This salad is another prime candidate for storing in a mason jar to keep it fresher for longer. In case you haven't read my previous 'salad in a jar' blog posts, the idea is that you layer the salad ingredients in the jar, starting with the dressing at the bottom and keeping things like green leaves and seeds at the top of the jar as we want to keep these ingredients 'sog free' and nice and crisp and crunchy.
This Mexican salad has cold brown rice. Cold rice works really well in salads to add fibre and give us sustainable energy. I always opt for brown rice over white rice as it is minimally processed and so retains more B vitamins than white rice. Brown rice also has a low glycemic index meaning you don't get the same sugar highs and lows that we get with white rice.
I have added roast sweet potatoes which along with the brown rice can be cooked in advance and kept in the fridge. For the Mexican effect, jalapeno peppers, red onion and avocado are a must. I also added cherry tomatoes and white or red cabbage.
The real key to this salad is in the dressing. Who doesn't love a creamy dressing. The good news is that this dressing is made from soaked raw cashew nuts. Just add a little chilli, lime juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and water and we have a really nice homemade creamy Mexican style dressing. This dressing would also work well as a dip for raw vegetables sticks.
1 cup of brown rice
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 red onion
¼ cup of jalapeno peppers
¼ white or red cabbage
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
For the dressing:
1 cup of cashew nuts (soaked in warm water for 2 hours)
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Half a cup of pumpkin seeds
Half a cup of coriander leaves
1. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and chop into small bite size pieces. Toss in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt and black pepper and place in a pre heated oven (gas mark 5 / 190 degrees celsius) for 25 minutes.
2. Cook the rice by rinsing it well using a sieve. Place in a saucepan with two cups of boiling water. Cover and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or until most of the water has been evaporated. The cooking time varies depending on the rice so it's important to keep an eye on it. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
3. Prepare the vegetables by dicing the tomatoes, onion and jalapeno pepper. Grate the cabbage or chop it very finely. Peel the avocado and chop the flesh into bite size pieces.
4. Make the dressing by taking the soaked cashew nuts and adding them along with the other ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
5. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes. Finely chop the coriander.
6. If eating straight away just toss all the ingredients together and top with freshly chopped coriander and pumpkin seeds.
7. If storing in a mason jar like in the pictures, layer the ingredients in the jar. I start with a drop of olive oil in the bottom of the jar and then add the dressing. Next I add the brown rice so that it can absorb some of the dressing. Next I add the sweet potatoe, the red onions, the jalapenos, the tomatoes, the avocado and lastly the cabbage. Just before adding the avocado, squeeze a little lime juice over it as this stops the avocado browning too quickly. Lastly add the chopped coriander and pumpkin seeds. With the avocado, this salad should store for up to two days. If you leave out the avocado and just add it when eating the salad, I think the salad will keep up to three days.