Main Dishes, Sides

146

Black Rice Pasta Salad (V, GF)

I got really into black rice pasta this summer. What started out recipe testing for variations on Pad Thai turned into so much more. The texture and flavor is different from pasta, but not in the least bit unpleasant way! Basically, it’s really rad. Obviously like normal pasta it’s extremely versatile, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, but I don’t know, there’s something about one’s pasta being roughly the color of asphalt that’s very inspiring, food-wise. It leads to a great many OBD’s (see definition and subsequent rant about dinner dishes here). This dish is essentially a conflation of several OBD’s I planned on making over a recent weekend. I started with the idea of making a broccoli slaw, but upon realization I was lacking in mayo and plain yogurt -and had no desire to walk to the store because it was raining, even less yearning to experiment with making my own mayo- decided I would do a mustard based slaw. Then that turned into a mustard ginger soy sauce. Which led me to slice in a few carrots and sesame seeds and boom! It was delicious! But a little lacking in terms of a full meal. So the perfect compliment to the flavors all up in my slaw was obviously black rice pasta! Of which I have seven -yes, seven– packets. I’m honestly not sure how or why I have so many. I think every time I go to Whole Foods I put a package or two of it in my cart, forgetting about the others I still have yet to eat. But I’m not complaining.

So backing up to making the broccoli slaw. I bought my broccoli at a tiny local market in town that sources a lot of local produce. So when I opened the farmer-not-machine-plastic-wrapped vegetable and began to rinse my broccoli I noticed something in the sink that was broccoli colored, but not broccoli. It was a little green bug. Here’s something about me: I don’t like bugs. I really don’t like bugs. I don’t like bugs so much that when I see one in my room I tape my windows shut, which is probably terrible because fresh air is more important than a few critters on my wall, but as I mentioned I really don’t like bugs. So imagine my reaction to the little green inchworm making its home in my vegetable. Yeah. My friends convinced me that this was a good thing: that the broccoli was picked and packaged and arrived at the market so recently that the little creature managed to stay alive means it’s super fresh. That it means the farmer who grew the vegetable very likely doesn’t use harmful pesticides in their crops. That at the very least, it’s protein, right? Um. Cut to me soaking the broccoli in salt water for a while, then spritzing it all over with veggie wash, then bathing it in cold water, then hot water. I mean, it WAS $4 I wasn’t going to get back. And also I’m fairly certain if I’d run back to the market hoping for a refund I would’ve gotten a “who’s this city girl upset about her garden-fresh broccoli? She probably uses a lot of hand sanitizer and eats yogurt with aspartame” kind of look.  I’m not that girl, I swear! I just…prefer to get my daily protein from, y’know, beans and quinoa, not multi-legged inch-long critters. Suffice it to say, this was an ordeal (read: I live in the first world with a good dose of privilege, in case you couldn’t already tell from the fact that I write a food blog and am enrolled in college). This is an example of an ordeal in my sheltered life and probably not the best thing for me to be upset about. But anyway. I ate the broccoli and lived to tell the tale. I did not get some sort of bug-to-broccoli-to-mouth illness, and if anything, now I really know how to wash a vegetable. This probably means I should be a farmer when I grow up, right?

PS- if you’re not into black rice pasta/can’t find it, this salad would be just as good with soba noodles, which I’ve been able to find at most grocery stores (though they’re made from buckwheat, not rice, just so we have the facts straight)! But honestly, any noodles would work in this! Pasta rocks!

Salad (serves 1 but easily doubled, tripled, etc.)

1 bundle black rice noodles (I use these)

2 c broccoli

1/2 shallot, minced

2 carrots, peeled

Dressing

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

squeeze lime or lemon

Toasted sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. Combine the first seven ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, give it a good shake (with the lid on!!), and set aside. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline slicer slice up the carrots and bottom part (stem? trunk?) of broccoli. Give the top part of the broccoli a rough chop and place in a bowl with the shallot. Add pasta and dressing, then toss everything together. Top with a squeeze of citrus and sesame seeds!

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