A flavorful Curried Rice Salad with crunchy pistachios, sweet currants, and an orange-curry dressing! It's a delicious side dish for picnics, potlucks, or even take-along lunches. Plus it's basically done in the time it takes the rice to cook! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This bright and flavorful Curried Rice Salad is made with crunchy pistachios, chewy currants, and a delightful curry-orange dressing.
There are so many delicious flavors and textures in one dish!
Plus it's easy to make and only requires 9 simple ingredients. (It's basically done in the time it takes your rice to cook!)
It's a tasty dish to make ahead for picnics, potlucks, take-along lunches, etc.
Ingredients for Curried Rice Salad
For this recipe you will toss together in a medium bowl:
- Brown rice: I use long grain rice such as jasmine or basmati, and I purchase organic when possible. (But you can also use white rice if desired!)
- Green onion (scallion): These add some mild onion flavor to the dish. For a stronger flavor, try finely diced red onion.
- Fresh cilantro: Or substitute fresh parsley if you don't care for cilantro.
- Currants: I use Zante currants which I find in the bulk bins at our local food co-op. But if they're not available in your area, you can substitute raisins.
- Pistachios (shelled): These add great texture and crunch to the salad.
- Fresh orange juice: You will need about one-third cup freshly squeezed orange juice for this recipe, which is about one orange. You can also include the optional orange zest in the dressing for bolder orange flavor.
- Curry powder: This is a mixture of warm spices that often includes things like ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper, ginger, etc. Curry powder can range in spiciness depending on how much cayenne pepper (or other chili peppers) are included. Most often I use the "Simply Organic" brand which is mild to moderate heat.
- Pure maple syrup: This is a great natural sweetener and helps balance the dressing. Feel free to use more or less to your taste.
- Rice vinegar: I use Marukan brand organic unseasoned vinegar. (Seasoned rice vinegar contains added sugar and salt.) You can also add fine grain salt and black pepper to taste if you'd like.
Oil option: I prepare this recipe oil-free, however you can add a teaspoon or up to a tablespoon of good quality extra-virgin olive oil to the dressing if you wish.
Pistachio substitute: Stir in pecans, cashews, or slivered almonds to the rice mixture instead.
Currants & cilantro: These can be also replaced with parsley and raisins, depending on your taste and what's available.
Other additions: A reader added roasted cauliflower to this salad which is a really great idea! You can also add garbanzo beans (or other white bean) for added plant-based protein and fiber.
Grains: I'm guessing this recipe would work very well with other grains! Simply swap out the rice for farro, quinoa, kamut, wheat berry, etc.
When to serve: You can serve this dish immediately warm/room temperature, or refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors mellow and combine further.
Garnish: Top your bowl with more fresh herbs, lemon juice, lime juice, or fresh mint if desired.
If saving for later: Feel free to make it a few hours or up to a day in advance. Sometimes I like to squeeze a little extra fresh orange juice on top right before serving to brighten it up.
Tip: After a couple days of sitting in the fridge, I find the rice starts to dry out a little. So it's usually best enjoyed within 1-2 days.
For more inspiration, also browse all side dish recipes or gluten-free recipes.
Curried Rice Salad with Orange
- 1 cup long-grain brown rice (jasmine or basmati)
- 3 green onions
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup currants (or raisins)
- 1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
For the orange-curry dressing:
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, unseasoned
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Rinse and cook rice according to package instructions.*
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Slice green onions and roughly chop cilantro, large stems removed. Place in a medium/large mixing bowl. Add currants and pistachios.
- When rice is cooked, add to bowl. Pour dressing over top and stir well.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors mellow and further combine.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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Delicious salad! I thought it could use a little more color and texture! I love the combination of cauliflower and curry so I roasted a head with olive oil and salt and added it to the salad. It was fantastic!
Great thinking - what an amazing addition, Stacy! Thank you so much for sharing your kind and helpful feedback. I will be sure to try this with your cauliflower addition soon!
This is AMAZING!!! Perfect for an easy meal or or to bring to an event! I would suggest making a double batch because it will go fast. I used short grain brown rice because I like it’s chewy texture. It worked great in this.
Hi Augusta! That's fantastic to hear - thank you so much for the very kind feedback. I love your substitution of short grain rice!
I have to go back to work tomorrow for the first time in 2 months. This was part of the meal prep. I used wheatberries instead of rice and dried cranberries instead of currants. I also omitted the maple syrup. It is SO good! Thank you!
Hi! First and foremost, hope your transition back to work has gone smoothly! Thanks for your kind feedback on this recipe. So glad you gave it a try and enjoyed - really love your wheatberry substitution!
Thank you for sharing your recipe talents with the world!
I made this last night with a wild rice blend and it was really delicious. I think that I might use just a little less curry powder next time and try blended dates instead of maple syrup to make it a little more WFPB. I also added a very small amount of the orange zest because I love orange flavor. My husband had this to say, " Winner, winner vegan dinner!" We will be adding this dish to our rotation.
Haha, wonderful to hear! I love your wild rice blend & orange zest addition! (And dates are such a great idea for next time!) So glad you both enjoyed. Thanks for the sweet feedback & have a beautiful week!
Really tasty and super simple! I had everything on hand, but modified a bit by adding some chopped mint, cooking the rice in veggie broth and adding a tablespoon of olive oil to the dressing. Served with chutney. Thanks for the plant-based inspiration.
Kaitlin | The Garden Grazer
So great to hear! Thank you for sharing!