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Musical pairing – Downtime by Vonda Shepard

Until about three months ago, I’d never heard of black rice, or ‘forbidden’ rice. But during one of our stays on Vashon, Chef Danny made a pot of black rice and served it with a simple pork loin roast and some roasted vegetables; not only was the rice a hit but it looked beautiful on the plate too. I finally found a source in my area, tossed it in my rice cooker and 30 minutes later, voila – perfectly cooked black rice.

In ancient China black rice was considered the finest grain and therefore, only served to the Emperor – hence the name ‘forbidden’ as it was off-limits to the public.

I’ve been playing around with different ways I can use this heirloom grain and created my spin on the usually heavy-on-the-mayonnaise Waldorf salad – of which I rarely ate because I am not a fan of mayonnaise. The rice has great nutritional value and I’ve lightened it up a bit by losing the mayo and adding a tangy honey-mustard vinaigrette. I’ve also kept the familiar chunks of apple, celery and walnuts, tossed in a handful of dried cherries, along with the black rice and finally added a bit of Smoked Turkey.  I have to say, this one is a keeper.

Obviously, you can omit the turkey and keep this vegetarian – either way, the salad is also gluten-free ~

And one more note – these make great little wraps tucked inside Bibb lettuce!


  1. I bet cubed smoked tofu would also sub well for the turkey. This looks so delicious!

  2. This looks so good… such a wonderful gluten-free dish!

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