This is not your everyday salad. This salad is full-on fancy – which is exactly what we’re after when entertaining. A spinach salad with oil and vinegar is always nice, but sometimes we want a salad with style — and this saffron and orange blossom situation delivers.
When the occasion calls for a dish that’s sexy and sophisticated — but you’d still like to keep things ‘planty’, this saffron rice and orange blossom salad from PLANTLAB is everything.
PLANTLAB is a wellness culinary school that offers IRL courses in LA and even a few online. Their team has mastered the art of plant-based cooking, teaching students how to make everything from trendy adaptogenic beverages to elevated bites for entertaining using only whole, plant-based ingredients. Discover how they define a plant-based diet here, then find any excuse you can to make this involved but so worth it salad recipe below…
Saffron Orange Blossom Salad
for the saffron rice:
2 tsp olive oil
¼ cup onions, small dice
¼ tsp cumin
⅛ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp salt
½ cup basmati rice
¾ cup water
½ tsp saffron threads, crushed
for the dressing:
¼ cup coconut yogurt, unsweetened
¼ tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp water
½ tsp agave or maple
⅛ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp cumin
⅛ tsp turmeric
for the salad:
2 dates, pitted, and roughly chopped
1 cara cara orange, segmented or suprême, then cut into ½” pieces
¼ cup cauliflower, very thinly sliced or shaved on mandoline
¼ cup watermelon radish, very thinly sliced or shaved on mandoline
¼ cup cucumber, halved lengthwise, and sliced into ¼” half moons
⅛ cup almonds
for the greens mixture:
3 cups spring mix
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup parsley leaves
1 scallion, thinly sliced on bias
2-3 rose petals
Prepare all ingredients.
Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add onions, cumin, turmeric, and salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are slightly translucent, 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the basmati rice and add the pot with the onions, along with the saffron. Add the water and bring to a boil. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid, about 20 minutes. Remove rice from heat, allow to rest 10 minutes, and fluff the rice with a fork. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
While rice is cooking, heat a medium pan over medium heat. When pan is warm, add almonds and toast until fragrant and lightly browned, 1-3 minutes. Allow almonds to cool, then roughly chop.
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Toss all greens mixture ingredients together to combine. Divide greens between serving bowls. Place saffron rice on top of greens. Top rice with dates, cara cara orange, cauliflower, watermelon radish, cucumber, and almonds. Drizzle with orange blossom dressing. Garnish with rose petals.