Healthy and Oriental: Rice Salad with Mint, served with Almonds, Dates and Vegetables
Thomas Sixt is a chef, food photographer, cookbook author and blogger.
Here he shares recipes, answers cooking questions and helps with cooking.
Here I present you my vegetarian recipe Rice Salad. The salad, prepared with ingredients that are easily available.
The rice salad is refreshing, vegetarian and vegan, exciting in the seasoning and therefore very suitable for the guest kitchen and as a salad for grilling.
What good are exotic ingredients if they are difficult to obtain and often end up not being eaten at all? In this article you will learn how to prepare rice salad in 20 variations.
With this rice salad you are on the safe side: The step by step instructions are given in the video Rice salad vegetarian prepare.
This rice salad is a fantastic meal, and individual variations or substitutions are easy.
Table of Contents
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Decoration Ideas for Rice Salad
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.
4. 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.
5. Cooking videos for making rice salad
5.1 Cooking video for the Rice Salad recipe
You can find the preparation of the presented salad as a video after the recipe.
5.2 Cooking video: preparing orange filets
First video peel the oranges
Second video fillet the oranges
6. Variations or How to make 20 different types of rice salad
6.1 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.
6.2 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.
6.3 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.
6.4 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.
6.5 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.
6.6 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.
7. Recipe Rice Salad
Find my recipe for rice salad below. Enjoy it and enjoy this delicious variation. I wish you good success with the preparation and a good appetite.
Rice Salad with mint, served with almonds, dates and vegetables
Great recipe for rice salad with cooking video and step by step instructions. Discover the rice salad with mint as your favourite recipe. Many tips for rice salad varieties from german chef Thomas Sixt.
Great recipe for rice salad with cooking video and step by step instructions. Discover the rice salad with mint as your favourite recipe. Many tips for rice salad varieties in this article.
|a little||Sunflower oil|
|a dash of||brown sugar|
|a dash of||Salt|
|a dash of||Pepper|
Cook the basmati rice in boiling salty water, then drain the rice and cool it down with cold water.
Put the rice into a sieve and set aside.
Now roast the almonds in a dash of sunflower oil, place the almonds on paper towels and salt them.
Dice the zucchini and the aubergine into pieces of 5×5 cm and sear them in a pan with sunflower oil for about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables and add them to the rice.
Squeeze out the limes and make a marinade from salt, sugar, pepper, sunflower oil and the limejuice.
Mix together the rice, the vegetables and the marinade and stir in the mint. Cut the dates into small pieces and add them to the rest.
Arrange the oriental rice salad on a plate and decorate with goji berries, almonds and some mint leaves.
8. Nutrition Infos
9. More Ideas
Comments, Cooking Questions and Answers
Below you can write to me directly.
Please don't forget the star rating on the recipe, 5 stars means you liked it!