Basmati Rice Salad with Peas, Mint, and Lemon

Nothing says spring like peas and mint. My friend Kathi came over the other day and shared with me one of her favorite picnic salad recipes showcasing fresh English peas and mint. (Thanks Kathi!) Toss the shelled, blanched peas with some aromatic basmati rice, minced fresh mint leaves, a little lemon zest and juice, and a handful of raisins or currants and you have a delightful rice salad, which can double as a side for curry. Don’t like raisins? Use currants, chopped dried apricots, or leave them out entirely.

Basmati Rice Salad with Peas, Mint, and Lemon Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8.

Save time by prepping ingredients while the rice is cooking.

Sprinkle with some toasted cashews to the salad for added crunch.



  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice (which will yield 5 to 6 cups cooked rice)
  • 3 cups water (or more, depending on the package instructions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 2-inch strips of fresh lemon zest (use a vegetable peeler to take just the zest, not the whole peel, off of a fresh lemon)


  • 2 cups shelled English peas (from about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of shell-on peas), or 2 cups of frozen peas
  • Salted water for blanching (1 quart water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins or currants, plumped in enough water to cover the raisins for 5 to 10 minutes, then drained
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, including the greens (about 2 green onions)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh mint leaves (spearmint)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1 Cook the rice according to package instructions; include salt in the cooking water along with 2 strips of lemon zest.

2 If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the peas (larger older peas will take longer than smaller fresher peas). Strain peas from blanching water and place in a bowl of ice water to shock them and stop the cooking, then strain. If using frozen peas, they are already blanched, so defrost them by placing them in a strainer and running lukewarm water over them for a minute.

3 Once the rice is cooked, spread the rice out on a large baking sheet pan to cool quickly. Let cool for 10 minutes, or until room temperature. Place in a large serving bowl.

4 To the rice add the peas, raisins, green onions, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Toss to combine and serve.

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Rice Salad with Peas, Raisins, Lemon, and Mint on Simply Recipes


  1. June

    Mmm what a fresh and flavorful grain salad! Love the mint + lemon combination, and I’m sure it goes wonderfully with peas. :)

  2. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    Simple, refreshing and definitely a singer of spring salad. I think it might be one of those ‘sneaker’ recipes. It tastes different than you think it will with the raisins lurking in there and the mint that is really not that obvious visually etc.

  3. Mary Frances

    This salad looks beautiful and so refreshing! Perfect food for springtime!

  4. Ellen

    This was delicious. I delighted to find some fresh mint in my garden when I went to look! Its a little early for fresh peas here in Massachusetts with the cold spring that we have had but frozen baby peas were a fine substitute. I had some dried apricots on hand and added some chopped salted cashews. We enjoyed this with some bbq chicken and grilled asparagus.

  5. niketa malhotra

    Hi Elise..a really yummy tip is to fry a tsp of cumin seeds till they are lightly fragrant not burnt and some coriander leaves in some ghee and add to this salad just before really takes it up a notch.

  6. Sandy S

    Lovely recipe! I will keep this in mind for when I am wondering ‘what to do with the rice?’ I love gravies, but they do not love me. So, this is absolutely the way to go. And, it’s so pretty!
    BTW – Ellen above, WOW! I will eat at your table any day. That sounds like a great combination!

    • Ellen

      Thanks Sandy, it was the best meal of the week and I got to use local asparagus and mint from my garden!

  7. caprisserie

    Yummy! Looks very delicious! I am so hungry right now!
    xxx from germany

  8. Wuraola

    Thank you Elise,
    I have just cooked it with my grandchildren. We found it so delicious. My grandchildren will continue to learn simple cooking through your site. Kudos!

  9. Janet

    Made this recipe today for tailgating and it was a hit! The lemon and mint combination is a perfect combination for basmati rice. Will make this dish again.

  10. The Persian Pot

    Dear Elise
    I have recently posted about a great rice cooking method in my blog. I love rice so much and I have been checking almost all the rice recipes in your blog, but I didn’t see any similar to one I have shared. So maybe (and hopefully) you will like it.

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