Red Rice Salad w/ Mint and Shallot Vinaigrette – A favorite whole grain

We’ve been up to our elbows lately with some new projects and late at the end of the day, nothing makes us happier than a big bowl of comfort food and a cocktail. Or two. Comfort food, regardless of how many devilish calories lurk in all the starch, always manages to calm our nerves and satisfy our appetites.

A bowl of red rice is certainly one of our favorite comfort foods and this recipe is updated from our archives, with a few new additions. A chewy and nutty grain variety, red rice is not only satisfying to eat, it’s loved by many for being exceptionally healthy.

Have you ever had red rice before? If not, you need to get yourself a bag, especially if you’re a fan of brown or any type of wild rice. It’s one of our favorites, so full of flavor, chewy bite and nutritionally packed with vitamins. This whole grain is always a win-win on our table.

Red rice is hailed in Chinese medicine as having medicinal qualities to help cure diabetes and high cholesterol. We love eating it often because of it’s flavor, texture, beauty and versatility. If you’re searching for  different alternatives to brown or black rice, this red variety is perfectly balanced with flavor & chewy bite. The color is a pleaser too with the subtle red tones still retained after cooking.

Red rice, along with various varieties of black rice, are available in most Southeast Asian grocers, specialty food markets and even online. The most inexpensive prices are at the Asian grocers, ranging from $4-$7 for a three pound bag. We’ve seen it priced at specialty Non-Asian markets for $7 on a 10 oz. package, ouch!

Once you get your hands on some of these red beauties, try this fresh and simple red rice and mint salad. It can be eaten either warm or as a cold salad and the addition of cucumbers and mint is refreshing.

When we developed this recipe, we had the vision of tabouli in mind, something with bright flavors of parsley and mint and cucumber crunch. We replaced the bulgar wheat with the red rice and added a flavorful and wonderfully fragrant shallot vinaigrette made in a pan. This dish is eaten cold and with all the fresh herbs and cucumbers, it’s like a rice salad.

combine shallot vinaigrette, red rice, chopped herbs & cucumbers

We’re fortunate enough to always have a garden full of fresh mint almost year round. But many of you cold region eaters don’t have the luxury of fresh mint, so there are other herbal options to the salad. Cilantro is another wonderful alternatives to mint, as well as adding extra cucumbers to the red rice if you want to omit the herbs altogether. This salad is wonderful cold and warm, so there are many options for serving.

Normally we’ve eaten it cold at picnics and parties, but for the times that we have had it warm, the rice is a wonderful comfort food on a cold day.


5 from 1 vote
Red Rice & Mint w/ Soy Dressing
Total Time
30 mins

Because of the tougher, but healthy, outer mesocarp of red rice, you need to use more water than most types of white rice. The rice can be cooked in a heavy sauce pan, but if you can cook it in a rice cooker, even better. The rice cooker will cook the red rice a little more evenly, but you can achieve the same result by stirring the grains more often for the stove top method. Can be served warm or cool.

Servings: 4 servings
  • 1 cup raw red rice , cooked to package instructions
  • 2 cups diced cucumbers (about 1 large or 2 medium cucumbers)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves , or even more to your specific taste
Shallot Dressing:
  • 3-4 large shallots , minced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or grape seed oil (or 4 Tablespoons, divided)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2   Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt , to taste
  1. Cook 1 cup of raw red rice according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
  2. In sauce pan over medium-low heat add only 2 tablespoons of oil and cook shallots and garlic until a light golden brown or until fragrant. Immediately remove from heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil,  sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, vinegar, lemon juice and cracked black pepper. Stir till sugar dissolves and all ingredients are mixed together. Put aside to marinade further while you prepare vegetables and herbs.
  3. After rice has completely cooled, toss in cucumbers, chopped herbs and shallot dressing. Eat immediately or chill in regridgerter. Before eating, toss everything in bowl again before serving.
  4. For a warm red rice dish, toss cucumbers and herbs with warm rice. Heat up dressing in sauce pan till warm and toss with rice. Serve immediately.
{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. rice exporter in india

    What a magnificent formula.However to attempt it tomorrow. You could likewise discover red rice in natural shops. I don’t eat rice so regularly however I like the nutty taste of red rice.It tastes great.

  2. G

    I had this with avocado on the side, with out without spinach. Some very satistfying lunches. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. Lisa | The Viet Vegan

    Oh gosh my mom is obsessed with red rice. I’ll have to make her some of this for Mother’s day =)

  4. Aenun Nadifah

    Hi … Looks yummy! I like this …. Can not wait to try, thanks for sharing the recipe, I will be back!

  5. sweetteasweetie (@SweetTSweetie)

    Yum! This looks delicious! I love the use of mint in the rice to give the dish a fresh taste.

  6. chooching

    What a wonderful recipe. I have all the ingredients in my pantry. Yet to try it tomorrow. You could also find red rice in organic shops. I don’t eat rice so often but I like the nutty taste of red rice. I usually mix it with pearl barley as side dish. It tastes good.

  7. Dyepotgirl

    This dish is amazing! In fact it’s so good that I know that I’ll be making it often this summer. It’s so delicious and so easy to put together. Thanks for sharing your great recipe.

  8. Teresa

    Made this recipe using fresh shallots, cucumbers and cilantro, and added black beans. Topped it with a cucumber shallot dressing and my friends loved it!

  9. El Sebas

    I loved eating this dish. Thanks!

  10. tammi cummings

    Thankyou for this lovely recipe! here in the uk we call it Camargue rice x

  11. molly

    rice salads never so much as whisper to me, but this one, hoo-boy, is hollering my name.

    i’m thinking a few choice spears of spring asparagus + peas tossed in for good measure, and i am so there.

  12. Alison

    This looks lovely! I can’t wait to try it. Looks like an excellent choice for bringing to a party.

    Amazing photos as well!

  13. Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds

    Your photos are recipes continue to blow me away. As I’ve just told my other half, your’s is a blog to really aspire to.

  14. Deborah

    Thank you, thank you for sharing this great recipe. I tried it this weekend with some Char Shu pork and it was fantastic! This salad is now part of my “staple” list.

  15. Magic of Spice

    What a lovely salad…I adore this rice and this dressing 🙂

  16. Sara{OneTribeGourmet}

    Wow, this salad looks Amazing! I have never tried red rice…thank you for this recipe…love the shallot dressing!

  17. Anjali Shah

    I LOVE red rice! But I usually make it in a pilaf form and eat it hot with Thai or Indian curries. I love the idea of turning it into a salad – the mint and cucumbers added make it sound so refreshing! Beautiful post 🙂

  18. Story

    I’ve cooked very little with red rice, partly because the Asian store I frequent have a vast supply but the cooking instructions are in Chinese. (I unfortunately only speak English and understand a few indelicate words in Taiwanese.) When I’ve tried to “guess” the cook time, I end up with burnt rice. Any general guidelines for cook time?

  19. Kathleen

    This looks really delicious. I’ve never had red rice. Looks like I’ll be heading out to an Asian market this weekend!

  20. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen

    Oh guys please adopt me. I shall do all your dishes! Looks great – I haven’t seen red rice but I’ll be looking out now. Pi

  21. joey

    What a lovely salad! We actually eat mostly brown and red rice at home and, living in the Philippines, it is easy to get local varieties. I haven’t tried it in a rice salad like this though…soon!

  22. Liz the Chef

    Very new to me. As my husband is recovering from a heart attack and we both need to lower cholesterol, this is worth looking for. San Diego has a ton of Asian markets, so off I go!

  23. Sukaina

    I’ve never eaten red rice, let alone even heard or seen it before! So thanks for introducing me to a new food! Love rice in general!

  24. minneville

    I love red rice. Since rice is a staple in most of my meals, I usually cook up a pot of red rice mixed with white rice and brown rice to maximize intakes of different vitamins and minerals. This salad idea is a great one!


    we’ve never eaten red rice but we’re big fans of both wild and brown rice; looks like we’ll be hunting for the good stuff now!

  26. marla {family fresh cooking}

    This recipe sounds wonderful. Sounds like a lot of fun textures in there. I love stronger flavored foods – so the red rice sounds like a must try. I would want gobs of this vinaigrette around for pouring over everything.

  27. Mara

    What a great spring recipe! Definitely a must try. Is the fiber content similar to brown rice?

  28. Tanvi

    This salad looks amazing.I saw red rice the other day in a store and never knew how to cook it.Now, I ll get it and would try out your recipe soon.

  29. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    Looks incredible. I am trying this one for sure!

  30. Michelle

    Thanks for some insight on a new – to – me grain. Dinner is served!

  31. Jennifer @ Loving Bytes

    This looks delicious! I have also tried black, but not red. Looking forward to trying it!

  32. Soma

    I found the red rice during the Christmas time in whole food. It was called christmas rice. Love it!! mint cucumber lemon sounds lovely! I had posted one with paneer and pomegranates.

  33. David

    This dish looks delicious – you’re an accomplished food photographer as well as a cook!

  34. Gozde

    Looks fantastic, as a fan of red and black rice, will definitely give this one a try. You guys are the most fruitful bloggers I’ve ever seen. Being a couple must be making things a little easier, (or may be harder?) I admire your photos and can’t wait for more…

  35. sonia

    Wonderful red rice ! Its looking so bright and refreshing, saving your another recipe to try out soon.

  36. TheKitchenWitch

    I’ve had black rice, but not red. The red is so pretty! Do I need to order it, since I live in the Rockies?

  37. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    I am a huge fan of red rice, I love its earthy flavour! This sounds like a gorgeous way to use this great ingredient.

  38. The Duo Dishes

    Great, great, GREAT! Black rice is an awesome grain, either served sweet or savory. Definitely never heard or seen red rice before, so this is a super thing to have in the back pocket. Going to try it for sure.

  39. Kalynskitchen

    I haven’t had red rice, but I am loving the sound of this!

  40. sarah, simply cooked

    I’ve eaten a fair amount of black rice–which is so nutty and wonderfully sticky. I’ll look out for red rice. And on the subject of rice cookers, I find that ours does brown rice perfectly light and fluffy, which is an enviable texture for brown rice.

  41. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

    Oh the recipe looks wonderful…red rice, so good. I love wild rice, too.

    Random question, but do you ever put on photography classes, events, workshops? I live in San Diego and would love to pay you to be my teacher. Please email me…I’d love to chat 🙂

    1. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

      I just registered for Food & Light. I cannot wait!!!!!!!!!

      I only knew of it for 30 minutes. But it had my name all over it.

      And I am registered.

      Can’t wait to meet you!

  42. Kankana

    I never had red rice .. and to think of rice as a salad!! I think I have to get some red rice soon.. I am new blogger just getting to learn about photography .. and every time I come here eyes gets some real good treat 🙂

  43. Nisrine M.

    This is one variety of rice I have yet to try. After bread, a nice bowl of rice is my #2 comfort food. Great flavors in this rice salad. Cucumber and mint complement each other so well and are so refreshing.

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