My friend, Leslie, introduced me to a salad similar to this chicken rice salad a few years ago. I thought it was a terrific one-dish meal with plenty of texture and flavor. It was so good, I asked her for the recipe, excited at the idea of making it for my family.
Then she told me that it used Uncle Ben’s instant rice.
Let’s just say that, having been raised in a Chinese household, Uncle Ben’s had never been a part of our meals. Ever.
Even though the chicken rice salad Leslie made was really good, I could not bring myself to buy a packet of Uncle Ben’s instant rice. I felt like it went against everything I had ever been taught! When my mother first tried instant rice, her response was “EEYAAAAA!” (Basically, that’s Chinese for “That’s awful!”) 😉
Anyway, that was a few years ago and since I was unwilling to buy Uncle Ben’s, the recipe sat by the wayside…until now! I still cannot bring myself to buy the boxes of instant rice, but I have happily figured out how to re-create the chicken rice salad recipe without it!
A lot of the flavor is from cooking the spices together with the rice in water…and that’s how you get that lovely yellow color, too! Mix the cooked rice with chopped up poached chicken and blanched sugar snap peas. Don’t forget to sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan and toasted pecans on top and all I can say is YUM!
My family loves this chicken rice salad. It is a simple yet satisfying meal, and did I mention that it makes great leftovers and is a perfect for school lunches??
If you have been an Uncle Ben’s instant rice fan, this recipe will turn you around! Simple to make, real ingredients, and full of flavor…you won’t look back! Try making my Chicken Rice Salad Medley and leave a comment below!
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped or shredded (I used poached)
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain and wild rice blend
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 4 oz. snap peas, strings removed and cut into 2-3 pieces, parboiled for 2-3 minutes only
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup Extra light olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Rinse rice in cold water until water runs clear. Add 2 1/2 cups cold water and let the rice soak for at least 2 hours.
Add seasonings to rice and stir to mix well before cooking. Fluff cooked rice and set aside to cool completely.
Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together well. Set aside.
Mix together cooled rice, chicken, and snap peas.
Add dressing and mix well.
Chill salad in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
Top with chopped pecans and grated Parmesan.
In Your Kitchen:Feel free to substitute the sugar snap peas with your favorite vegetables. Broccoli, peppers, artichokes, spinach are some alternatives that would work well! For even more flavor, cook the rice using chicken broth instead of water.