(I originally called this recipe “Arborio and Bean Fruit Salad,” but that sounded boring. So I did some word-melding, and tried “Garbanzarborio Fruit Salad,” but that sounded dangerous, and silly.)
Arborianzo Fruit Salad
I’m going vegan for a few weeks, and one of the things I need when I’m on any diet is the ability to reach into the cupboard or the fridge and quickly come away with an on-program meal. This usually requires some culinary hedge-wizardry, especially early on, because I don’t have the patience to live out of recipe books and advance planning for long.
My goal with this recipe was to arrive at a delicious fruit salad that had a source of protein, and to do so without chopping or cooking anything. I wanted the entire prep process to be “dump containers into Tupperware and stir.”
I missed that last mark, because I could tell I had too much fruit juice, and I didn’t want to lose it. Here’s the recipe, in “hedge wizard” format, which means you’ll need to come up with the ratios and specifics on your own:
- Canned fruit in “natural juices” rather than syrup of any kind. We’re avoiding added sugar, and it’ll screw things up later anyway. I used one can each of mandarin oranges, sliced pears, and chopped pineapple.
- Canned beans. I suspect garbanzo beans will be best. They’re what I used. One can.
- Fennel seed.
- Cilantro. Fresh is always always always best, but I used dried, from a jar.
- Arborio rice, dry. Probably about a cup. See below.
- Empty the canned fruits into a mixing bowl.
- Drain and rinse the canned beans. Dump those into the mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle fennel and cilantro into the mixing bowl. Both are pretty powerful, but over-doing the fennel is a bigger mistake than over-doing the cilantro.
- Strain the mixing bowl into a measuring cup.
- Put half as much arborio rice into a pot as you have strained fruit juices. Put the juices in, too.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then simmer on low, covered, for 18 minutes.
- Dump the pot into the mixing bowl. Stir.
All the nutrition from those cans (less the bean-water, which would be nasty here) ended up in final product. The juice from the cooked, canned fruit got cooked again, and absorbed by the rice, which is practically a dessert unto itself (but you know this, because when you took the lid off that pot you sampled some, and said “hey… that gives me an idea.”) The garbanzo beans have a mild enough flavor that what you’ll really taste in the fruit salad is the fruit, and the aromatic battle between the fennel, the cilantro, and the citrus. It’s a balancing act, because I think that if any of them actually win, you lose. They should fight in the bowl, and in your mouth, and your brain should argue about what it is tasting.
I don’t have specific amounts because I’ve done this exactly one (1) times, and the fennel seems a bit heavy. Also, I’m going to break the “all from cans” rule and chop cilantro next time. Fresh cilantro can hold its own against bottled fennel seeds. If I want to bring the citrus more fully into the fray I’ll need to actually zest an orange or a lime into this mess, and since I’m in a hurry that would definitely be going too far.