When you think about rice for dinner, the first thing that comes to your mind may not be rice salad. But once you’ve tried this recipe, it will! Filled with citrus and dried fruit and nuts, it’s a treasure of aroma, taste and texture. We love the combination of fruit and nuts in savory dishes, not only for the yum factor, but also because the nuts add protein and extra vitamins and minerals. The oranges add extra Vitamin C to the recipe which can help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

You may not be familiar with the spice saffron, but we bet you’ve eaten it before! If you’ve had brightly colored yellow dishes, that are not made that way with turmeric, (another one of our favorite spices), you’ve eaten saffron! It’s common in middle-eastern and south Asian cuisines. Saffron is actually the stamen or center of the crocus flower, and used to be grown only in southern Europe. It contains a number of carotenoids which are believed to be largely responsible for a number of health benefits, including inhibiting skin tumors, improving arthritis and improving eye and vision health. Saffron also contains the compound “crocin”, which scientists believe to be the primary compound responsible for recent study results which found saffron promotes learning, memory retention, and recall capacity.

Today it’s cultivated in many countries: Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Iran and in the Jammu & Kashmir states of India. Remember, eating a wide variety of color in foods enhances the health benefits so enjoy this dish for its color and taste!

Citrus Saffron Rice

1 Cup Brown Basmati Rice

2 Large Pinches Saffron

1 Orange, Peeled and Sliced

½ Cup Roasted, Shelled and Chopped Pistachios

1 Cup Chopped Dried Apricots

¼ Cup Chopped Raisins

¼ Cup Chopped Mint

1 Orange, Zested and Juiced

2 TB Sherry Vinegar

3 TB Toasted Hazelnut or Walnut Oil

1 Tsp Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

12 Cups Spring Greens

Add the saffron to the rice and cook the rice as the package directs. Mix the orange, almonds, apricots, raisins and mint into the rice. Whisk together the orange, zest and oils together in a bowl. Toss with the rice mixture, taste for salt and pepper, and serve warm or room temperature over the spring greens.

*** Got leftovers? We have two words for you: Pita Pockets.

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