Forbidden Rice Salad

I love using forbidden rice as a base for my grain salads not only because I love how the black color lets all the beautiful colors of the vegetables shine, but also because of it’s impressive nutrient profile.

Forbidden rice has the highest antioxidant, fiber, and protein content compared to other rice varieties (white, brown, and red). Black rice is also a good source of plant based iron, which can be hard to get for vegetarians. This makes the perfect #meatlessmonday dish.

This type of rice got labeled “forbidden” due to its ancient Chinese history of being reserved only for royalty. Luckily today we can all eat like royalty!



(serves 6 as side dish)

forbidden rice salad
  • ⅔ cup black rice

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed

  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1 bag of baby spinach (or leafy green of choice)

  • 1 cup pistachio nuts, chopped (pecans also taste great in this dish)

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup

  • Pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high eat. Add the rice and lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl toss squash with salt and 1 tbsp oil

  3. Spread evenly on a aluminum of parchment covered baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Sauté  the baby spinach in a pan with 1 teaspoon of oil

  5. Whisk together the remaining oil, lemon juice, honey and pepper in a bowl

  6. In a large serving bowl, mix together the rice, spinach, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, and squash. Mix in the dressing and serve! Tastes great hot or cold. **Add the pomegranate seeds right before serving to retain the bright color