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Rice salad with added "crunch"

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One of the most popular ways to prepare chicken, next to frying it, is making chicken salad from it. Many cooks pride themselves on making a good chicken salad for company or to serve as a sandwich filling. Though we're in the midst of winter, it's one salad whose popularity remains strong, no matter what season it is!

Do you ever find yourself preparing chicken salad the same way every time? Normally, whenever we have a good recipe for anything, we typically stick with it. Why not step out of your "comfort zone" when it comes to making chicken salad and prepare it with a crunchy and flavorful twist? Try your hand a "Crunchy Chicken Salad" for something rather new and innovative!

This is a salad that really emphasizes the word "crunchy" in numerous ways. For one, it contains celery and green pepper, which provide crunch right there. Water chestnuts are another reason for why this salad has the crunch to it and toasted, sliced almonds are the finishing touch to this salad to add even more crunchy flavor to it. The salad itself is also flavored with cooked rice. According to your personal taste, you could use either white rice or brown rice and it'll be great either way.

This salad also has a dressing that you make yourself. It gets lots of flavor from lemon zest, mustard, green onions, pimiento and horseradish. As you can tell, this is NOT your common, everyday chicken salad! The dressing is combined with the cooked rice, chicken and the vegetables and it's chilled. It should chill at least four hours to enable the flavors to blend. The almonds are added just prior to serving as a garnish.

You'll see in the recipe that it calls for parsley. I would suggest using the fresh parsley instead of the dried version we find in the spice section of the grocery. Dried parsley tends to be a little bitter so I would go with the fresh. It's usually sold in a bundle in the produce section. The remaining parsley you'll have left will keep for several days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper. In case you're looking for another way to use fresh parsley, I'll be sharing a recipe tomorrow that will help you use the bundle you have left.

Another recipe for chicken salad I shared sometime ago was for "Hawaiian Chicken Salad", which is similar to this one I've given, but it doesn't have rice in it. Yet, it's still very good and will also be great to have during these cold winter months while we wait for the spring! To get this recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/chicken-that-s-been-to-hawaii

Want to do something different with chicken salad? Follow this recipe and you'll find a new and crunchy way to make it!

CRUNCHY RICE SALAD

Salad:

  • 3 cups cooked rice, cooled
  • 3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup sliced water chestnuts

Gently combine all these ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped pimientos
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup sliced and toasted almonds

Blend together the first six ingredients. Stir in the green onions, parsley and pimiento. Add the salt and pepper. Pour this dressing over the prepared salad and mix well. Cover and chill at least four hours. For serving, sprinkle with almonds. Yield: about 8-10 servings.

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