Peach and Cashew Biryani Salad ~ barbecues can be pretty staid affairs what with the same old burgers, potato salads, and slaws, so here’s a thought ~ next time you’re asked to bring something, ditch Aunt Rose’s macaroni salad and make this knock-out rice pilaf salad instead.
I don’t read many food magazines these days because I just don’t have the extra time, but I always buy one or two to help me pass the time when I fly. I usually end up annoying anybody sitting near me because I’m madly ripping out pages for the duration of the flight.
One of the torn pages from my last flight inspired this stunning biryani salad ~ it’s adapted from a recipe in this month’s Food & Wine. It’s so up my alley I just had to make it and share with you. I adore biryani, it’s my standing order at any of the (many!) Indian restaurants we get take out from. It’s a beautiful, vibrant dish that’s also incredibly satisfying, even when it’s vegetarian, like this one.
The vegetable biryani I usually get from our local restaurants aren’t nearly as colorful or chocked full as this one, but the basics are there…fluffy basmatic rice, aromatic saffron, cashews, spices, garden veggies. This version has quite a few bonus ingredients like plenty of dried fruit, and a flourish of very finely sliced fried onions. Instead of being a hot main course, this one is more of a room temperature ‘salad’. It’s a fabulous recipe if you’ve got leftover rice, because you can focus your attention on all the pretty extras.
If you bring this stunning salad to a potluck or church supper you’re bound to get oohs and aahhhs, and so the few extra steps in this recipe won’t be in vain. It’s a wonderful dish for a gathering because you don’t have to worry about keeping it piping hot or cold.
Also try ~
~ recipe adapted from Food & Wine
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 tso cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 clove powder
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads
- 1/2 red onion, cut into half inch slices
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 small eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup raw cashews
- olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil
- 1 cup cooked green lentils
- 5 cups cooked basmati rice
- 1 cup chopped dried fruits (I used apricots, peaches, plums, and raisins)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced paper thin
- vegetable or coconut oil for frying
- Preheat oven to 425F (or heat a charcoal grill)
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together, taste to adjust any of them, and set aside.
- Crush the saffron threads between your fingers into a small bowl and pour 1/4 cup boiling water over them. Stir and set aside.
- Toss the onion, broccoli, and zucchini and eggplant with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet if you are using the oven, or a grill pan if you are grilling, and roast for about 5-15 minutes, or until charred and just tender. Cool slightly and then cut the veggies into bite sized pieces.
- While the veggies are roasting make the fried onions. Put a couple of inches of vegetable or coconut oil in a sauce pan and heat until quite hot, but not smoking, about 350F. Separate the onion rings from each other and fry, in batches, until golden and crispy, keeping them moving in the oil so they don't burn. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a small skillet with vegetable or coconut oil and toast the cashews, stirring almost constantly, until they are golden, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Assemble the salad ~ put the rice in a large bowl and drizzle the saffron water over it (you just want to color some of the grains.) Add the lentils, grilled veggies, cashews, dried fruits, cilantro, and scallions. Toss with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve topped with the fried onions.
Make it your own ~
- Make it with chicken ~ add some shredded or cubed cooked chicken for a main course salad.
don’t forget to pin this peach and cashew biryani salad
I love to bring new and exciting dishes to the table, especially when I can introduce new flavors and combinations to friends and family. If you’re called upon to bring something to a gathering, why not try something a little off the beaten path? My Spicy Thai Spaghetti Salad is a great example of a dish that takes a beloved classic and tweaks it, and my Fried Cabbage and Bacon Slaw is always the first to go at any party. This Chopped Turkish Salad also sounds delicious, and no one will expect this Corn and Blueberry Salad!