To me, there’s something alluring about black rice. Maybe because its moniker is “Forbidden Rice,” said to have once been eaten exclusively by the Emperors of China. Or maybe it’s the deep purple color. Or it could be because of the salads you can make with it. Inherently filling, layered with flavor and texture, black rice salads always seem like a celebration.
These are the kind of salads I live for. Salads that leave me feeling satisfied and nourished. Salads that I can bring to a party and am told “I need this recipe;” ones that change a person’s perspective of what a “salad” can be.
This black rice salad with pickled cherries, charred corn, and hazelnuts is just that type of salad. The kind you can’t stop eating. The kind that, perhaps with a little added protein, could be a meal in and of itself. Nutty, sweet, smoky, crunchy, and fresh; the flavors and textures are exciting, each bite a little different from the last. And the pickled cherries! They’re the crown jewels of the dish, like little bursts of summer in all their sweet and tart glory.Print
Black rice salad with pickled cherries and hazelnuts: a crowd-pleasing, filling, and flavorful salad. Vegan and gluten-free.
- 1 pound cherries, pitted and stems removed
- 1 1/2 cups white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 1/3 cups dry black rice (aka Forbidden Rice)
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 4 ears of corn, husked
- extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the corn
- 1/2 pound pickled cherries (1 pint which is half of the recipe above)
- 1/2 cup mint, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup cherry pickling brine
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- sea salt, to taste
- Place pitted cherries in 2 heatproof pint jars. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over cherries and let cool. Cover and chill.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the rice. Combine 1 1/3 cups water, 1 1/3 cups black rice and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for a few minutes and set aside.
- Toast the hazelnuts. Once the oven is preheated, toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, coarsely chop, and set aside.
- Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, fresh orange juice, cherry pickling brine, olive oil, lemon zest, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Add salt to taste and set aside.
- Char the corn. Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium heat. Brush ears of corn with a bit of oil and grill, turning occasionally, until charred and blackened in spots, about 10 minutes. Let cool and cut kernels from the cobs.
- Assemble the salad. In a large bowl mix together the cooked black rice, charred corn, pickled cherries, and dressing. Add hazelnuts and mint right before serving and season with more salt to taste.
This salad will last up to 4 days in the fridge.
Keywords: black rice salad, black rice, cherry salad, hazelnut salad
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