This boat-friendly recipe perfectly illustrates how I think about substitutions. On one hand, I almost hate to call it a “recipe” — there are so many options for each of the ingredients. But I hope it’s a good way for cooks who might be a little intimidated by making changes to recipes to see the variety of things you can do with a basic recipe, depending on what you happen to have available. And there are plenty of variations even if you don’t have any fresh foods!
This is also a great make-ahead recipe for a passage or a potluck— just make three or four times as much. Be sure to put it in a bowl with a really tight-sealing lid (see my favorite big storage/serving bowl)—it makes a big mess if the lid pops off!
Vegetable Salad a la Que Tal
- 1 cup cooked brown rice (OR any other type of cooked rice, pasta, cous cous, diced potatoes or barley, crumbled ramen noodles, cooked or uncooked, without flavor packet)
- 1 can green beans, drained (OR any other canned beans or peas, spinach–fresh or frozen, or drained, canned or marinated artichoke hearts)
- 1/2 can corn, drained
- 1/2 can kidney beans, drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 medium tomato, diced (OR Cherry or grape tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes, diced peppers (sweet or hot depending on your taste), mushrooms (fresh are great, canned OK), black olives, diced avocado)
- 10 grapes, halved and seeded (OR bite-sized pieces of fresh oranges, mangoes, papaya, apples, pineapple, strawberries, or canned peaches, mandarin oranges, or pineapple)
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (OR cashews, walnuts, pecans; raw chopped carrot, jicama, broccoli or cauliflower)
- 4 dried apricots, quartered (OR Almost any other dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, dates, or bananas)
- 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash (OR Curry, cinnamon (use a little more sugar), chili powder/cumin mix, garlic, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, tarragon – all to taste as strengths of spices can vary greatly)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (OR Wine vinegar, cider vinegar, white vinegar, lemon or lime juice (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste)
- Combine rice, vegetables, fruits and nuts in bowl. Sprinkle seasonings over the top, then drizzle with the oil and mix gently. Add the vinegar and again mix gently.
- Serve immediately or place in refrigerator or other cool place until ready to serve. It will last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator, so it’s good to make ahead.