rice salad with chickpeas, nuts, and sour cherries

This clean-out-your-pantry rice salad with nuts, chickpeas, and sour cherries makes for a festive and flavorful side dish or vegetarian main meal.
rice salad with nuts, chickpeas, and sour cherries

It always comes back to Ottolenghi.

Even when you’re lying in bed all weekend with a low grade fever and chills that rival last year’s Polar Vortex, his cookbooks are a bright spot in an otherwise cold sweat-filled existence.

What I’m trying to say is I keep one strapped to my stomach at all times. For safekeeping and constant inspiration.


So when this month’s Recipe Redux Challenge instructed us to grab the cookbook nearest to us and redux the recipe on either page 42 or 142 (to celebrate its 42nd month of existence!), it should be no surprise where I turned. Ottolenghi’s Plenty More is his second vegetarian cookbook, and unlike his first, which arranges the recipes by vegetable family, this one arranges them based on technique. Page 42 fell squarely in the middle of the “Steamed” chapter, and featured this grain salad that he describes as a “satisfying meal-in-a-bowl”.

Filled with wild rice, quinoa, and basmati rice it really will help you clean out the odds and ends in your pantry, though feel free to substitute these for whatever grains you need to use up! I added some chickpeas to the recipe to give it a bit more protein and substance, as well as omitted the arugula so that it could be made ahead of time and would keep better for quick lunches throughout the week. The resulting salad is chewy, crunchy, sweet, and tart. In every bite. It’s a winner for a weekday meal, but also as a super pretty salad to grace your holiday table. Basically, it works however you feel like serving it.

To see what other recipes were reduxed this month, check out these:


Rice Salad with Nuts, Chickpeas, and Sour Cherries
This clean-out-your-pantry rice salad with nuts, chickpeas, and sour cherries makes for a festive and flavorful side dish or vegetarian main meal.
Yield: 8-10 servings
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1¼ cups basmati rice
  • 5½ tbsp olive oil
  • ⅔ cup quinoa
  • 6½ tbsp sliced almonds
  • 7 tbsp pine nuts
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped
  • ⅔ cup dried sour cherries
  • 2 cups or 1 (14 oz) can cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, plus the grated zest of one lemon
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Place the wild rice in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes, until the rice is cooked but not mushy. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside to dry.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the basmati rice with 1 tbsp of olive oil and ½ tsp salt. Place in a saucepan with 1⅓ cups water. Bring to a boil and then lower to the lowest heat possible. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and place a tea towel over the pan. Replace the lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Uncover and allow to cool completely.
  3. In the same saucepan, add the quinoa and water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook for 9 minutes over low heat. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  4. Place the almonds and pine nuts in a small pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pine nuts are golden. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.
  5. In a large pan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, ¼ tsp salt, and black pepper. Cook over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, so that parts of the onions get crisp.
  6. Place all the grains in a large bowl, along with the chopped herbs, fried onion, chickpeas, nuts, and sour cherries. Add the lemon juice, remaining 3½ tbsp olive oil, and salt, to taste. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl

Β For more grain salads, check out these:

farro salad with butternut squash, red onions, and brie

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Red Onions, and Brie

vegetable sushi rice salad

Vegetable Sushi Rice Salad

roasted carrot and chickpea wheat berry salad

Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Wheat Berry Salad

From Around the Web:

Spaghetti Squash and Farro Salad from Sippity Sup

Kabocha Curry with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Farro from Reclaiming Provincial

Roasted Butternut Squash, Fig, Pomegranate and Whole Grain Salad from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Adobo Acorn Squash, Crispy Quinoa, and Jalapeno Chimichurri from Naturally Ella

Roasted Green Bean Red Pepper Quinoa Salad from Closet Cooking


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57 Responses to Rice Salad with Nuts, Chickpeas, and Sour Cherries

  1. Loving all of these fresh, bright flavors!!

  2. SO weird I had the same thing this weekend (though luckily it really only lasted a day and a half or so). Hope you are feeling much, much better!

  3. Haha! I can’t think of anything better being strapped to my stomach! I love this recipe, so hearty and full of flavor! Hope you’re feeling better!!

  4. Joanne,
    This rice salad is so stunning and beautiful. . and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Yotam Ottolenghi. hope you’re feeling better!!

  5. Love the sour cherries – and all the flavors and textures going on here!

  6. This salad looks so good! Love the flavours, those sour cherries sound amazing!

  7. I love all his books, and this salad looks spectacular!

    Hope you have a great holiday!

  8. This rice salad is nothing short of stunning! I love all the POPS of color and how light and healthy it looks! Hope you feel better soon, girl!

  9. This is my kind of rice and beans aka chickpeas! Loving all the colors and flavors going on here and Joanne – I sure hope you start feeling better!
    I am off to look for Ottolenghi’s Plenty More..

  10. I need this in my life. Stat. Pinned!

  11. rebecca says:

    looks so good, Merry christmas

  12. Kelly says:

    Oh no, hope you’re feeling better! Love all the flavors and colors of this rice salad!

  13. what a lovely dish- looks chock-full of goodness. i’ve never had ottolenghi, but these pictures have me convinced that needs to change (esp if it comes with sour cherries – anything with sour cherries).

  14. Mira says:

    This is just my type of salad! Love the ingredients! I hope you feel better, it is no fun to feel sick around the holidays!

  15. Have never tried a rice salad. Its always as a ‘side dish’ with curries. This one turned out to be a beautiful festive salad.

  16. Heather says:

    It seems like everyone was sick this weekend, which is actually okay because it hopefully means everyone will also recover by Christmas. πŸ˜‰

  17. SallyBR says:

    Never used sour cherries, must search for them…

    I also made one of his amazing salads this past weekend, with dates, orange segments… it was spectacular! I might blog about it next year πŸ˜‰

  18. Monica says:

    This looks absolutely delicious. You’ve inspired me to check out my pantry!

  19. Great idea Joanne! I think I will do the same and come up with a dish like yours! Thanks for the idea! πŸ™‚

  20. OMGoodness!!!! what fresh flavors!!!! Loving the chickpea with the sour cherries !!!!!!!! <3

  21. I never used to like fruit in salads, but now I am a big fan. I love that there is cherries in these. Yum!

  22. Love your photos. This salad would be perfect for a potluck I have coming up. Love the combination of ingredients.

  23. Wonderful flavours, Joanne. I can’t wait to try it!
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  24. Cailee says:

    This looks amazing!! Seriously soooo healthy!! Such a need break from all the desserts everywhere!! (not that they aren’t great… but we could use some healthy recipes up in here!!) …also sorry that you’ve been feeling sick!! Hope that you get well soon!!

  25. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Have a wonderful holiday Joanne πŸ™‚

  26. Oh, so pretty, delicious and festive, Joanne.

  27. Oh, this looks yummy! It’s so pretty, too.

  28. I just love your recipe redux posts. And this one looks FAB! Hope you start feeling better soon!

  29. This is such great picnic food. I am also having a moment with wild rice so I want all of this!

  30. Zainab says:

    Everything is so fresh and amazing!! I will be trying this πŸ™‚

  31. Hotly Spiced says:

    This Christmas I’ve been cooking a lot with dried sour cherries. I do love those cookbooks and you can stare the the photos for hours. He makes food look so beautiful. And this is a very colourful salad with a great variety of ingredients xx

  32. This is such a fresh and Christmassy recipe, I really like it πŸ˜€
    I haven’t tried sour cherries in anything but sweets before!

    Choc Chip Uru

  33. I don’t do quinoa, but everything else about this sounds superb!

  34. this is definitely my kind of dish!!! it looks pretty festive too.

  35. Amen, it does all get down to Ottolenghi! I need to pick up a copy of Plenty More soon.

    This rice dish is such a perfect side for any meal!

  36. Boy can you make a salad. I’m so hungry over here and this looks amazing. I need my PC to have smell-o-vision or something πŸ™‚

  37. Eileen says:

    This is exactly the kind of salad I love to make and have on hand for quick and delicious lunches all week. Yay!

  38. I love recipes that use up random things. Especially when I am about to move. However this time around I get to leave all those odds and ends with my parents to dela with, muahahah. Love this rice salad though so maybe I’ll make life easier on them.

  39. cheri says:

    Hope you feel better, love this rice salad.

  40. Oh no, I hope you get to feeling better! Certainly this gorgeous salad will help!

  41. Gotta love Ottolenghi. Thanks for sharing, Joanne. I am living vicariously through you with his new cookbook πŸ™‚

  42. What a great idea for a quick work lunch. I love the chickpea and rice combo!

  43. Reeni says:

    That couldn’t of worked out better. This looks absolutely delicious! It would make me feel better! I hope it helped!

  44. Sues says:

    I’m pretty impressed that this is what you eat when you’re cleaning your fridge out!! YUM.

  45. this looks so flavorful and full of fabulous textures!

  46. Love your vibrant and fresh looking salad, Joanne! Corina woke up today with a cold too,and hope that you will feel better soon πŸ™‚

  47. This sounds so healthy. Sadly we don’t get sour cherries here. I usually bring them home with me from London when we visit πŸ™‚

  48. Betty says:

    Lovely for lunches! πŸ™‚

  49. So many amazing recipes just before Christmas! This looks great Joanne.

  50. How weird is it that Oreos and Chickpeas are both considered a weakness of mine. I know you understand.

  51. You had me at Ottolenghi! Love this salad. Great flavor and texture!

  52. Katie Cavuto says:

    Yum!! This recipe looks like the perfect side dish for the holidays! Can’t wait to make it!

  53. Rebecca says:

    I LOVE Ottolenghi! I haven’t checked out Plenty More yet but I have both Plenty and Jerusalem, and this is A LOT like a recipe featured in the latter. I pretty much love every vegetable-laden recipe of his, and bet this one is equally amazing! πŸ™‚

  54. I love these kind of “clean the cupboard” salads!

  55. This is so bright and colorful – love this flavor combo!

  56. […] Rice Salad with Nuts, Chickpeas and Cherries — Joanne Eats Well With Others […]

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