Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rice Salad with Grilled Chicken, Eggplant, and Zucchini

Recently, I’d become bored with the lunches I bring to work and a change was needed. So, while trying to imagine something new and different that would be easy to pack and then heat in a microwave or eat cold, I came upon the rice salad article by Bittman. Rice salad is perfect for lunch at work, and it’s versatile. As explained in the article, you can turn any combination of ingredients that classically go together into a rice salad. Just pick a general flavor direction. Bittman wrote: "I’m not saying anything goes, but just about."

I loved the suggested method of cooking rice like pasta and tasting it as it cooks for doneness. Once cooked to desired level, the rice is rinsed, drained, and combined with ingredients of your choosing. I decided to use grilled, summer vegetables and chicken. Then, lots of complementary things were added to the mixing bowl as well. Here’s what I included in my version:

2 c medium grain white rice (cooked like pasta, rinsed, and drained)
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small purple eggplants, halved, grilled, then chopped into 1/2" dice
2 smallish zucchini, halved, grilled, then chopped into 1/2" dice
1 lb chicken breast, grilled, then chopped into 1/2" dice
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 sun-dried tomatoes, oil packed, diced
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 big handful flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
3/4 c parmigiana, grated
2 t Dijon mustard
3 T red wine vinegar
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

First, I whisked the vinaigrette in a large mixing bowl (mustard, vinegar, oil) then everything else went in and was tossed to combine. Yield: dinner and lunch the next day for one army. It makes quite a lot.

The grill smoke was a nice addition to the overall flavor. The salad was delicious right after being made. It was even better straight from the refrigerator for lunch the next day as some magic occurred while everything had nestled together overnight. I’m already thinking up other combinations and actually looking forward to future lunches.


  1. What a perfect BBQ dish! Looks delicious and I want a great big plate full for lunch!

  2. Lisa,
    Your salad looks delicious... great for a picnic or lunch at the office.

  3. Isn't grilling the eggplant and zucchini the best? I just love both prepared this way. Great looking salad.


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