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Brown Rice Salad with Asian dressing

By Cook's Hideout

I?m a big fan of grocery shopping. I get so excited and giddy going to a well stocked grocery, be it a road-side farmers market or a high-end grocery chain. So when I heard about the new Whole Foods that opened in Bergen Mall in NJ, I absolutely had to go there. My colleague was singing praises about their freshly made bread and muffins and also about their food bars with salads, pastas and also Indian dishes.
I dragged my husband this past weekend and he was quite impressed with the size of the store and also the variety of food that we found there. I especially like their bulk bin section, I can take a bag of everything they have in bulk bins, if it is not for the limited storage that I have at home (I shouldn?t say that, I have pretty big pantry, but it?s so packed that I don?t have place for anything new. I need to work on re-organizing and cleaning up before summer ends).

Well anyway we ended up buying new stuff like raspberry sugar, baked tofu (in oriental & Italian flavors), tofutti (I can never find this in my regular grocery store) and some Israeli couscous from the bulk bin. We also bought dinner from the food bar: 3 types of salad-Brown rice salad with edamame, Quinoa salad with cranberries & Kamut salad; some Indian dishes-naan, samosa, palak paneer, aloo-chole etc. It is a little pricey ($7.99 per pound), but everything is freshly made and tasted better than OK (I said OK, ?cos some of the dishes were cold and dried out; they tasted pretty good but not up to the mark of Whole Foods).
I wanted to try the brown rice salad at home and it turned out better than its inspiration dish (I think). Quick & easy to make with practically no cooking required; healthy, filled with double dose of soy protein, whats not to like about this dish?

Brown Rice ? 1 cup
Carrot ? 2 medium, grated
Edamame, shelled ? ¾ cup (thawed if frozen)
Red Pepper ? 1 small, finely diced
Green onions ? 4, both greens and whites chopped
Baked Tofu ? 1 pkg, diced into ½? cubes (I used store-bought baked Oriental style tofu; if you have time marinate and bake your own tofu)

For Dressing:
Ginger - 1tbsp, finely grated (I use my handy-dandy zester)
Garlic - 1 clove, finely minced
Rice Vinegar ? 2tbsp
Soy sauce ? 1tbsp
Honey ? 1tbsp
Sriracha (or any other hot sauce) ? 1 tsp (or more to taste)
Toasted Sesame oil ? 1tsp
Canola oil ? 1 tbsp (optional)
Salt & pepper ? to taste

Cook brown rice with 2 cups of water. Let cool completely.
In the mean time make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.
When rice is cool enough, add all the veggies, tofu and dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Let it sit for at least 30 minutes for all the flavors to mingle, but it tasted pretty good right away. Leftovers tasted much better the next day for lunch. This is my entry to No Croutons required: Grains event being hosted by Lisa @ Food & Spice.

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