Cool Mediterranean Rice Pilaf with Chicken
This salad will be a hit at a picnic or as a side dish for meat or fish, and can easily be made a day or two in advance of when you plan to serve it. It's so easy to customize it to your tastes and what's in season. I also like it with toasted pine nuts, chickpeas, fresh oregano, bell peppers, or zucchini.
- 2 pkgs. (6 oz. each) Rice pilaf mix, regular or with toasted pine nuts, or use 6 cups cooked orzo or rice
- 4 stalks hearts of palm (sold in jars or cans), halved lengthwise and chopped
- 10 sundried tomatoes, marinated in oil, drained and chopped
- 20 pitted kalamata olives chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes (also called Roma tomatoes), or 1 large tomato, diced
- 2 scallions all the green and most of the white parts, sliced
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast diced (optional)
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese optional
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 - 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar to taste
- Prepare the rice pilaf according to the package directions, using the spice pack and omitting the oil or butter.
- While the rice is cooking, combine the hearts of palm, sundried tomatoes, olives, fresh tomatoes, and scallions in a large bowl.
- When the rice pilaf is finished cooking, fluff the rice, remove it from the heat, and let it cool for several minutes before adding it to the vegetables in the bowl.
- Add the chicken and/or cheese (optional), oil, and vinegar and toss.
- Serve the salad warm or at room temperature. You can refrigerate it for up to 2 days before serving.
Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the rice, chop the hearts of palm, sundried tomatoes, and olives, dice the tomatoes and chicken (optional) and refrigerate the chicken, slice the scallions, crumble the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish. Scramble Flavor Booster: Use the feta cheese and add 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley. Tip: Nutritionally, olives and tomatoes work well in tandem. Olives are rich in vitamin E and tomatoes are packed with lycopene, which is a cancer-fighting chemical. Research has shown that, paired together, vitamin E and lycopene can significantly slow the growth of prostate cancer cells and lessen the risk of heart disease. Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 340, Total Fat: 11g, 17%; Saturated Fat: 2g, 8%; Cholesterol: 20mg, 7%; Sodium: 1160mg, 48%; Total Carbohydrate: 49g, 16%; Dietary Fiber: 2g, 8%; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 13g Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
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