Rice Salads for 4th of July Picnic

Salads are always a popular menu item during the warm weather months of summer. Easy to prepare and take along during outdoor activities, they fit in well with the season's busy life style, especially when served with an assortment of breads and a light dessert.

Rice salads are a good suggestion for bills of fare this Fourth of July. Take them along for a day at the beach or park. Or they can stand in for summer favorites like potato salad with barbecued meats, which some guests on your list may shy away from. Rice salad is a good source of fiber, even better when brown rice is used. The vegetables, seafood and fruit contribute to their nutritional appeal.

Reduce Fat and Calories

You can reduce the fat and calories in these or any of your favorite salad recipes by substituting reduced calorie salad dressing for the prepared dressing in the ingredient list. Or try exchanging at least half the required mayonnaise with plain yogurt. By experimenting with the amount of oil used--omit one tablespoon at a time--you'll shave 100 calories per tablespoon from the recipe total.

The nutritional content of these recipes is calculated for side-dish servings, usually about half a cup per person. To serve the salads as the main dish, simply double the serving proportions and increase the nutrient data accordingly.

Wild Rice and Seafood Salad combines succulent shrimp, sweet red pepper, juicy grapes and crunchy toasted almonds with the distinctive flavor of wild rice for an interplay of textures. The low-fat variety of Thousand Island dressing contributes fewer calories per tablespoon, compared to its fat-laden counterpart.

The once-mysterious appeal of Creole and Cajun foods is captured in Jambalaya Salad. Brown rice is cooked in chicken broth, tomato sauce and Cajun seasonings, then tossed with shrimp that is lightly marinated in seasoned tarragon vinegar and oil. Other suggestions include Curried Apricot-Rice Salad and Vegetable-Salmon Salad.

Whether the variety selected is short-, medium- or long-grain, white, brown or wild, rice is an important source of complex carbohydrates and protein. At about 80 calories per half-cup serving of long-grain white rice, it is low in sodium and contains only a trace of fat. But because of the milling process for this form, it is slightly inferior, nutritionally speaking, to brown rice, which has its outer hull removed but the bran layers still intact. The protein and calorie contents, as well as vitamin and mineral levels, are somewhat higher for brown rice.


1/2 cup reduced-calorie Thousand Island dressing

1 pound medium shrimp, cooked

1 cup cooked wild rice

1 cup white rice

1 small sweet red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup halved seedless grapes

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 dashes hot pepper sauce

6 lettuce leaves

6 lemon slices

Combine dressing, shrimp, rices, red pepper, grapes, almonds, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce in large bowl. Line individual serving dishes with lettuce. Fill with shrimp mixture. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 213 calories; 19 gm protein; 22 gm carbohydrate; 6 gm fat; 494 mg sodium; 381 mg potassium.


Protein 29% Riboflavin 07% Vitamin A 22% Niacin 18% Vitamin C 68% Calcium 09% Thiamine 08% Iron 15%


1 head iceberg lettuce

1 cup canned chicken broth

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup long-grain brown rice

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 (4 1/2-ounce) can shrimp, drained

6 lemon slices

Core, rinse and drain lettuce. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat broth, tomato sauce, onion and celery to boiling. Stir in rice, then cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes. Stir lightly to fluff, then chill.

Meanwhile, combine oil, vinegar, salt, basil, tarragon, onion powder, paprika, mustard, cayenne, garlic powder and pepper in jar with tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake well to blend. Pour over shrimp, cover and refrigerate.

Shred enough lettuce to measure 6 cups. Arrange in chilled salad bowl. Arrange rice and shrimp on top of lettuce. Drizzle dressing over. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes 6 servings.

PER SERVING: 215 calories; 9 gm protein; 18 gm carbohydrate; 13 gm fat; 714 mg sodium; 299 mg potassium.


Protein 13% Riboflavin 05% Vitamin A 08% Niacin 10% Vitamin C 18% Calcium 06% Thiamine 08% Iron 10%


1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno chile

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup diced peeled apple

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped peanuts

1/3 cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup sliced green onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

4 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, curry powder, cumin, chile and salt. Set aside.

Toss together apricots, apple, celery, peanuts, coconut, green onions and cilantro. Gently stir into hot rice. Add mayonnaise mixture and carefully toss. Chill before serving. Makes 12 servings.

PER SERVING: 183 calories; 3 gm protein; 26 gm carbohydrate; 8 gm fat; 425 mg sodium; 256 mg potassium.


Protein 05% Riboflavin 03% Vitamin A 38% Niacin 09% Vitamin C 08% Calcium 03% Thiamine 05% Iron 09%


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 cups cooked long-grain rice, cooled

1 cup shredded carrots

1 large tomato, chopped

1/2 cup sliced green onions

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

2 (7.75-ounce) cans pink salmon, drained

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard in small bowl. Refrigerate.

Combine rice, carrots, tomato, green onions and pimiento in large bowl. Fold in salmon. Pour dressing over, then toss and refrigerate, covered, 3 hours. Makes 12 (1/2-cup) servings.

PER SERVING: 173 calories; 9 gm protein; 12 gm carbohydrate; 10 gm fat; 389 mg sodium; 235 mg potassium.


Protein 14% Riboflavin 06% Vitamin A 26% Niacin 17% Vitamin C 11% Calcium 10% Thiamine 05% Iron 05%

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