Asian black rice salad

Since converting to full-time at my job, I’ve become much more appreciative of the Portable Meal, and salads like this one that can be served at room temperature are awesome for taking to go. The vegetables provide valuable vitamins, the edamame contributes some protein, and the high-fiber rice keeps your blood sugar stabilized and your belly feeling full.

This rice salad features black rice, a slightly sweet and nutty variety with a chewy, creamy texture, and the bright vegetables look stunning against the dark color. Serve as a side or top with a grilled salmon fillet and call it a meal.

One aspect of nutrition that constantly amazes me is the value of the pigmentation of our fruits and vegetables. It’s so easy to look at a strawberry and not think anything of the fact that it’s red, but there’s far more value to color than being visually appealing. This rice looks black at first glance, but a closer look will reveal it is actually dark purple. The dark purple color comes from loads of anthocyanins, phytochemicals that provide powerful antioxidants and offer protect against a myriad of common diseases. Just a few conditions these purple foods fight include urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, allergies, ulcers, colds, heart disease, and cancer. Anthocyanins are the same pigments responsible for the color of blueberries, cranberries, eggplant, red cabbage, grapes, cherries, and kidney beans. Impressive, huh? Colors are vitamins. Eat that rainbow. Let’s start with pretty purple rice.

The addition of carrots and sugar snap peas would also be fantastic in here. Just sayin’.

Asian black rice salad
Serves 4
Note: There are different varieties of black rice, and some take longer to cook than others. Mine cooked in 25 minutes, but others may take up to 50 minutes. Pay attention to the package instructions and cook accordingly. 

1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup black rice
3/4 cup shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 medium radish, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro

Asian dressing:
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  1. In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add black rice, turn heat to low, and cook, covered, for 25-30 minutes (or according to package instructions). Drain the rice in a mesh strainer, then return the rice to the saucepan and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the rice to steam, off the heat, for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and allow the rice to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare Asian dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the flavors according to preference.
  3. Transfer the rice to a large bowl and pour the dressing over, tossing to coat. Add the edamame, scallions, radish, and cilantro to the bowl and toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.


  1. June 18, 2014 / 2:22 pm

    Went ahead and pinned this- I love grain salads and have most of the ingredients! Love your discussion on pigmentation- colorful foods do such great things for our bodies!

  2. June 24, 2014 / 12:58 pm

    Thanks, Lindsay! The black rice is fantastic – next time you see some, snatch it up for sure!

  3. June 24, 2014 / 12:59 pm

    Thanks, Marisa! I just checked out your blog, and it's gorgeous!

  4. June 24, 2014 / 12:59 pm

    Thanks, Regan!