Brown Rice Pesto Salad PICTURE: Supplied
Summer is a time for celebrations and appetizers, so commit to learning how to cook some easy summer appetizers this season. 

We asked lifestyle blogger, Cara-Lisa Sham for some of her easy – and healthy – appetizers that you can make at home which are perfect for your get-togethers.

Fragrant Brown Rice Pesto Salad (Serves 4)
“Perhaps this is my Italian genes coming through, but I am a huge pesto fan! In my opinion pesto tastes amazing on just about everything. So this pesto rice combo (as you can imagine) features weekly in my home. Such a treat and my family really enjoy it. 

I use brown basmati rice for this recipe to ensure Low GI, long lasting energy, but you can also use Jasmine rice if this is more suited for your taste buds. 
I don’t use cheese in my pesto recipe, but if you’re a big fan of Parmesan then by all means add in as you please. 

A great bonus with this recipe is that basil is rich in antioxidants, making this a fantastic dish to eliminate toxins in the body. This is also the perfect light, fresh and healthy salad to take with you on a day out to the beach”, said Cara-Lisa Sham. 

Ingredients
For Rice
3 cups boiling water
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Himalayan Rock salt
1 cup brown basmati rice
For Pesto
2 cups fresh basil
 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup pine nuts
½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
¼ tsp xylitol
1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon
1 cup chopped tomato
½ avocado – chopped into cubes
¼ cup pumpkin seeds – dry toasted
½ cup sunflower seeds – dry toasted
1 cup fresh rocket

Method 
Prepare Rice
Place boiled water into a medium sized pot. 
Add olive oil and salt and bring to the boil on high heat. 
Reduce heat and add brown basmati rice. 
Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes until rice is cooked through as soft. 
Once cooked, remove from heat and allow cooling.
Prepare Pesto
Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend thoroughly until all ingredients are well combined and thick pesto forms. 
For a lighter consistency, add more olive oil.
Add pesto to rice and stir well until well incorporated. 
Place mixture on medium heat and allow heating up. 
Now add tomatoes, and stir well on low heat. 
Allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. 
If required, add a little more olive oil here. 
Remove from heat and allow cooling slightly
Place pesto rice into large serving dish, top with chopped avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted sunflower seeds and fresh rocket
For on the go, simply place in an airtight container, seal tightly and off you go!