We can all use a little more love in our lives these days, I think. There is no denying that the past few weeks have been filled with dark moments, and that humanity as a whole is in dire need of common ground. I believe that sharing a meal is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to come together and open the lines of communication. In my circle of family and friends, potluck meals are a popular type of gathering, and one of our stand-by side dishes is a Salade d’amour (or Love Salad, in English). It is choc-a-bloc full of tasty goodies, and has enough substance to stand as starchy and veggie side dish. Of course, it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, but it will work for just about any time of the year!

Salade d'amour (love salad) | salad recipe with rice, baby spinach, red peppers, sesame vinaigrette

There are so many variations on this particular salad: some use cashews or pine nuts, others use raisins instead of cranberries. I like the extra red touches the cranberries add, and I don’t always have the budget for cashews, so I use toasted almonds instead.

 

Salade d’amour (“Love” Salad)

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 8 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 2-3 minced or crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 1 cup brown or long-grain rice (uncooked)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 5-6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly toast almonds on a baking tray, until golden brown.
  2. Cook rice until done. Cool completely before adding to the salad.
  3. Prepare vinaigrette and other salad ingredients.
  4. Combine all ingredients and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Allow salad to sit, refrigerated and covered for 30 minutes to 1 hr. Serve!

Salade d'amour (love salad) | salad recipe with rice, baby spinach, red peppers, sesame vinaigrette

There are a lot of ingredients in this salad, but because it is plentiful in veggies AND rice, it can stand alone as the single side dish for a meal. Make sure you prepare lots of it, because people will want seconds! You can also add blanched green beans or feta cheese for another twist on this classic Québecois salad. I like to serve it with a roast of pork, or with anything BBQ-ed in the summer. It makes a fantastic dish to bring to a potluck because it can (and should!) be made ahead, so that the rice can absorb lots of the vinaigrette.

By the way, if you missed last week’s post, I shared a great DIY Valentine’s gift option, along with 25 other amazing (Canadian!) Valentine’s Day crafts, recipes, and decor ideas. There is still time to make something special for your sweetheart(s)!

I want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope that the 14th (or whenever you celebrate) sees you spending time with people you love. Remember that time spent together is truly the greatest gift you can give to a loved one. xo

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Salade d'amour (love salad) | salad recipe with rice, baby spinach, red peppers, sesame vinaigrette

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