Black Rice Caprese salad is a colorful salad with forbidden rice (black rice), mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and olives; drizzled with a balsamic dressing!

close up forbidden (black rice) salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese balls

We love this Black Rice Caprese Salad served cold, at room temperature, or even slightly warmed (which melts the cheese). The flavors of balsamic, tomatoes, and fresh basil makes this caprese salad my favorite summer salad for guests!

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Black Rice Caprese Salad

This salad is also so colorful and a great gluten-free option. Black rice is naturally gluten-free and is a good ingredient to use for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Even though we are not experts with gluten-free diets, this salad has proven to be a real crowd-pleaser (our guests rave about it).

Read more: Black Rice Caprese Salad
black bowl of black rice salad with cheese, tomatoes, and basil

Why I love this recipe

  • It comes together quickly.
  • Great for a dinner party (as it’s a gluten-free salad).
  • Perfect for summer months with fresh tomatoes and basil. Delish!
black bowl of black rice salad ingredients: forbidden rice, mozzarella cheese balls, cherry tomatoes, olives, and basil

Ingredients for Rice Salad

  • Cooked forbidden black rice: we buy at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods
  • Dijon mustard
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grape tomatoes: or fresh heirloom or garden tomatoes
  • Kalamata olives
  • Mozzarella balls: you can use the ones that are marinated if you prefer
  • Fresh basil
bowl of beautiful black rice salad with yellow and red tomatoes, cheese, and basil

How do you make Black Rice Caprese Salad?

The pleasantly earthy flavor of black rice pairs well with the balsamic vinaigrette. If you can’t find it, use wild rice instead.

  1. Cook the rice according to package directions; cool.
  2. Make the vinaigrette: combine Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a small dish. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust accordingly.
  3. Toss the cooled rice with the vinaigrette, but reserve a little for the end.
  4. Add handfuls of tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella cheese into the rice. Add chopped fresh basil. Gently mix.
  5. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, and add salt and pepper. Serve cold or room temperature, or heated to warm. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves.

Tips and substitutions:

  • Swap out the black rice for regular rice.
  • You can use grape tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes (will be juicy).
  • Double the recipe for a large party! (or triple!)
  • Meal prep is easy, and I love to make this recipe early in the day when we are entertaining. The flavors really settle in, and it can even be made the day before!
deconstructed black rice salad with olives, cheese, tomatoes, and basil

More info on forbidden black rice

Here’s some interesting facts. Antioxidant-rich black rice, also called forbidden rice or “emperor’s rice, earned its name because it was once reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure his health and longevity. It was forbidden to anyone else–thus the name.

This salad? Perfect served with these summer foods: Buttermilk Chicken Recipe, Watermelon Chile Lime Feta Salad, and this Ricotta Gnocchi with Berry Compote

And it’s hard to not go back for seconds … just sayin’!

black bowl of black rice salad with colorful tomatoes, cheese, and basil

More caprese salads to try:

4.16 stars (13 reviews)
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Black Rice Caprese Salad

Black Rice Caprese Salad is made with forbidden black rice, mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and olives; drizzled with a balsamic dressing! A great gluten-free option.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8
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Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups cooked black rice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1 ½ cups fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, chopped (plus extra)

Instructions
 

  • Cook the rice according to package directions; cool.

Mak the vinaigrette:

  • Combine Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a small dish. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust accordingly.

Assemble the salad:

  • Toss the cooled rice with the vinaigrette, but reserve a little for the end.
  • Add handfuls of tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella cheese into the rice. Add chopped fresh basil. Gently mix until combined.
  • Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, and add salt and pepper. Serve cold or room temperature, or heated to warm. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves.

Notes

Reposted from June 2020.
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad
Calories: 312kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 451mg, Potassium: 128mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 301IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 1mg
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Black Rice Caprese Salad