Spring is in the air, and for many of you athletes out there, your training is really starting to kick into high gear. But while you may be spending more hours in the saddle and in the pool, chances are the rest of your life hasn’t slowed down—meaning you have less and less time to cook the healthy, nutritious meals you need to keep you going.

The star of this make-ahead salad is black rice, also known as forbidden rice. This deep purplish rice is found most often in Thai, Chinese and Indonesian cooking. Black rice has an abundance of vitamins, including zinc, copper, carotene and iron. Most notable to athletes is the rice’s 18 amino acids and high anthocyanin content (the same antioxidants found in other dark foods like blueberries). Some forms of the rice are glutinous, so be cautious of the brand you are buying if you have a gluten intolerance (I like the Lotus Foods brand for this reason). Butterbeans, also known as lima beans, are a high-quality source of protein and fiber.

I like to make a large batch of this salad on Mondays to eat for lunch throughout the week for a low sugar, high protein and fulfilling meal that keeps me energized for those two-a-days that become more common the warmer the weather becomes.

Ingredients:

 Salad ingredients:

2 cups black rice

1 can butterbeans, drained and rinsed

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup diced green onions

½ fresh basil, washed and cut into strips

¼ cup walnuts

 

Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pour chicken/vegetable stock and black rice in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. While rice is cooking, mix together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. When rice is done cooking, remove from heat and mix in basil, onions, butterbeans and walnuts. Add dressing to the salad and mix well. This salad will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator.