Black rice salad, turmeric dressing

If we are honest with ourselves, salad isn’t a word that conjures excitement, largely thanks to the boring repertoire of rabbit food that’s usually associated with being on a diet.
Done well, however, it’s just like any other well thought out dish, full of flavour and something you genuinely look forward to eating.
This black rice salad is one such treasure, with different flavour combinations and textures making it an all around solid recipe.
Having had the pleasure of demonstrating this dish at the Tatton Park Christmas Foodies Festival, I can also confirm it’s a total crowd pleaser.

Black rice salad.JPG

Ingredients (to feed 2)
170g of black rice (I used Thai black rice from Sainsbury’s)
1 small butternut squash
2 large flat cap mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of thyme
rapeseed oil for roasting
3 stems of curly kale, leaves torn & the stem discarded
1 lemon
75g cashews
2” piece of turmeric root or 1/4 of a teaspoon of powdered turmeric
sea salt and black pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Put the cashews in a small bowl and cover them with cold water. Set aside.
Peel the butternut squash, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and chop up the flesh into rough squares. Transfer to a roasting tray, drizzle with rapeseed oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and roast for approximately 40 minutes until soft.
Cook the rice according to packet instructions, approximately 25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook it, the dish works better if the rice retains some bite.
Put the flat cap mushrooms on a small roasting tray, season, drizzle with rapeseed oil, crush a clove of garlic over each mushroom and sprinkle over the leaves from the 4 sprigs of thyme.
Roast in the oven for 15 minutes then slice when cool enough to handle.
Put the torn kale in bowl, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, season with sea salt and black pepper and “massage” to break down the kale slightly.
Transfer the cooked rice, sliced roasted mushrooms, roasted butternut squash and massaged kale into a big bowl and stir.
To make the turmeric dressing, drain the cashews and put them in a blender or smoothie maker. Add enough water to cover them 3/4 of the way up, squeeze in the juice from the other half of the lemon, add the turmeric root or powder, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper and blend until completely smooth. You may need to add a touch more water if you prefer a runnier dressing.
Divide the salad between two plates and drizzle over the dressing to serve.