Secrets to great rice salads?

When I was in college, there was a little cafe across the street from my freshman dorm that made the most amazing cold lemon chicken cold salad. Years ago, I tried to recreate it (lemony chicken, celery, fresh herbs, red onion, white rice) but never was able to. My cooking skills have since improved, so I'm going to try again.

What are your secrets for making tasty. non-sticky, non-goopy, rice salads with tons of flavor?



ktr April 18, 2015
I prefer rice salads made with wild rice because it doesn't get soggy as easily. I often mix it with orzo as well.
LeBec F. April 17, 2015
here are my thoughts:
--reice salad absorbs a TON of salt and any dressing/flavoring you throw on it. So taste it before you serve it and add seasoning as needed!
-- rice hardens in the frig so i prefer to dress the rice and veggies separately from the chicken- which needs to stay in the frig til close to when you eat it. Combine them before serving. This way, your rice keeps its nice texture and your chicken stays safe.
--If you CAN (you sound young enough to start some additional healthy habits!) --switch away from white rice to brown rice and other whole grains. I esp enjoy brown basmati rice and short grain brown rice (chewy.)

-- i use a ratio of ~1.75 cups liquid for 1 cup brown rice.
I always saute basati rice in med hot oil til toasted, before adding liquid; then bring to boil, add salt, cover and turn down to simmer.

-- the more textures you add to a rice salad, the more interesting. Consider adding nuts,seeds, dried fruits,beans, and other grains (wheatberries are a fav of ours- chewy and nutty.)
arcane54 April 18, 2015
Great tips, Le Bec Fin! I'll add a recommendation to quickly cool the rice by gently spreading it out on a cookie sheet. Left in the pot, it continues to cook and is more likely to become mushy in the salad.
Kristen W. April 16, 2015
One tip would be to cook the rice in stock instead of water to boost the flavor. If you don't have any stock handy, chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon works great for rice. In case your not familiar, it's a concentrate that you dilute with water, sold in most major supermarkets. Also, I wouldn't assume a 2:1 ratio for water to white rice, as a lot of recipes indicate. I use a lot of Trader Joe's jasmine rice, for example, and I like it best with a 1 1/4:1 water to rice ratio. Anyhow, nailing the ratio for the kind of rice you buy will help prevent gloppiness (or you can always cook and drain it like pasta to avoid any guesswork). And season the **** out of your chicken. Good luck - sounds yummy!
Healthline April 15, 2015
It's all about the seasoning and dressing! This Kale Rice Bowl is a great starting point...You can always replace the tofu for chicken
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