Strawberry Rice Salad with Chicken & Almonds

By Betty Thompson Morton, Kernersville, NC
Honorable Mention

3 cups North Carolina Strawberry halves
1 cup North Carolina strawberry slices
1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or your favorite vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. seasoning blend (Spice Delight) or seasoned salt 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. local North Carolina honey
1 bag salad spring mix (3 cups packed leaves), roughly chopped
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Slice and halve North Carolina strawberries. Prepare rice following package directions. When rice is done, fluff with a fork and cool.
While rice is cooling, in a large bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, and seasoning blend. Whisk in olive oil in a thin steady stream until dressing thickens. Whisk in honey.

Add rice, salad mix, chicken, almonds, and halved strawberries to dressing bowl, tossing to combineafter adding each ingredient
. Garnish with strawberry slices. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 6-8 servings.

Variations:
• Cooked bulgur, quinoa, red or black rice, or whole-wheat couscous can be substituted for the cooked brown rice if desired.
• If a meatless meal is desired, cooked turkey or chicken can be left out.
• Toast almonds for extra flavor, if desired.
• For a quick salad, substitute Honey Mustard Dressing for the made-from-scratch dressing.
Continue with recipe as directed above.