Hearty and Healthy Black Rice Salad

By Calmful Living Kitchen

With double the amount of fiber as brown rice and packed with antioxidants, black rice makes any rice dish healthy. The dark-hued grains also look pretty and offer a nutty flavor. This salad with chickpeas and sweet potatoes or squash makes for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Serves 4–6


5–6 large leaves of rainbow Swiss chard
¼ kabocha squash or 2 medium sweet potatoes (see note below), peeled and cubed
Sea salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1½ cups cooked black rice
2 tablespoons minced flat parsley leaves (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  1. Separate chard leaves from stems, using a knife or with hands. Chop stems into ½-inch pieces. Tear or slice leaves into medium-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add kabocha and salt. Bring back to boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook for 7–15 minutes (depending on squash) until soft but not mushy. Remove with a big slotted spoon; set aside.
  3. Bring water back to boil, add chard stems and simmer for 2 minutes. Add chard leaves and blanch for 1 more minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze with your hands to remove excess water.
  4. Warm coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. Increase heat to a medium high; add garlic, curry and cumin seeds and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add chickpeas, kabocha squash and chard and stir for 2–4 minutes until vegetables are heated through and the flavors are absorbed.
  6. Add chickpeas, vegetables and fragrant oil to a bowl with cooked black rice. Add in pine nuts and parsley, if using. Toss gently to combine. Taste; add salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed. Serve warm right away or store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature after refrigerating.

Note: If kabocha squash isn’t available, you can substitute baked or steamed sweet potato.

Recipe contribution: Anya Kassoff . Photo by Masha Davydova