amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Bright turmeric dressing and a spring black rice salad

POSTED ON March 23, 2014

suuny dressing and salad

suuny dressing and salad

The recent appearance of fresh fava beans at the health food store in my neighborhood was a welcome sight. Although they’re not yet grown locally, they were a sure sign of the lovely spring vegetables to come. Fava beans are a great way to make any simple salad, sautéed greens or grain dish special and although they do require a bit of effort to shell, cook and peel, you don’t need many to make an impression. Radishes also add to the spring feel and this dish is especially colorful if you can find watermelon radishes. I’ve been making this salad for clients lately, changing the vegetables and dressing as we move out of winter and into longer, warmer days.

fava beans

fava beans

This turmeric dressing is so bright, zesty and delicious that I find it hard not to drizzle it over everything. The idea came from a long phone conversation with my mother in which we inevitably ended up talking about foods we’ve been making or planning to make. She’d fallen in love with a turmeric salad dressing eaten in a pop up café in Byron Bay, Australia (that has since closed) and the idea stuck in my head. Many months later I finally tried adding turmeric to a few different types of dressing and this one is by far my favorite. Adding carrot and mirin helps tame turmeric’s astringent bite, but I found it needed more and added a dab of honey—you may not need it if you use less turmeric. Cashew butter helps meld the flavors and create a perfectly creamy dressing that looks like liquid sunshine.

Though it can be a challenge to find ways to incorporate this unusual tasting root into your diet, turmeric’s ant-inflammatory properties are phenomenal! Armed with this dressing you can turn any simple grain bowl into an exceptionally nutritious meal—make that grain black rice and you’ll double the anti-inflammatory content, as well as benefit from the abundant antioxidants that come from the plant pigment in black rice.

turmeric dressing

turmeric dressing

Photos by Stephen Johnson. You can see more of his beautiful photos here.

black rice + radishes, fava, peas etc

black rice + radishes, fava, peas etc

Turmeric dressing

This list of ingredients is long, but once you have it all in the blender it’s ready in one minute and will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge. Although I’m sure this can be made with dried turmeric, it won’t have the same bright flavor. I would start with ½ teaspoon dried turmeric and increase to taste.

Makes about 2 cups


2 inch piece peeled and chopped fresh turmeric

1 teaspoon chopped peeled ginger

2 tablespoons cashew butter

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped (1 ½ cups)

½ clove garlic

1 teaspoon unpasteurized white miso

2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons water, plus more to thin out

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon mirin

1 teaspoon tamari

¼ teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon raw honey, optional

Place all ingredients in an upright blender and blend until smooth. Add more water to get desired consistency. Store in a jar in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Forbidden black rice

This will make more than double the rice you’ll need for the salad but it keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Makes about 3 ½ cups


1 cup forbidden black rice, soaked in 3 cups filtered water overnight

1 ¾ cup filtered water

Pinch sea salt

Drain and rinse rice and place in a small pot. Add filtered water and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside covered for 10 minutes before removing lid and cooling.



Mix and match any vegetables you have on hand for this salad.

Serves 2 to 4


½ cup shelled fava beans

2 small watermelon radishes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 red radishes, sliced

1 medium carrots, diagonally sliced

½ cup shelled peas

1 ½ cups cooked forbidden black rice

Handful chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus more to garnish

Extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed flax oil to drizzle

Sea salt to taste

Steam fava beans for 2 minutes or until tender, remove from steamer and slip out of their skins. Place in a salad bowl and set aside. Steam watermelon radishes 2 minutes or until tender, remove from steamer and spread over a plate to cool. Steam remaining vegetables separately, for 1 to 3 minutes or until tender. Spread them out to cool and then add to the salad bowl with fava beans. Add cooked black rice, parsley and chives. Drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and toss to combine. Serve warm or room temperature.

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  • I havnt been able to find fresh fava beans yet 🙁 I love how healthy, filling and delicious this looks! OXOX!

  • Oh my goodness, you always make the best grain salads. This is stunning to look at and I’m sure the flavors match! Ironically, I’ve also recently had a conversation with my mom that has given me some inspiration. 😉

  • tara says:

    It is grey and miserable here today, and the colour on the dressing has me absolutely swooning.

  • Hannah says:

    This looks lovely, the yellow dressing and pink radishes can’t help but put a smile on my face! Do you use a raw or roasted cashew butter?

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Thank you Hannah! I use raw cashew butter becasue the flavor is very mild, if you have roasted cashew butter I’m sure it’ll be delicious…just more of a pronounced cashew flavor. Let me know how it goes!

  • Stella says:

    I made this and it’s tastes so good and delicious 🙂 I had no white miso so used the brown one instead, and I don’t know if the taste differs between them much….?!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂 🙂
    x Stella

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Hi Stella,

      I am so glad you liked the dressing. WHite miso has a lighter sweeter flavor than the darker misos but still fine to use.
      Thanks for writing!


  • Elissa says:

    I made this and it was yummy even with a couple of changes based on what we had in the pantry – raw cashews rather than cashew butter, and mountain blend rice. Great dressing!

  • Sigi says:

    Hi Amy
    the dressing tastes yummy, another way to add more turmeric to our daily diet.
    Looks like you forgot to add black pepper though…

    cheers from down under

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