An easy-to-make rice salad with ingredients you can find anywhere – that’s what I am about to present in this article. The salad is refreshing, a bit exotic with mild seasoning and, therefore, ideal for entertaining guests. What are exotic ingredients good for if you can’t get a hold of them or nobody wants to eat them in the end? With this rice salad you are playing it safe, and I’ll also show you some variations.
This rice salad is a fantastic meal, and individual variations or substitutions are easy.
- Boiling the rice for the rice salad
- Veggies for the rice salad
- Decoration: Rice salad with tangerine or orange filets, roasted almonds, goji berries, raisins, dates, mint or parsley
- Rice salad dressing
- Cooking videos
- Rice Salad recipes you can find on other websites:
- Recipe Rice Salad
Boiling the rice for the rice salad
I always boil the rice for the rice salad with plenty of salted water and then drain the cooked rice in a sieve. When you boil rice with a lot of water, it will be less sticky because the starch swells out more. That’s how the rice gets the right consistency for the salad and won’t lump. I interrupt the cooking process, rinse the rice with cold water and let it drain in the sieve. I prefer using basmati rice for this dish. It has a great scent and adds a special aroma to the salad. After draining, put the rice in a bowl that is large enough for all the ingredients.
Veggies for the rice salad
The best ingredients are the ones that are easy to get – a rule of thumb that makes cooking easier for myself and for the readers of my blog. As the base for the rice salad I am using zucchini and eggplant. Since we also want the salad to look nice on the plate, it is crucial to cut the vegetables neatly. Cubes of about ¼ inch are perfect for my rice salad. First slice the zucchini and eggplant in long strips that are about ¼ inch wide and then cut those into cubes. The veggies should be firm to the bite and aromatic when you add them to the salad. That’s why we need to sear them in oil separately and after each other, because their cooking times are different: the eggplant needs a bit more oil and may also be sautéed until it’s a bit softer – raw eggplant is not really digestible, after all. Add the roasted veggies directly to the rice in the bowl.
Decoration: Rice salad with tangerine or orange filets, roasted almonds, goji berries, raisins, dates, mint or parsley
It’s easy to create anything from a very boring to a very exciting rice salad. Skinned tangerines or orange filets will add a balanced acidity to the salad, in addition to the dressing. I like adding roasted almonds because their crunchiness creates tension and makes the salad more interesting. It’s not hard anymore to find goji berries in grocery stores these days and they are ideal if raisins are problematic (which they tend to be: “Yuck, I can’t stand raisins” – sounds familiar?). Mint adds an oriental element to the salad, but you might also want to try parsley, fresh thyme or even coriander. Coriander can be dangerous for guests though: about 50% just don’t like it so I normally don’t chance it. One more thing about the mint: in case you can’t find fresh mint, try a bit of peppermint tea. Cut the teabag open and season the rice salad with the powder. This is an alternative that pretty much tastes the same, but fresh mint will always look nicer than the powder. Speaking of looks – all decoration should add to the flavor as well as to the appearance of the dish. It is the interesting colors of the different ingredients that will make your rice salad memorable. You should actually start with preparing the decoration so everything will be ready and you won’t get stressed out towards the end. Put all decorative elements aside in little bowls so certain things can even be added at the table – this can be very helpful when you have guests who are picky eaters. Below you can find a video of how to prepare orange filets.
Rice salad dressing
You can prepare the dressing for the rice salad with lemon juice, lime juice or white wine vinegar – I’m using the latter only in emergencies though. I believe lemon and lime taste better and more natural. I always start with the acidic ingredient, that’s how I learned it when I trained to be a cook. I’m normally not so particular about these things but ingredients like lemon juice will dissolve salt and sugar and, therefore, create the perfect base for the dressing. Garlic or ginger may be added but are not really necessary here. If you like to add garlic or ginger, please do it carefully: ginger is best added in powder form because the dressing won’t be heated and little chunks of ginger wouldn’t be so great in the rice salad. I like it basic here: lime juice, salt, pepper, a little bit of oil, and chili. Don’t let the TV cooks tempt you to add too much chili to the dressing: chili can be terribly hot and using it with caution will definitely increase the pleasure while eating it. Combine all the ingredients of the dressing in this order, stir them and then add them to the rice and veggies. This way the rice salad gets a special taste and the aromas can develop for a few minutes. By the way: pepper and chili serve different “hot points”, that’s why I’m using both.
Cooking video for the Rice Salad recipe:
Cooking video: preparing orange filets
First video peel the oranges
Second video fillet the oranges
Variations or How to make 20 different types of rice salad
Rice salad with mayonnaise
This rice salad is made without mayonnaise because I prefer it to be refreshing – so mayonnaise is out of the question. But who knows, maybe I will come up with a good recipe myself or find one. However, until further notice: rice salad without mayonnaise.
Vegetarian rice salad
The rice salad presented here is definitely vegetarian and vegan. So if you are making it for guests, you are definitely on the safe side and can still try variations.
Rice salad with chicken
Roasted chicken, chicken breast, turkey breast or roasted duck all taste amazing with this rice salad. Just make the salad, then prepare the meat, cut it in nice slices and arrange it on the salad.
Rice salad with tuna
The easiest way – tuna from the can – is a bit inappropriate for entertaining guests. Fresh tuna can be cut in slices, seared and served with the salad while still raw inside. Even sashimi works great – here you can even try salmon or butter fish as alternative or as highlight. Grilled prawns or sautéed shrimps are also a perfect match. For the seafood variation, I would also add a tiny bit of fish sauce (Thai: nam pla) to the dressing – that will make everything come full circle.
Rice salad with curry
When talking about spices or, to be exact, spice mixes, curry is a subtle addition. Since there are so many different curry mixes, this certainly won’t get boring. My only advice: use with caution! Too much curry will make the salad only spicy and not enjoyable. In contrast, just a hint of curry is fantastic and exciting. Hint: Add a tiny bit of sugar to the mix, this will make it more harmonic.
Rice salad with mixed greens
Different leafy greens such as arugula or endive or Asian mixes can be added to the rice salad just before serving. They give the salad a fuller volume, look good and even add some more vitamins. If you plan on adding mixed greens, prepare more dressing.
Rice Salad recipes you can find on other websites:
Cathrin shows a mediterranean version of rice salad which I really like.
derultimativekochblog shows a rice salad with black rice, that is served really colorful in the end.
A great recipe for rice salad with brown rice in combination with sweet potatoes, the recipe is written in English.