This is a great spring dish that uses the first fresh cilantro of the season to dress a melange of items from the pantry. You could make it in the summer too when there is fresh corn and tomatoes to be had but I don’t want to think about how much better it will be later when I’m enjoying the spring version now.
Cilantro Pesto Ingredients:
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, washed and stemmed
3 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Rice Salad Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black beans (or two cans)
2 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 can corn
1 quart diced tomatoes
2 cups grated jack cheese
1 recipe cilantro pesto
To make the cilantro pesto:
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulverize the hell out of it. You’re done.
(Or if you like to go the traditional route- put all ingredients in a large sized pestle and mortar and using your muscles, grind the hell out of them all.)
To make the rice salad:
Be sure to drain the canned goods first. Then you put all of the ingredients in a bowl together and stir well. You’re finished. Dinner is ready.
If you’re one of those people who really likes two dishes on one plate, you could serve this rice salad with roasted potatoes, or grilled asparagus. I like it as a simple one dish meal myself. It’s great at room temperature but it’s also quite good heated. If you don’t have black beans, I think it would be superb with chick peas. I also made this with pasta instead of rice and it was WONDERFUL. If you want to add some heat to it you could add chopped up roasted jalapenos. Or chopped pickled jalapenos. What brings it all together is the cilantro pesto. If you are vegan you can make this without the cheese.
Recipe Notes: this recipe qualifies as quick if you have the black beans in a can. I had to make mine from dried which takes time. But cooking the rice takes twenty minutes and you can make the cilantro pesto and grate the cheese while it’s cooking.