This is an easy cold salad featuring one of my favorite flavor combinations: basil and tomato.
Not to mention bacon!
This salad was created as part of a trio of cold salads in anticipation of summertime entertaining. The first I put together was the Green Goddess Buttermilk Potato Salad, rich with a creamy buttermilk dressing and a host of fresh herbs. Next came more of an entree-salad: the Tex-Mex Potato & Chicken Salad.
This Bacon, Basil and Tomato Rice Salad rounded things out nicely. Fresh tomatoes and leaves of basil are tossed into a cold rice salad, along with cooked, chopped bacon, cubes of mozzarella and a simple vinaigrette. The raw rice is tossed sautéed garlic before the water is added, and so a layer of tantalizing garlic flavor completes the salad.
There are many reasons to have a big crop of basil in your garden or in a pot on the windowsill, and this salad is just one of them! (A Cherry Tomato Basil Tart and Pesto Crisps are two more good reasons!)
Bacon, Tomato and Basil Rice Salad
- 2 cups jasmine rice, uncooked
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 strips bacon: cooked, drained and chopped into small pieces
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1" cubes
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil until hot in a pan over medium heat. Add in the minced garlic and toss quickly to sauté, for 1 minute.
- Add in the uncooked jasmine rice and stir to coat it in the oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low heat and stir frequently for another 2 minutes - do not allow the garlic to burn.
- Add in 3 cups of water and stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the rice, covered for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Spread the cooked rice out on a baking sheet and allow to cool.
- Remove the seeds and discard them. Dice the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl along with the chopped, cooked bacon.
- Julienne the basil: place the basil leaves in stacks of 4-5, roll them up from the long edge and slice through the leaves crosswise to cut them into thin strips. Run the knife through the slivers a few times to chop them up and then add them to the bowl. Add the cubed mozzarella to the bowl as well.
- Stir the cooled rice into the bowl and toss the ingredients to combine.
- Pour the vinegar and remaining 1/2 cup of oil into a small jar. Screw on the lid and shake to combine the two. Pour this vinaigrette over the ingredients in the bowl and toss to coat and combine everything. Stir in the black pepper and salt to taste.
- Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled. Makes about 4 cups.