Recipe courtesy of Christine Wendland, runner-up in the 2011 Chilean Hass Avocado Culinary Student Recipe Contest. Each serving of this hearty salad contains 10 grams of protein, making it a vegetarian entrée salad – perfect for Meatless Monday!
- 1 cup wild rice medley
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 small whole-wheat tortillas, cut in matchstick size
- 1 cup (4 ounces) pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- Seeds of 2 medium pomegranates, plus additional seeds for garnish*
- 3 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 large white or yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 12 ounces total)
- Juice of 3 medium limes
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or to taste
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine rice medley and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook according to package directions, approximately 20-30 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Place in fine mesh sieve and run under cold water to cool quickly. Shake off excess liquid.
Meanwhile, place the tortilla strips in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes or until browned and crisp, watching closely not to burn. Allow to cool on separate plate. Place the pumpkin seeds in a thin layer on the same baking sheet and bake 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini in long, thin julienne ribbons, avoiding seeds as much as possible. Combine zucchini ribbons, onion, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
In a large bowl, using a rubber spatula, stir together the cooled rice and pomegranate seeds. Gently fold in the avocado, cilantro, oil, ginger, pepper and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, no longer than 6 hours for peak flavors.
At time of serving, using a slotted spoon or tongs, place the zucchini mixture on a serving platter to resemble a “nest”. Gently mound avocado-rice mixture inside the “nest.” Garnish with additional arils, if desired, and the toasted tortilla strips.
Cook’s Tip: To seed the pomegranates easily, cut pomegranates in half, place in a bowl of water and “work” the seeds out with your fingertips. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the membranes will float to the top. Remove the membranes and pour the water and the seeds through a fine mesh strainer to drain the water off easily.
Makes 9 cups Avocado Rice and 6 cups Zucchini Mixture