Rice Salad With Portobellos, Smashed Cucumbers & Salsa Verde

August  5, 2020
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4, with leftovers
Author Notes

Looking for a portable, make-ahead dinner for the lazy days of summer? Reach for the bag of rice in your pantry, and make this hearty, umami-packed rice salad. The steps are simple, either done in one fell swoop or simple stages. Make a pot of fragrant rice. Sear dense, meaty portobellos in a skillet until deeply caramelized. Make salsa verde, then smash and marinate cucumbers in it. (Smashing cucumbers with the back of a knife, a technique commonly used in Sichuan cooking, creates lots of nooks and crannies to soak up the salsa verde.) All that’s left is tossing all of the components together, with crushed pistachios, currants, and dill for good measure. The flavors are bold and unexpected, the sweetness of the currants a pitch perfect contrast to the savory mushrooms and anchovies.

A few tips and notes: For rice salads, my go-to method for cooking rice is Meera Sodha’s Basmati Rice recipe from Made in India, which yields light, fluffy, separate grains of rice every single time. Another method that works well is cooking the rice like pasta (in a big pot of generously salted water), then draining and spreading it out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

Like most rice salads, this one is endlessly adaptable. Feel free to use brown basmati rice, or another long-grained rice, adjusting the cooking time accordingly. Swap in another type of mushroom (or a mixture) for the portobello, and change up the herbs, nuts, and dried fruit too. Because the ingredients hold up, the salad is equally delicious warm, at room temperature, or cold, and it keeps well for days in the fridge. To stretch leftovers, top with a fried egg, or stir in some shredded chicken or flaked salmon or tuna. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • For the Rice Salad With Portobellos & Smashed Cucumbers:
  • 1 1/4 cups basmati rice, well rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Persian cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1/4 cup roasted, shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill (or parsley or mint)
  • For the Salsa Verde:
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste; or, 4 anchovy fillets, smashed to a paste (for a vegetarian version, simply omit)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained or rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  1. Cook rice according to Meera Sodha’s “The Perfect Basmati Rice" recipe on Food52 (see author notes for link). For 1 1/4 cups of rice, use 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water. Keep all other ingredients and instructions the same.
  2. To make salsa verde: In a medium bowl, stir together anchovy paste, capers, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Stir in parsley and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Cut the cucumbers into 1 1/2 to 2-inch segments, then smash them with the back of a chef’s knife. Cut the smashed pieces into thirds or quarters, lengthwise. Add the cucumbers and currants to the salsa verde; set aside.
  4. In a 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms. Season with salt, to taste, and Aleppo pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are nicely browned and tender, and all the water that cooks out has evaporated.
  5. To assemble salad, in a large serving dish, stir together rice, salsa verde, smashed cucumbers, currants, mushrooms, pistachios, and dill. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

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Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

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