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Black Rice and Arugula Salad with Pesto

Black Rice and Arugula Salad with Pesto

This grain is called emperor’s rice or forbidden rice because during the days of the Ming dynasties forbidden rice was reserved exclusively for the emperors because of its high nutritional value and that it would ensure their longevity and health. Today synonymous with good health and long life.

Optional-- To cut down the cooking time,  soak 1 cup rice in 3 cups water overnight.

Serves 6


2 cups black heirloom rice, about 8 ounces
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 packed cups of arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups colored cherry tomatoes, halved
1 big handful of whole arugula leaves


Place the rice, 2 ½ cups water and 2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender but still a bit crunchy, 30 minutes. Drain if any liquid is left at the bottom of the pan. Cool.

Warm a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring and shaking the pan constantly, until the pine nuts are light golden, 2 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately.

In the meantime, place the garlic, arugula and pecorino in a blender or food processor and process until you have a rough paste. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and process until the pesto is smooth.

In a large bowl, toss together the black rice and arugula pesto and stir together. Add the pine nuts, tomatoes and whole arugula leaves and gently stir together just until mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.