Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fiesta Salad

You have no idea what you are in for with this dinner.

Prepare yourself for flavor overload. This dish is called Fiesta Salad and I truly believe it is because eating this is like having a party in your mouth.

Ever still the skeptic when it comes to eating raw veggies, I was iffy about making this. Raw onions, peppers and carrots...I'm not so sure about that.

But it really did sound good so I put my big girl pants on and made it for dinner one night. 

I got this recipe from a friend that gave me a WHOLE bunch of great recipes a while back, and I'm just now getting to making them. She found it out of Oxygen magazine. The website at the bottom of the page was www.oxygenmag.com, in case you want to check it out. 

I was excited to make this because it sounded yummy, but I was still unsure of how I would like the veggies in it...and if I didn't like it, there would be no way the kids would eat it. 

Between the brown rice, veggies, and whatever protein you pair this with, it is a whole meal in one. It's packed with nutrients and protein which can be hard to get in the kiddos. 

After you prep all of your veggies, mix your rice, veggies, cranberries, and parsley together in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl make your sauce. Combine garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Ok, so here is the part when I didn't read every thing fully. (Shocker, I know.) There is a quote on the recipe that says,
 "Chicken, fish, or even eggs, this recipe compliments any protein perfectly."

Well, I took this to mean that you would mix in the chicken, fish, or eggs...like I said, I didn't really read it. Never mind the fact that chicken, fish, or eggs are not listed anywhere on the ingredients list...which should have been my first clue. So my cooking plan was to add chicken. As I was cooking the chicken I re-read the quote and realized that they probably meant that you should pair this salad with chicken, fish or eggs. As in....side dish. Whoops.

Well, now I have chicken on the stove cut up in to small bite size pieces. 
Oh well!
I decided to go ahead with my original plan. I cooked the chicken and cut them up as small as I could. Then when they were fully cooked, I chopped them up even more and mixed them in the salad.

It's up to you if you want to use this as a side dish or if you want to mix in chicken or eggs. I think my mistake turned out pretty good. I'll most likely make it that way every time. 

The last step is to pour your sauce over the salad and mix well.

I tell you what...I haven't been this excited about a recipe in a LONG time. Chad, Olivia, and I all had the same reaction when took our first bite.... "WOW.".

There are so many flavors that you can't concentrate on just one and when you chew, it's like they all just burst in your mouth. 


We ALL had seconds of this, and the little that was left got eaten for lunch the next day. It is definitely going into our regular rotation of dinners. Besides the prep of the veggies, it's pretty easy to throw together, which is a huge plus. 

Ok, I won't keep you waiting any longer. Here is the recipe.

Fiesta Salad (with Chicken) 
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 8 oz can of corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • 1 carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 roasted pine nuts or roasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 roasted sunflower seeds
  • Ground pepper, to taste
In a large bowl combine rice, corn, red pepper, onions, cranberries, carrot, and parsley.

In a separate bowl blend garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil.

(Add chicken or eggs to rice mixture)

Pour olive oil mixture over salad to evenly coat. Add roasted nuts, sunflower seeds and black pepper to taste.

Here are some extras from me:
  • If you don't have fresh parsley, use 2 tbsp dried.
  • Don't worry about spending the money on roasted nuts and seeds. I'm sure they taste great, but I didn't have them on hand and they are expensive! So I used plain unsalted sunflower seeds and plain slivered almonds.
  • Again, it's up to you if you want to add the protein to the salad or have it on the side.

These are the things that I did when I made it. I have to watch my costs with cooking and I hate having to buy one random ingredient just for one dish. So I just make do with what I have and hope it works! And then I also don't have half bags of nuts and seeds cluttering up my cabinets.

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did!

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