Side Dish Series: Kale & Mushroom Rice Salad

(gluten-free, easily dairy-free, vegetarian)
Kale Mushroom Rice Salad 2 Feature

I was eating kale before it was cool. I even have three different varieties of kale planned for this year’s garden! I also tuck my pants into my socks… I’m kind of a trend-setter.

My grandma grew kale in her garden 50+ years ago, and my parents grew it in theirs when I was a young girl, so I’ve been a kale-lover my whole life. Karl, not so much. But I still put it in things, and he still eats it. I call that tough love.

Rice salads are so versatile- I think they are great served room temperature, so they make good picnic or summer party side dishes. This one has more veggies than rice, so it is quite healthy if rice is part of your diet. You could also make it with cauliflower rice.

Kale and Mushroom Rice Salad Prep

This recipe is extremely flexible, so take out or feel free to add in anything that suits your tastes.

Kale & Mushroom Rice Salad
1 cup dry long grain white rice
2 Tbs butter, divided
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1- 8oz container baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 cups chopped kale*
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans**

Cook rice according to package directions. When done, immediately fluff with a fork into a large mixing bowl.

I like to dirty as few pans as possible, so this is how I cook the veggies: start with 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs olive oil in a large pan. Cook mushrooms over medium heat until soft and golden brown, season with a pinch of salt, and add them to the bowl with the rice.

Return the pan to the stove and add another 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs olive oil. Add in the onion, celery and carrot all at once and sauté until veggies are softened and browning. Add about 1/2 tsp salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the herbs. Mix in the kale and allow to cook for another 3 minutes, until kale is softened. Transfer all the cooked veggies to the bowl with the rice.

Gently stir and fold the veggies and pecans into the rice. Serve this hot or at room temperature.

*I prefer Lacinato/Dinosaur kale, and to prep it I simply remove the middle rib and then finely chop it (you want the kale fairly small for this dish).

**I place whole pecans in a small cast iron pan, and heat gently for just a couple minutes, until the pecans start to brown. Remove them from the pan and chop into little pieces.

Do you love Kale too?

Try —> Kale Flakes (dehydrated kale flakes for sprinkling on everything).

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