Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pink Berry Rice Picnic Salad

One of the foods I've most missed was the "pink salad" my family traditionally makes for summer potlucks and picnics. So when my grandmother figured out how to make a version that was "safe" for everyone in the family's allergies and food intolerances, I had to make my own version too. Hers had crushed canned pineapple instead of the mandarins, and, since she had previously crushed frozen strawberries, she drained the pineapple and strawberry juice to thicken instead of using apple juice.

You could probably use any type of fruit and fruit juice, and the quantities don't have to be exact. If you use granulated sugar instead of honey, you may need to increase the amounts of both sugar and liquid, or if you have less than a half-cup of liquid, you may want to reduce the starch accordingly.

Approximate amounts:

1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons starch (I used Kuzu starch this time; tapioca flour or arrowroot powder should work just as well)
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sliced fresh mandarin oranges (this was about 4 tiny oranges, with the segments separated and cut in half)
1 to 2 cups cooked rice (I used 2 cups of cooked brown rice for my version)

Later, you'll need:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon honey
Vanilla to taste, if desired.

Mix the fruit juice and honey in a small saucepan, stir in the starch, and heat slowly, stirring with a whisk to keep it from becoming lumpy, until thickened. Add the sliced fruit and mash with a potato masher or use an immersion blender until the fruit is mashed up to your taste.

Stir in the cooked rice and chill the fruit and rice mixture until it begins to set and is cool enough not to melt your whipped cream. :)

Whip the cream with the honey and vanilla. When the rice and fruit mixture is cool, gently fold in the whipped cream.

You can eat this right away, but the flavors will blend and the rice will soften nicely if you leave it in the refrigerator for a while before serving.

Serve chilled.

My kids loved this, and it's so much healthier than the version we used to make with flavored gelatin and artificial whipped topping. :) If you can have cottage cheese, it could probably be substituted for the rice, but we haven't found an excitotoxin-free version of cottage cheese yet.