Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

I try to get all of my grocery shopping done on Friday night on my way home from work. I love grocery shopping, but if I don’t try to squeeze it in between 5pm and dinner my first glass of wine on a Friday, it takes up too much of my Saturday or Sunday. I hem and haw over what to cook for lunch and dinner for week, what to make for the blog, furiously flipping through cookbooks, Bon Appétit, Food and Wine, Cooks Illustrated, Pinterest and by the time I’m out the door, half of Saturday is gone and I’m starving.

Friday night grocery shopping doesn’t necessarily mean my decision making is easier, but it forces me to commit ahead of my old schedule. Last week, I decided to buy ingredients for a “Chinese salad” because 1. more salads and 2. Chinese New Year. The new South End Whole Foods has TWO AISLES of bulk bins and when I spotted bulk black rice (aka forbidden rice), I had a salad vision and went with it.

Orange and Almond Black Rice Salad with soy ginger vinaigrette is full of flavor and texture. If you’re like me and need a break from all the heavy winter foods, this salad will be satisfying. It’s filling, but full of light and crunchy veggies, like cabbage, snap peas and scallions. Isabel has been encouraging me to make these sesame clusters for a while now, and I regret not having made them sooner. Along with the roasted almonds, the sesame clusters give the salad another dimension, making it heartier and more filling than most, perfect as a main dish.

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfreeWHY IT’S HEALTHY// Orange and almond black rice salad is gluten free, dairy free and vegan (if you omit the sesame clusters, which contain egg whites). Black rice or forbidden rice is rather high in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, the antioxidants that also add valuable nutrients to blueberries, grapes, blackberries, dark cherries, raspberries and acai berries.  Sesame seeds contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin E,  B vitamins, zinc and calcium. Almonds are full healthy polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid as well as vitamin E. Oranges (or clementines) provide fiber, potassium and vitamin C. //

Other healthy Chinese inspired recipes for the New Year:

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfreeOrange + Almond Black Rice Salad | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

Orange + Almond Black Rice Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Orange and almond black rice salad is served with snap peas, cabbage and ginger vinaigrette, full of flavor and crunch. Gluten free and vegan.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6 servings
For the rice and assembly :
  • 1 cup black rice (aka forbidden rice)
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, large ones sliced in half
  • 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 small bunch scallions (reserve 2 for the dressing), thinly sliced
  • 1 large orange or 2 clementines, peeled, separated, seeds removed and sliced in half
  • ½ cup unsalted raw almonds, toasted
  • 1 small red chile (I chose a mild one), chopped
For the sesame clusters (omit for vegan - see notes):
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds
For the ginger soy vinaigrette:
  • 2 green onions (from small bunch for the salad)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey (agave or sugar for vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the rice:
  1. Rinse the rice well, then add to a small sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the sesame clusters:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk egg white in a small bowl until slightly foamy; whisk in sugar, salt, and Chinese Five Spice. Add sesame seeds and toss to coat.
  2. Spoon sesame mixture in clumps on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool.
For the vinaigrette:
  1. Make the vinaigrette: add all ingredients except the olive oil into a high speed blender (I used my Vitamix) until well combined. Turn to a low speed and slowly add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  1. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients (except for the sesame clusters) to the cooled rice. Pour the vinaigrette over and toss to coat. When ready to serve, add in desired amount of sesame clusters. For vegan, simply sprinkle with sesame seeds.
To make this vegan, omit the sesame clusters and add about ½ cup of toasted sesame seeds to the salad before serving.

Vinaigrette adapted from Bon Appétit. Sesame clusters adapted from Bon Appétit.



  1. hannah phoebe says

    Do you think the sesame clusters could be made vegan by using a liquid sweetener with the salt and spice to hold the seeds together?

    I love all the bright colours of the salad! Happy Year of the Sheep!

    • says

      Hi Hannah! I’ve never tried making them with a liquid sweetener and without the eggs, but there are some similar vegan sesame recipes out there. Try searching “sesame brittle.” I hope this helps!

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