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Black Rice Salad Meal (Vegan Recipe)

Updated on August 7, 2013
Black Rice Salad Meal, a whole grain vegan recipe.
Black Rice Salad Meal, a whole grain vegan recipe. | Source

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5 stars from 2 ratings of Summer Black Rice Salad Meal

On my last trip abroad, I came across the unusual and intriguing black rice, a grain that has been consumed in China for years and years but that has very recently come into my universe.

Black rice, also known as the Chinese (Emperor´s) Forbidden Rice, has a firm texture and is supposed to be great for both sweet and savory dishes, which makes it a very versatile whole grain that can be used in puddings, salads and atypical sides.

As I am all about being practical and creating quick, fresh and healthy one-dish meals, I chose to make a summer salad for my first encounter with black rice. The salad follows all my dietary and cooking preferences: it is very easy and quick to prepare and it uses wholesome, nutritious and good quality ingredients:

  • whole grains,
  • healthy unsaturated fats, and
  • a variety of raw and colorful produce.

The recipe is based on the simplest vegan black rice salad I could come up with. However, I am also including a vegetarian version of it, and a more sophisticated version of the simple vegan recipe that has an additional Thai twist to it.


Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 1 serving

Chinese "Forbidden" Black Rice



  • ¼ cup black rice, soak in boiling water overnight and cook as regular rice with ½ cup water and basic condiments.
  • ¼ cup papaya, diced
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Dash
  • to taste sea salt

A Note on Papaya

I chose to add papaya to this recipe for two reasons: number one, to add a fresh and juicy quality to the dish and, number two, aid digestion.

As it turned out, the papaya ended up being a key ingredient that brought the whole thing to a different level.

I always encourage my readers to tweak and twist my ideas to create their own recipe, I like to think of my recipes as an inspiration for other creations; however, this time I would like to say that, whatever changes you do, if you like papaya, keep it in there! When you try this black rice salad you will know what I mean.

Did you know?

Black rice contributes to our protein intake with 5g of protein per serving and has an almost negligible sugar content (see nutrition facts table below).


  1. Cook the black rice as you would cook any other rice (½ cup water for ¼ cup rice, a two to one ratio). To ensure you will end up with a flavorful dish, it´s important to condiment the rice from the beginning by adding one small garlic clove (crushed) and a chunk of onion (about 1 Tbsp), as well as sea salt to taste. Cook the rice on low heat, with the lid on, until it dries out.
  2. If you can, cook the rice beforehand so that it can cool off before you make the salad, which is best served at room temperature.
  3. All other ingredients are used raw, which means the only thing you need to do now is chop the papaya, red bell pepper and onion.
  4. In a bowl, add the olive oil, the vinegar and the Dash and beat until you get an emulsified vinaigrette.
  5. Add the cooked black rice and toss it well to cover it all with the vinaigrette.
  6. Add the finely chopped onion, the diced papaya and red bell pepper and the cilantro leaves.
  7. Mix everything together and serve.


Black Rice Salad Variations

  • For a vegetarian version of this Black Rice Salad, add some diced fresh white cheese. I´d recommend Panela if you have it available. Paneer would also be great.
  • For a Thai version of this salad, use a Thai dressing instead of the simple vinaigrette and add a tablespoon of roasted peanuts. You will end up with a very refreshing and exotic Thai Black Rice Salad.

Thai Dressing for the Black Rice Thai Salad

  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce for vegetarians or vegans
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ to 1 Tbsp agave nectar (you can also use sugar if you prefer)
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes

Stir all dressing ingredients together until every one of them is fully dissolved. Test-taste for sweetness and spice, adding more nectar or chili to suit your personal taste. Incorporate the Thai dressing to the Black Rice Salad as instructed in the recipe above.

Black Rice Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Calories 150
Calories from Fat9
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 32 g11%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 5 g10%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Comments on this "Black Rice Salad" Vegan Recipe

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Claudia, my pleasure. It looks something I'm willing to try.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 2 years ago from Mexico

      Hi Kristen, thanks for your nice comments and interest, I am glad you were enticed by the recipe :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This is another delicious recipe to try. I like how you had the spicy and mild versions for Thai and vegetarian. I would love to give this a try. Voted up for useful!

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      anglnwu, thanks so much for your feedback; as the black rice expert you are by now, I consider your interest in this particular recipe an honor. Thanks for sharing it as well!

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      Chef-de-jour, well I can totally relate to your teenage son. I love salads and I think he is as enthusiastic about crunchy, fresh, colorful and nutritious food as I am. If that is the case, I guess he will like this particular recipe as well. Hope that not just him but all of you will enjoy it. Thanks for the votes and share, I really do appreciate them.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      Heart Felt Book, I am happy to know you feel enthusiastic about this black rice salad, thanks for letting me know. Hope you´ll enjoy it.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 4 years ago

      Your black rice salad looks ravishing. Love your visual. I've been eating black rice forever (yep, even wrote a hub about it). I'll definitely be trying that one. Shared!!

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      My teenage son Frank, for some obscure reason, adores any kind of salad. He can eat a huge bowlful in one sit down session. It's a sight to behold. This salad of yours would make his eyes enlarge and pop out!

      Looks great. I should risk it and make it for him.

      Votes and share for a wonderful creation.

    • Heart Felt Book profile image

      Cheri Taylor 4 years ago from New York, NY

      sweet!!! I will try this!!

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      Nell, I share the enjoyment of making new salads with you, especially if they nourish my body like this one does. Hope you do find the rice and get to try it. Thanks very much for your enthusiasm and input.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I love making different salads, so I will try to find this black rice, like others I had never heard of it, sounds delicious! voted up and shared, nell

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      Hi tebo, I know black rice is a rare grocery but now that you have registered its existence I am sure you´ll come across it one of these days. I hope you enjoy it in this salad as much as I did when you do. Thanks for your interest and feedback.

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 4 years ago from New Zealand

      This salad looks delicious. I don't think i have seen black rice in the supermarket but I shall definitely look for it, Thanks for the recipe.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

      Irka, thanks for your interest in this black rice salad recipe, I am glad you are as enthusiastic as I was and hope your friends enjoy it.

    • profile image

      Irka Winniczuk 4 years ago

      I will want to make this immediately and show off to my friends!