A salad with a bad reputation

I’m going to share one of my favourite quick & easy recipes. The Fancy Rice Salad. Is there any other kind you ask? The answer is yes. Now I’m not going to name names, recipes or small country towns but where I come from, when someone brings a rice salad to a BBQ it usually consists of white rice, tinned corn, diced red capsicum and little else (flavour, my dear friend – that means you).

In fact among the people I know, rice salad has such a bad reputation that when I say I’m bringing a rice salad there is an audible pause which is my cue to say oh don’t worry, it’s a fancy rice salad, you’ll love it!. And they usually do. More often than not they cannot actually mask the look of relief when they can see I was telling the truth. It is fancy, phew! And hey, some people like the white rice/corn situation, and that’s fine, but I prefer my rice salad with a little more oomph.

This recipe was given to me by Eleni, fellow lover of food and a kitchen whizz. It’s quick, it’s easy, you can make it a few days ahead and people will want seconds.

Salad ingredients

1 cup of cooked brown rice (I like mine al dente)

1 green capsicum, finely diced

1 red capsicum, finely diced

1 large handful of chopped coriander (or parsley if you prefer)

½ cup of smashed roasted cashews (I use salted, you can use unsalted if you like)

¼ sunflower seeds and pepitas (also known as pumpkin seeds)

1/3 cup currants

4 finely sliced spring onions (also known as scallions)

Dressing ingredients

3 tbsp of olive oil

5 tbsp of Japanese soy sauce (I use the Kikkoman brand)

1 crushed garlic clove

½ lemon juice

The recipe I got never actually said what half exactly, ½ a cup? ½ a lemon? Who knows? I start with about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and keep adding to taste. The dressing will taste quite strong and soy-saucy on its own but once it is mixed into the salad it will mellow and the garlic and oil will balance it out.


Combine dressing ingredients, whisk well and set aside

Combine salad ingredients well. Add dressing and mix well again. Be thorough but gentle, you don’t want to squish all the rice.

And that’s it folks. You can eat it on the day, or it will be delicious the next day*. You can top it with diced avocado, tinned tuna or cooked chicken. It’s also great with lamb. It’s just great, ok? Trust me.

This rice salad is bringing fancy back.

* just a little note to remind you to take care when storing your rice salad. It seems innocent but cooked rice is considered a high-risk food and must be stored correctly. See here for more information.



  1. Hurrah. A vegetarian salad! Bring it along to a bbq at ours.


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