Curried Rice Salad with mint, orange, and yogurt comes together in just 30 minutes. Enjoy this easy vegetarian rice recipe as an entree or goes-with-everything side.This recipe post is sponsored by USA Rice (@think_rice). I was compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.
Why You’ll Love this Curried Rice Salad:
This vibrant rice salad is bursting with bright, fresh flavor. Not only does it come together in 30 minutes, but you only need ONE pot. It’s ease and simplicity will make it a go-to for all of your summer salad needs. (Plus, it’s made with rice grown right here in the USA.)
Enjoy this rice salad as a light lunch on its own, or pair it with your favorite protein. It’s delicious served alongside baked fish, roasted chicken, or crispy tofu. Alternatively, you can toss in some beans or edamame to punch up the protein.
This salad is also incredibly versatile. If you don’t have any of the vegetables or herbs on hand, there are ample substitutions. You can also easily make it vegan by using coconut yogurt and plant-based butter (I love Califia brand). As long as it ends up on your kitchen table, you’re in for a treat.
- U.S. Basmati Rice: The word “basmati” actually means “queen of fragrance”, which speaks to its aromatic, nutty flavor. This long-grain rice becomes ultra fluffy and slightly chewy when cooked, which makes it a fabulous contender for salads and pilafs. U.S. Basmati Rice is grown in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and Texas, and very easy to find in grocery stores.
- Spices: The star of this salad is curry powder, which lends warm, aromatic spice. I personally love Madras curry powder, which is a bit spicier than regular curry powder.
- Aromatics: Sautéed onion and garlic form the aromatic foundation of this dish. You can use any onion you have on hand: yellow, sweet, red, or shallots.
- Frozen peas: I love how peas add a burst of vegetal sweetness (and color!) to this rice salad. For convenience, use frozen peas and just stir them at the end. The residual heat will thaw and warm them just enough.
- Mint: Fresh mint adds cooling contrast to balance the warm spices. It also gives the rice a fresh lift, which nudges it further into the “salad” category. If you don’t have mint on hand, parsley will also work.
- Yogurt: I highly suggest spreading a spoonful of yogurt on the serving platter before adding the rice. The creaminess helps tie the salad together, and adds richness.
You also have the option of garnishing with your nut of choice, such as pistachios or almonds. I also love serving it with orange or lemon wedges, which you can choose to squeeze overtop.
Step 1: Sauté the Onion
Start by heating a mix of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until soft and aromatic.
Step 2: Cook the Garlic and Spices
Stir in the garlic, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Once well-combined, cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
Step 3: Toast the Rice
Stir in the rice and spread in a single layer. Cook the rice for about 2 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until it’s golden and toasted. (This helps amplify the rice’s inherent nutty flavor.)
Step 4: Cook the Rice
Add water (or broth), cover the skillet, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the rice for 15 to 17 minutes, until it becomes tender and soaks up all the liquid.
Step 4: Steam the Rice
Stir in the frozen peas along with the orange zest and juice. Remove the pan from the burner, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. (This helps the rice become even more light and fluffy.) After 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
Step 5: Assemble Curried Rice Salad
Spread some yogurt on a serving platter and spoon the rice overtop. Garnish with chopped pistachios and orange wedges, if desired, along with fresh mint.
FAQs and Expert Tips:
Is Rice Healthy?
U.S.-grown rice contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and other B-vitamins, as well as iron and zinc. It’s comprised of complex carbohydrates, which are more slowly digested and can help keep you full longer. Plus, it’s naturally gluten free and the least allergenic of all grains.
Its nutrition profile and versatility make rice one of my go-t0 grains for weekday cooking. Not to mention it’s easy to find, inexpensive, and the perfect blank canvas for many classic dishes.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Rice?
Although a rice cooker is handy if you cook rice regularly, you certainly don’t need one to make the perfect pot of rice. (“Perfect” meaning a mountain of tender, fluffy, separate grains.)
Long-grain white rice, such as basmati, is best suited for the simmer-and-steam method. Here, the rice simmers in water or broth until the liquid is completely absorbed. Once cooked, you slide the pot off the stove and let it steam, covered, until you can fluff it with a fork.
What to Serve with Curried Rice Salad:
The beauty of this salad is that it can stand alone as a meal, or pair up with your favorite protein. It’s plenty satiating on its own between the healthy fats from the nuts and protein from the yogurt. However I also love serving it with baked fish, such as salmon, halibut, or cod. Alternatively, it’s fabulous with roasted chicken or crispy cubes of tofu.
More Healthy Rice Recipes to Try:
If you make this rice recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Curried Rice Salad
- Large skillet with fitted lid
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (sub ghee or plant-based butter alternative)
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup dry U.S. Basmati Rice
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 Tbsp. orange zest, plus 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios or sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet with a fitted lid over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook 6 to 7 minutes, until soft.
- Stir in garlic, curry powder, salt, and pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Add rice and stir to coat. Press into a single layer and cook 2 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until golden and toasted.
- Stir in 2 cups of water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 15 to 17 minutes, until rice is tender and soaks up liquid. Stir in peas, remove from heat, cover, and let steam for 5 minutes. Stir in orange zest and juice.
- Spread yogurt on a serving platter and spoon rice mixture overtop. Garnish with chopped nuts, fresh mint, and orange wedges, if desired.