Tangy Italian Black Rice Salad

Italian Black rice and kale salad on a white plate.

Here’s an Italian rice salad recipe that you’ll LOVE. Made with forbidden rice (black rice), soft chunks of mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and tender frills of kale in a bright lemon vinaigrette. This tangy Italian black rice salad is a healthy vegetarian option for lunch and dinner.

 black rice

This is penance for all those ice creams I made (and ate) this summer.  Restitution for those burgers, and that insane pork sandwich.  Atonement for those french fries and pancakes.   In short, I’m back on the wagon.  At least for now.

That said, I can’t think of a tastier, more satisfying or filling way to do it than with this tangy italian black rice salad.  Seriously.  It’s that good!  Scott had thirds.  

black rice and vegetables

With colorful, crunchy peppers,  green onions and toothsome black rice,  there’s a lot going on here.

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salad with cheese and basil

Fresh mozzarella and a chiffonade of bright, herby basil meld beautifully with the rest of the flavors.  

chopped kale

And yes, there’s kale.  Not much. 2-3 leaves.  Just enough to round out this dish.

dressing and a whisk

This is not your typical salad.  Nope, it’s the kind of dish that makes you want to eat more.  The kind of meal you eat with your arm protectively guarding the contents of your plate from passersby.  You never know when someone’s going to swoop in for a bite of fresh mozzarella. 

And fortuitously, it stores for 2-3 days without wilting, so it’s ideal for brown-bagging.  If you can wait that long to eat it.

Tangy Italian Black Rice Salad
Tangy Italian Black Rice Salad

More kale salads:

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5 from 3 votes

Tangy Italian Black Rice Salad

This salad is great for lunch or dinner – add chicken or shrimp for a heartier meal.  Also, the salad lasts, even with the dressing for a few days…  Great for brown bag lunches!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Keyword kale, mozzarella, rice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups cooked black rice at room temperature
  • ½ red bell pepper cut to 1/2″ dice
  • ½ yellow bell pepper cut to 1/2″ dice
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella cut to 1/2″ dice
  • 2 cups kale leaves tough stems removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves thinly sliced

for lemon vinaigrette

  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic minced


Make the rice salad

  • Combine the rice, bell peppers, onion, tomato, mozzarella and kale into a large bowl. Set aside.

Make the vinaigrette

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic until emulsified.

Assemble the salad

  • Add the basil, mint and dressing to the salad and toss well to combine. Serve.


Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4605IU | Vitamin C: 84.8mg | Calcium: 227mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Don’t Forget To “Pin It” For Later!

Need a good kale salad recipe? Perfect for brown-bag lunches or vegetarian dinner, Tangy Italian Black Rice Salad is loaded with your favorite flavors!

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  1. Betty Burdick says:

    5 stars
    OMG! Lisa this is fantastic and problematic..just made it to go along with our broiled honey glazed salmon tonight. Salmon isn’t in oven yet and I CAN”T stop tasting this….YUM!!! I really could make a meal of this – flavors are out of this world – so fresh! I will admit didn’t have kale so used fresh spinach. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. I’m so glad you like it Betty – we found it to be problematic as well!