July 4th parties generally involves grilled meats, watermelons, alcohol and pool parties. We were asked to bring a side to this year’s party and I thought I would bring something that was light and somewhat on the healthier side, however, I have to confess: I really wanted to make this so that our vegetarian friend could eat something other than salad and watermelon! To make this a vegetarian main course, add 2 medium carrots that have been peeled and small diced; for those that want some protein, add 2 cups shredded cooked chicken in addition to the carrots.
- 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 2- 6 oz packages of wild rice (such as Gourmet House)
- 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 cups shelled cooked edamame, thawed if frozen
- 1 medium to large Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and small diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- Juice from 1/2 a medium lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3 teaspoons honey
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cook rice according to package instructions.
Toast the slivered almonds, spread the almonds in a single layer on a dry, shallow baking dish or cookie sheet. Place in a preheated 350° oven. After five minutes, remove the pan, shake to rearrange the almonds, and return to the oven. After another five minutes, check the almonds again. If they are dark enough, remove them from the oven. If they need a little more browning, shake again and return to the oven. Check every couple of minutes to avoid overcooking/burning. Overall, the almonds should roast for 10-15 minutes. The almonds will be just barely darker than they were raw; they should not be too dark. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
- Place the sesame seeds in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until golden brown (do not let the seeds burn), about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds.
- Add the rice, scallions, edamame, and cranberries to the bowl with the almonds and sesame seeds and toss to combine.
- Whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rice vinegar, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over the rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or honey if needed. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving