Jill Fergus

I began cooking as a child and feeding family and friends has always been my passion. My kitchen is a busy one. I love to experiment and embrace the kitchen successes along with the accidents. I love to cook and collaborate with friends. I am seasonally driven (I love the farmer's market!), avoid processed foods and focus on whole and organic (mostly plant-based, but not exclusively) choices. In my home, my family has a variety of eating preferences from plant-based, gluten free, refined sugar free to full on omnivore. My goal is to create dishes to please all, either as is or with minor adjustments to the recipe. Where did "Feed the Swimmers" come from? When my kids began swimming competitively and growing into young adults, I realized, even more, how important nutrition is to performance, growth and overall health and emotional well being. Everyone (including the coach during travel meets) would ask "what are you feeding the swimmers?" This has become my mantra whenever I'm in my kitchen cooking for family and the friends I love.



Black Japonica Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables and a (Preserved) Lemon Vinaigrette

Black Japonica Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables and a (Preserved) Lemon Vinaigrette

I love combining grains and vegetables to create fun and exciting salads and dishes and rice is a go-to for me. I’m especially a fan of black rice for its amped up nutritional qualities. This salad hits all the spots! The rice is chewy, the vegetables are in season and so flavorful with a mix of textures. You may use the same combination I use here or change it up based on your favorites and availability. When I roast an assortment of vegetables, I organize them by “zones” so if their cooking times vary, it’s simple to remove each from the sheet pan when it hits the desired level of doneness. Better yet, this salad is best served room temperature so you won’t run into any timing issues!

I use a rice cooker to prepare my rice. I’ve had the same one for years. But, cooking great rice can just as easily be accomplished stove top with the instructions and cooking proportions found right on the package. I’m excited to announce that I’ve partnered with The Feedfeed and USA Rice and will be bringing you several creative ways to bring rice dishes to the table!  If you are like me, you like to know where your food comes from and you may be surprised to know just how much rice is grown here in the U.S! When buying rice, simply turn over the package and check for the USA Rice logo on the back or see where it was grown, it is that simple, promise!  September is national rice month here in the U.S and this recipe is the perfect way to end the month long celebration.

Japonica Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Halloumi and a Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette



-I like to “batch cook” when roasting vegetables so I have them on hand for meal prep during the week. For this salad, I use approximately I cup of each cooked veggie and save the balance for the next days whim!

-If there’s any vegetable you don’t care for, simply omit it and substitute in what you prefer.

-If you don’t have Halloumi, feta makes a great substitute.

-If you don’t have preserved lemon paste, substitute with fresh lemon juice to which you may add some minced preserved lemon rind. If you don’t have any preserved lemon, simply go with fresh lemon juice and add an extra pinch of sea salt.

-Leftovers should be stores in an airtight container and are wonderful the next day with a little extra dressing.


Serves 4

1 cup black Japonica rice

1 cup roasted zucchini, seeded, cut lengthwise into four strips, then crosswise in 1” increments

1 cup 1/2” cubed honey nut squash, or similar

1 sweet red pepper, seeds removed and sliced

1 cup cauliflower rosettes

4 Oz Halloumi, pan seared until golden on each side

1/4 cup +1/4 cup olive oil

Handful of fat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Flaky sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees

1- Prepare rice per package or rice cooker instructions. I like add a generous pinch of salt and a tsp of olive oil to the cooking water.

2- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Separately, toss each vegetable in olive oil and arrange on baking sheet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook in 20 increments, removing each vegetable as it’s cooked to your liking.

3- Whisk remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil with 2 tsp preserved lemon paste (or 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice), chopped parsley, flaky sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Adjust acid to suit your taste.

4- When all ingredients have come to room temp or are still slightly warm, toss together and add Vinaigrette. Serve and enjoy!

This blog post has been sponsored by USA Rice & TheFeedfeed. - all opinions are my own.

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