Guys, you're going to be amazed by the flavor that comes out of a recipe with so few ingredients. Beets are earthy and sweet and contrast so well with smoky cumin and the fresh zing of cilantro and lime. By the way, this salad has no traditional rice in it. The rice is made out of beets! Which kind of reminds me of black rice, in fact. Chopping raw beets in a food processor until they're a rice-like consistency (the same process as cauliflower rice) is my favorite way to enjoy them right now, as they're coming back into season but I'm not quite ready to crank up the oven for roasting.
This is what I like to call a refrigerator salad; a salad that can be prepped ahead and stored in the fridge to marinate in its dressing. Refrigerator salads are one of my prep-ahead strategies for quick meals during the week, and they're ideal this month as we're all getting back into the swing of school and work routine. You can make this Beet Rice and Chickpea Salad at the top of the week and have a hearty, versatile salad on hand to quickly scoop out and throw into work or school lunchboxes. Just make sure you use a leak-proof container! ;-)
Eat it as a side along with other lunchbox treats. Or for a quick bowl meal of its own, simply add a few additional pre-cooked ingredients you might have in the fridge/pantry: avocado, greens, crumbled goats cheese or feta, a hard-boiled egg, toasted seeds, cooked grains like quinoa, millet, or sorghum, or other cooked protein.
Just looking at this colorful salad makes me happy, let alone tasting its bright, fresh flavors. So if you need a little help getting the pep back into your step this month, this salad should do the trick. Enjoy!
Beet Rice and Chickpea Lunchbox Salad
Notes: I make beet rice using the same method as cauliflower rice. A large food processor is ideal for efficiency, but you can do smaller batches in a small processor as well. Just make sure the blade is sharp! This salad makes a great side salad to any lunchbox or it can be the main attraction with a few add-ins such as avocado, greens, crumbled cheese, toasted seeds, cooked grains, or other cooked protein you have in the fridge.
- 2 small (or 1 medium) raw beets
- 2 scallions/green onions, sliced
- 1 red chili or serrano/jalapeño, finely minced
- 1/2 small bunch (10 gr) cilantro, roughly chopped
- Juice from 1 1/2 - 2 limes
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups (210 gr) cooked chickpeas (or 1-15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
- Wash and scrub beets well. Remove dry ends, roughly chop (I keep skin on), and throw half into the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse, scraping down sides once, until you get the texture of rice grains.
- Transfer beet rice to a large mixing bowl and repeat with remaining beets. (I like to do this in two batches, even using a large processor, because it chops the beets more evenly so I'm not left with some larger chunks. If you are left with larger chunks, remove them and transfer the remainder of the beets into a bowl before chopping the chunks further.)
- Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl with the beet rice, and stir to combine. Store in a glass container in the fridge for lunchboxes all week.