Rice-and-Vegetable Salad

This salad -a creative combination of fresh, dried, and canned ingredients-is open to interpretation, and it works well for cruisers who may find themselves far from a place where they can reprovision.

Rice Vegetable Salad 368
Lynda Morris Childress

At a beach potluck to celebrate the summer solstice, the conversation among the cruisers touched on topics diverse, but eventually the talk turned to food; specifically, to meals prepared on board while gunkholing on the waters of the Golfo de California. The collective goal: to lengthen the time spent in the islands before a forced return to a major mainland town for a day of reprovisioning. Vegetables and fruit in particular presented a problem: No one liked to have canned vegetables or fruit on a regular basis, yet all found it virtually impossible to store enough fresh produce on board to last for more than a week. The eventual consensus was that cruising recipes-and cooks-have to be flexible and creative enough to use substitute ingredients. Hence, this basic rice-and-vegetable salad recipe, which has evolved over four years of cruising.

In the summer heat in Mexico aboard Que Tal, our Tayana 37, my husband, Dave, and I enjoy chilled salads for lunch or dinner. By using some canned and dried vegetables and fruits, I can stretch my stock of fresh items considerably. Or I can make the salad totally from nonperishable items and, thus, really extend our time away from a town. The creation is never the same twice, but as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life!

1 cup cooked rice (brown, basmati,
or other)
1 12-ounce can green beans, drained
1/2 12-ounce can corn, drained
1/2 12-ounce can kidney beans, drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced, or 8 cherry
tomatoes, halved
10 grapes, halved and seeded, or 1
orange, peeled and cut into pieces
6 dried apricots, quartered
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash*
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* To make a similar seasoning, combine 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon each basil, marjoram, thyme, parsley, savory, mace, onion powder, sage, and black pepper.

Combine rice, vegetables, fruits, and nuts in bowl. Whisk together seasoning, sugar, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over salad and mix gently. Serve immediately or place in refrigerator or other cool place until ready to serve. This salad will last two to three days in the refrigerator, so it can easily be made ahead of time. Serves four.
Variations: Add diced tofu or shredded cheese just before serving. Use a different type of oil or a sugar substitute, such as honey or a low-calorie sweetener.
To make this into a chilled one-dish meal, add a 6-ounce can of tuna, ham, or chicken. Drain meat, break into bite-size pieces, and mix gently and briefly.

Substitutions: Rice: Use cooked pasta, couscous, diced potatoes, or barley. Green beans or kidney beans: Use garbanzos, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, peas, spinach (fresh or frozen), or canned or marinated artichoke hearts (all drained).
Tomatoes: Use grape tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes, diced peppers (sweet or hot), mushrooms (preferably fresh), black olives, or diced avocado.
Grapes or orange: Use bite-size pieces of fresh mango, papaya, apple, pineapple, or strawberries or canned peaches, mandarin oranges, or pineapple.
Almonds: Use cashews, walnuts, or pecans or raw chopped carrot, jicama, broccoli, or cauliflower.
Dried apricots: Use almost any other dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, dates, or bananas.
Mrs. Dash: Use curry powder, cinnamon (then use a little more sugar), chili powder or cumin, garlic, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, or tarragon-all to taste.
Balsamic vinegar: Use wine vinegar, cider vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. (Start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste.)