Black rice is rich in anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant (the same one responsible for the purple colour of blueberries and aubergines) which has been linked to improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of cancer and dementia. It has a wonderful earthy, nutty flavour. Substitute brown basmati rice if you prefer.
Note: there’s a risk of food poisoning if cooked rice is left in a warm environment. After cooking the rice, cool it quickly by running it under cold water. Prepare the salad and eat straightaway or cover and keep in the fridge, removing 30 minutes before serving to allow it to come to room temperature so the flavours develop.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Half a butternut squash, cut into chunks and roasted
1 tin chickpeas, drained
Handful pistachios, chopped
2 large handfuls of green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon freshly torn basil
1 dessertspoon freshly chopped coriander
1 dessertspoon freshly chopped parsley, flat-leaved or curly
4 spring onions, very finely chopped
Juice of a lime
A glug of olive, avocado or other good vegetable oil, plus extra for the butternut squash
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
Drizzle the butternut squash with olive oil, toss and roast in a baking tray for 30 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, cook the rice in a large pan of water until it is soft, but not mushy – it should take about 35 minutes. Drain and wash through with lots of running cold water to cool it down quickly.
In a serving bowl, mix the rice, butternut squash, chickpeas, pistachios, herbs and spring onions.
Squeeze over the lime juice, drizzle over the oil, season with black pepper and mix to combine the flavours.