Jeweled Rice Salad

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Perfect for your next weekend cooking project or special occasion side dish, this vibrant, fragrant version of Persian Jeweled Rice Salad features butternut squash, toasted pistachios and almonds, warm spices, and tender dried fruit!

This post is written in partnership with Filippo Berio.

Jeweled rice is a feast for the senses. This Persian dish, often reserved for special occasions, traditionally includes many-colored “jewels”—emerald pistachios, ruby barberries, and almond pearls.

In the traditional version, the rice is laced with fragrant saffron and warm spices like cinnamon and coriander. Yep, you guessed it: Your kitchen will smell divine. This dish is a bit of work, but has definite “wow” factor that’s sure to impress at your next party or gathering.

Video! Jeweled Rice Salad

What Kind of Rice Should I Use?

While jeweled rice is usually made with basmati rice, we used wild rice in this adaptation for its earthy flavor and slightly crunchy texture. Its dark color also sets off the beautiful multicolored “jewels.”

What’s the Best Olive Oil to Use?

For this recipe, we used Filippo Berio Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as it’s slightly fruity and fragrant—a perfect fit for jeweled rice! It’s mild in flavor, making it super versatile for salads of any stripe.

Make it Your Own

A few ingredients in traditional jeweled rice recipes are tough to find (or pricey), so for our version, cranberries stand in for the barberries and turmeric replaces the saffron.

To make the dish more substantial, we added roasted butternut squash cubes and perked everything up with spritely mint leaves.

If you like, consider this recipe a template and feel free to make your own variations. Swap out the fruits with some of your favorite dried fruits chopped into small pieces, or add different nuts.

What to Serve with Jeweled Rice Salad

As a side dish, we love serving jeweled rice with a plain roast chicken or grilled kebabs, and perhaps a simple cucumber and tomato salad.

If you want to make this dish a vegetarian entree, stir in a can of drained chickpeas, and serve with a leafy salad and some warm pita or naan.

Can I Make This Ahead?

While we wouldn’t advise freezing this, you could prepare all of the components a day ahead and store them separately. Place them in separate containers and store in the refrigerator. You could also toast the nuts, but keep them in a closed container at room temperature so they stay crunchy.

Before serving, bring all the ingredients to room temperature and mix them together. You may not be hosting a gala, but this beautiful dish will make any gathering feel like a special occasion!

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Jeweled Rice Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 half butternut squash, peeled (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons Filippo Berio Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup finely diced apricots
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (from about 1/2 pomegranate)
  • 1 handful of torn mint leaves

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Filippo Berio Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

1 Cook the rice: In a large pot, bring 8 cups water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the rice, return the water to a boil, and immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Drain in a sieve or fine-mesh colander. Transfer to a large bowl.

2 Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 450ºF. On a rimmed baking sheet, mound the squash in the center. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the squash, massaging the olive oil into the cubes to coat them.

Spread in one layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove and cool on the baking sheet.

 3 Toast the nuts: In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds and pistachios until the almonds are golden and the nuts are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. 

4 Cook the onions and bloom the spices: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Over medium heat, cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the ground cinnamon, ground coriander, turmeric, and ground cloves. Stir for 30 seconds.

Fold in the cranberries, raisins, and apricots and remove from heat.

 5 Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Taste and add more salt or pepper, as desired.

6 Assemble the salad: Add the squash, toasted nuts, onions, spices, dried fruits, and orange zest to the bowl of rice. Toss with half the dressing (you will have more than you need). Taste and add more salt, pepper, or dressing as desired.

 7 Serve: Mound the rice on a platter or in a serving bowl, and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. Serve at room temperature.

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6 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Judy

    Great salad, I used mangoes instead of squash because I had them. Did find pomegranates.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Caryl

    I found the pomegranates at Walmart and my husband and I enjoyed this salad for lunch today. This will be on my “Keeper List”!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. H. Valli

    Do leftovers store well? I cook for one and then bring leftovers to work for the next week. Is this something that would work for that?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Caryl

    Can I substitute crasins(sp) for pomegranates ? The poms are no longer available in the stores here.

    Show Replies (1)
Jeweled Rice Salad