Brown Rice Salad With Crispy Spinach and Pecans. Picture: Stacy Zarin Goldberg
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 3 cups frozen spinach (bagged)
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch sweet Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups instant brown rice (uncooked)
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 medium green or red pepper
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 2 spring onion (optional)
  • 1 large navel orange
  • 4 stems parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Spread the pecans on one side (half) of a rimmed baking sheet. Wrap the spinach in paper towels and let it sit for 10 minutes, then wring out as much moisture as possible (over the bowl or in the sink; discard that liquid). Spread the dried spinach on the other half of the baking sheet, then drizzle it with the teaspoon of oil and season with a pinch of the smoked paprika, tossing to coat.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice and a pinch of salt. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, give it a stir, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
  3. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven; toast the nuts for 2 or 3 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to cool; return the spinach to the oven; continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until darkened and lightly crisped. You may need to stir it once or twice.
  4. While the spinach is in the oven, cut the peppers into small dice. Cut the red onion into small dice. If using the spring onions, trim, then cut them crosswise into thin slices. Peel the orange and cut it in half, then squeeze its juice into a bowl large enough to mix the salad in. Coarsely chop the remaining fruit. Coarsely chop the parsley leaves.
  5. Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper into the juice in the bowl, to form a dressing.
  6. Add the cooked rice, pecans, peppers, chopped orange, parsley, red onion, the spring onion, if using, most of the crisped spinach and the golden raisins, if using; toss until evenly coated and well incorporated.
  7. Divide among wide shallow bowls, and scatter some of the remaining crisped spinach on each portion. 
  8. Serve at room temperature.