Rice and Asparagus Salad

Rice and Asparagus Salad
4 to 6 servings

4 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme -chopped (or 1/2 tbsp dried)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary -leaves only (or 1/2 tbsp dried)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup basmati rice -cooked (Arborio or Jasmine is good too)
1/2 cup chopped asparagus -blanched, tender ends only
2 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon -cooked and diced
1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese -optional
1/3 cup chopped green onions
Black pepper to taste

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a sealed container. Let stand for 2 or 3 hours shaking often to infuse flavor. Strain liquid discarding the garlic and herbs.
In a medium bowl, toss the rice, asparagus, bacon, onions, tomatoes and blue cheese if desired along with the dressing. Season to taste with the black pepper.
Serve at room temperature.


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