Vegan Mediterranean Rice Salad

First off, you’ll need to cook your rice. This can be done in advance if you like, even the day before.

1½ cups long grain brown rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
3 cups cold water
½ tsp. salt

Rinse  rice until water runs clear.
Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Add salt, cover and simmer on low-medium for about 50 minutes (or until rice is done).
Fluff rice gently with a fork and set aside to cool at room temperature.

Next, chop your veggies:

2 cups spinach leaves – washed, stemmed and chopped
(To save time, use pre-washed baby spinach – that’s what I did.)
1 medium red bell pepper – finely chopped
1 cucumber – peeled, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup chopped green onions or chives
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives (make sure you buy the pitted ones)

I mixed all my veggies together (not necessary).

Preheat oven to 325º. Spread ½ cup of pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden.
(I like to do this in my toaster oven, but beware, they toast really fast that way.)

For the dressing you will need:

2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (I only needed one lemon.)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Mix dressing ingredients together in a LARGE bowl.
Add the rice and mix well.
Stir in the chopped veggies, spinach, pine nuts and ½ cup of black beans (rinsed, drained).

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