Sweet Brown Rice & Toasted Sunflower Seed Salad
For the Oil-free Vinaigrette:
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs coconut aminos or tamari
1 medium clove garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp honey or agave
1/4 tsp cayenne
Combine dressing ingredients, mix well with a fork and set aside while preparing the brown rice salad.
For the Brown Rice Salad:
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
3/4 cup diced tomatoes
3/4 cup diced cucumbers
8 black olives, pitted and chopped
10 fresh peppermint leaves, minced
Start toasting sunflower seeds in a dry cast iron pan over medium to low heat, stirring as needed to prevent burning. While seeds are toasting, prep remaining salad ingredients. When seeds begin to brown nicely, remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Store cooled seeds in an airtight container until final step.
Stir in mint leaves, cover and chill. When ready to eat, mix in about two thirds of the toasted sunflower seeds. (This is done last so that the seeds will remain crunchy and crisp!) To serve, top salad with remaining seeds and garnish with additional mint leaves.
This salad can be made ahead and keeps nicely for two or three days, even after the sunflower seeds are mixed in and become chewy rather than crisp. Enjoy leftovers as part of a composed salad, as shown below. Bon appetit! 💚