgur wheat etc.
While I don’t tend to think of white foods as scoring particularly high on the health stakes cauliflower has some impressive credentials. Not only is it packed with vitamin C but, as a cruciferous veggie (same as broccoli, cabbage and kale), it has anti-cancer properties too! I’ve made various concoctions using cauliflower rice and cauliflower doubters, big and small, have conceded with empty plates that ‘you can’t taste the cauliflower at all’.
Easy to prepare, this dish makes a good help-yourself starter or lunch especially with a bit of avocado on the side. Enjoy.
- 200g red rice
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ a red onion, finely chopped
- A couple of ice cubes
- 1 small cauliflower
- 35g flaked almonds
- 1 pomegranate
- 3 oranges
- Small bunch of dill
- 3 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
- 3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- ½ tsp orange blossom water
- Salt and pepper to season
- Place the rice and bay leaf in a pan of boiling water. Add a few grinds of salt and cook according to packet instructions. While the rice is cooking you can prepare all the other ingredients.
- Submerge the chopped red onion into a bowl of water with a few ice cubes and leave to soak. Don’t be tempted to miss out this stage as the soaking reduces the bitterness from the onion and without this treatment the onion flavour will totally over power the dish.
- Remove the outer leaves and core of the cauliflower and break into florets. Place florets in the food processor and blitz until ground into couscous sized granules.
- Place the flaked almonds in a non-stick pan over a low heat shaking them regularly to prevent burning. When they start to brown transfer into a bowl.
- Quarter the pomegranate from top to bottom. Take one of the section in your hands and push inside out. Use a knife or your fingers to push the seeds off into a bowl discarding any white pith. Repeat with remaining sections.
- Cut a quarter from one of the oranges and set aside as you will need this for the dressing. With the remaining 2 and ¾ oranges, use a sharp knife to cut away all the skin. Cut in half and discard the white pith from the centre. Cut the orange flesh into small chunks.
- Roughly chop the dill.
- For the dressing, in a bowl combine the crushed peppercorns, olive or rapeseed oil and orange blossom water. Take the quarter orange you set aside earlier and squeeze the juice into the dressing. Season to taste.
- When the rice is cooked discard the bay leaf, drain and rinse under cold water until cool. In a large bowl combine the red rice and the cauliflower ‘rice’ and stir. Drain the onions and add to the rice mix along with two thirds of the pomegranate seeds and two thirds of the dill. Stir through the dressing and season well with salt and pepper.
- To serve, transfer the salad to your chosen platter or bowl. Arrange the orange pieces on top and scatter over the toasted almonds and remaining dill and pomegranate seeds.