Curried Rice Salad

Looking for cold rice salads for summer? My curried rice salad is it. This simple, vibrant side dish is perfect for cookouts and potlucks. The easy curry dressing with fresh ginger and turmeric add a zippy punch to the dish. Finish the salad with toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs for a deliciously irresistible vegetarian side.

a collage of the ingredients for this recipe.

This easy curried rice salad recipe has been in the works for a while now. I wanted something refreshing and light to go with anything we’d thrown on the grill or just a simple deli rotisserie chicken. This zingy side dish is it. And cold rice salads for summer cookouts are the perfect yin/yan. They’re cool, light and so versatile, you can serve it with chicken, pork, lamb, beef, or seafood. It’s even good as a vegan/vegetarian main course.

Ingredients for curried rice salad

  • Long Grain Rice
  • Golden Raisins
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Green Onions
  • Red Onion
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Pine Nuts
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Parsley

The ingredient list doesn’t have anything out of the ordinary, and if you’ve got an herb garden, you probably have just what you need to whip up this simple rice salad, but here are some substitutes you can use.

Simple substitutions

  • If you don’t have golden raisins, you can substitute regular raisins, dried currants or even finely chopped dried apricots.
  • If you’re out of pine nuts, swap them for sliced almonds, pistachios or chopped cashews.
  • You can use yellow or orange bell pepper for the red (but don’t use green peppers – they give a very different flavor).
cooling off steamed rice with golden raisins  on a sheet pan.

Steamed rice is the main component of this summer side dish and while it’s not difficult to do, it’s important to do it right. The rice has to be steamed, drained and cooled to room temperature before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. The texture of the rice should be slightly sticky and dry. Here’s how to do it:

Newsletter Signup
Join our community of food lovers!

Get my latest recipes, helpful kitchen tips and more good things each week in your inbox.

How to steam rice without a steamer

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. No need to measure the water — just make sure you’ve filled the pot to about the 3/4 level.
  2. Stir in the rice and return the water to a boil.
  3. Boil the rice for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (without the lid on the pot).
  4. Transfer the rice to a fine mesh strainer and drain off as much liquid as possible.
  5. Add the rice back to the same pot you cooked it in and add the raisins. Put the lid on the pot and set aside for 10 minutes. (This will steam the rice and plump the raisins.)
  6. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and let the rice cool until it’s at room temperature. If you want to cool the rice faster, transfer it to a sheet pan and spread into a single layer. The rice should be cooled and ready to use within 10 minutes.

Why does the rice have to cool?

Making the steamed rice for this curried rice salad isn’t hard, but the steps need to be followed. Please don’t skip letting the rice cool to room temperature.

  • If you add hot rice to the salad and curry dressing, you’ll steam the vegetables and they’ll lose their crispness.
  • Additionally the dressing combined with hot rice will create a sloppy, goopy mess. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Combining vegetables and chick peas in a bowl for the curried rice salad.

While the rice is steaming and/or cooling, you can assemble the rest of the curried rice salad. Dice the vegetables and add them to a large bowl, along with the drained garbanzo beans. Set the veggies aside and make the ginger curry dressing.

photo of Making ginger curry dressing for rice salads for summer.

This zippy curry dressing is what gives this summer rice salad its distinctive flavor. Fresh ginger adds spice and heat, while a good curry powder creates that smoky depth and tingle you normally associate with curries. Turmeric is responsible for the golden hue and fresh mint and parsley pep up the freshness factor.

Ginger curry dressing ingredients

  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Fresh Grated Ginger
  • Honey
  • Curry Powder
  • Turmeric
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Fresh Chopped Mint
  • Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Not only is this curried ginger dressing good for summer rice salads, you can also drizzle it on steamed veggies or grilled chicken, pork or seafood. It’s so versatile.

photo of Mixing the rice with the vegetables and pouring curry dressing over the summer rice salad.

Once the rice has cooled to room temperature and the moisture has evaporated, it’s time to mix it with the vegetables.

  1. Add the rice to the chopped veggies and toss to combine.
  2. Pour the dressing over the curried rice salad and gently toss to coat.
  3. Add additional fresh herbs and pine nuts and toss again until the mixture is well combined.
photo of curried rice salad after being mixed in the bowl and adding the fresh torn herbs.

You can serve this summer rice salad chilled or at room temperature. I love this dish because there’s no mayonnaise, so it has more staying power than typical potato salads and coleslaws, making it great for cookouts and potlucks.

How long will curried rice salad last?

This salad should hold up for about 5-7 days, covered in the refrigerator.

How long will the ginger curry dressing last?

If you don’t add the fresh herbs to the dressing, it will stay fresh for 1 week, however if you’ve added the fresh herbs, they will start to lose their freshness and potency within a few days. If you’re making the dressing ahead of time, I’d recommend adding the mint and parsley at the last minute.

Curried Rice Salad in a bowl with fresh mint leaves.

More Cold Rice Salads For Summer

A photo of the curried rice salad in a bowl with a spoon and napkin in the background.

Tried this recipe? Leave a rating and review.

Your comments and shares are invaluable to me and the thousands of readers who use this site daily. If you've made the recipe, leave a star rating and review. We want to hear how you liked it.

We'd love it if you shared the recipe with your friends on social media!

A bowl of curried rice salad.
Print Pin
4.56 from 27 votes

Curried Rice Salad

This cool, refreshing rice salad has crunchy veg, toasted pine nuts, sweet golden raisins, fresh herbs and a tangy curried ginger dressing to tie it all together. Best served cold or at room temperature.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Keyword curry, rice, rice salad
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8



  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 red bell pepper finely diced
  • 3 green onions finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion finely diced
  • 15 ounce can garbanzo beans drained
  • cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves torn
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves torn


  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey can substitute maple syrup to make it vegan
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 6-7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil



  • Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water and bring it to a boil. Add the rice and stir occasionally for 15 minutes. Do not cover the pot.
  • Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer to drain as much liquid off as possible. Transfer the rice back to the same pot it was cooked in and add the golden raisins. Cover the pot tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes to steam. (This will plump the raisins).
  • Remove the lid and let the rice cool and come to room temperature. Rice will cool and dry out a bit. To accelerate this process you can spread the rice and raisins on a sheet pan in a thin layer and it will take about 5-8 minutes to cool/dry. The rice needs to be dry and at room temperature before adding it to the salad, otherwise the salad will be mushy.


  • While the rice is cooking/cooling, prep the salad ingredients. Into a large bowl add the red bell pepper, green onions and garbanzo beans. Toss to combine. Add the cooled rice and raisins and toss gently to combine.


  • In a medium bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the vinegar, dijon mustard, ginger, honey, curry powder, turmeric, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, whisking constantly until the dressing has emulsified. Stir in the mint and parsley. Set aside.


  • Add the dressing to the rice salad and toss to coat. Add the pine nuts and fresh herbs. Toss and serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 309mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 656IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg

Pin “Curried Rice Salad” for later!

a closeup photo of the cold rice salad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    I love the flavors in this easy curried salad. It’s simple to make and was perfect for our cookout this weekend. Not a scrap left.

  2. 5 stars
    Diferente a todos los arroces

  3. 5 stars
    I used 1/2 cup brown rice and 1 cup basmati,a lot more pine nuts, as you can never add too many of them in a salad for my family, and I while I thought to much oil it was absolutely scrumdiddily delicious and I won’t admit to how much I ate

  4. 5 stars
    A new family favorite! I did add 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 finely chopped cucumber to add color and crunch. The dressing is a delight for the palate.

  5. Deb Hoffman says:

    5 stars
    Love it, Different than my normal Curried Rice salad but will definitely make this again. Beautiful flavours

  6. Lee Freeman says:

    5 stars
    I just made the rice as per the package (2c water to 1c rice), skipped the raisins and added dried cranberries. Delicious.

  7. Pam Greer says:

    5 stars
    This is so full of flavor!! That dressing is going to be used on so many things!

  8. Lisa Huff says:

    5 stars
    What a great dish for summer! I think I’m going to need to make a big batch of that dressing for like everything!

  9. Patricia @ Grab a Plate says:

    5 stars
    So much color and flavor in this dish! I just looove the pine nuts! Perfect for any get together!

  10. 5 stars
    This salad is so full of different flavors. Sounds absolutely amazing and delicious. I never tried rice salad before but this one I just have to try.

  11. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says:

    5 stars
    This sounds like the perfect dish for lunch! So packed full of flavour – I love the sound of that dressing!