Wake up your taste buds with this Tropical Rice Salad! It's bursting with delicious sweet and savory flavors and packed with healthy fruits and veggies!
This post contains affiliate links.
It is so hot in Texas right now that my motivation to cook is practically nonexistent. I kind of wish dinner would just magically appear ... know what I mean?
I have to eat, so I've been making recipes that require as little cooking as possible, which means lots of salads. And the more packed they are with fresh fruits and veggies, the better!
This Tropical Rice Salad is exactly what I'm craving and actually have the motivation to prepare. It's filled with healthy ingredients and apart from the rice, there's no cooking required.
Sounds like the perfect summer recipe, right?
Tropical Rice Salad
This Rice Salad with pineapple and raisins was inspired by a dish I tried during a weekend in New Orleans last summer.
It was super hot and humid there, too, and I popped into Carmo Cafe for lunch. Their namesake salad, which was basically a fruit and veggie salad with rice, sounded perfect for a sweltering day.
I fell in love with that cold rice salad and knew that I had to recreate it when I got home. It took me a while, but I finally did it, and I think I have a new favorite recipe!
You are going to love this summer rice salad recipe just as much as I do ... I'm sure of it! This Tropical Rice Salad is packed with fresh fruit and veggies, crunchy macadamia nuts, and sweet golden raisins. And the Mango Lime Vinaigrette is to die for!
Best of all though, this Tropical Rice Salad is easy to make with practically no cooking required. Serve it as a main course or as a side dish for a bigger meal.
How to Make Rice Salad
This recipe is so simple to make! Watch the video below for a quick overview of how to make this cold rice salad:
You'll start by cooking the rice. I used white rice, but feel free to substitute brown rice (or another variety), if you prefer. This cold rice salad is also the perfect way to use up leftover rice.
Let the rice cool completely before you add all the delicious fresh fruits and veggies that this salad is packed with: cucumber, pineapple, and red pepper. Macadamia nuts, golden raisins, and cilantro add even more flavor and texture.
All those veggies and fruits are certainly tasty, but the amazing Mango Lime Vinaigrette pulls all the flavors in this Pineapple Rice Salad together. And it's so easy to make!
Simply blend together a diced mango, lime juice, olive oil, and seasonings in a food processor until smooth. (By the way, if you're unfamiliar with mangoes, check out my video with fun trick for how to peel a mango here.)
Then drizzle that yummy vinaigrette over your salad and mix well. Carefully fold in the avocado, then serve the salad over lettuce.
With its perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, this Tropical Rice Salad is sure to become a summer favorite ... make it tonight!
Pineapple Rice Salad Substitutions
Now that you know how to make this easy cold rice salad, feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste!
- Substitute your favorite fruits and veggies, such as zucchini, apples, or peaches.
- Add some protein. The Carmo Salad this recipe was based on includes ham (regular or vegan), but baked tofu or even chickpeas would also be delicious.
- Replace the golden raisins with a different dried fruit, like cranberries or apricots.
You could also use the Mango Lime Vinaigrette for other salads. Add a little honey or maple syrup to make it a little sweeter, if you'd like.
Looking for more Grain Salads?
If you enjoyed this easy rice salad, you'll want to try these recipes, too:
- Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Winter Kale Salad with Freekeh and Roasted Veggies
- Lentil Brown Rice Salad
- Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Freekeh Salad
While you're here, make sure to check out all my salad recipes!
Tropical Rice Salad
- 1 cup long grain rice*
- 1 teaspoon salt
For Mango Lime Vinaigrette:
- 1 mango, peeled and chopped
- 3 small limes, juiced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 small English cucumber, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
- ⅓ cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado, diced
- lettuce, for serving (optional)
- Combine rice and salt with 2 cups water in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook rice for 15 minutes, or until tender and water is absorbed.
- Remove rice from heat. Fluff with a fork, then allow rice to cool completely before combining with other ingredients.
- Combine mango, lime juice, olive oil, salt, cayenne, and pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Place cold rice in a large bowl. Add cucumber, red pepper, pineapple, macadamia nuts, raisins, and cilantro.
- Pour vinaigrette over rice, fruit, and veggies. Mix well, then season to taste with additional salt, if desired.
- Gently fold in avocado.
- Serve salad over lettuce, if desired. Enjoy!
What is your favorite recipe for hot summer days?