Forbidden Black Rice Salad is a colorful salad with black rice, mozzarella cheese, basil, tomatoes, and olives. Drizzle with a balsamic dressing and serve!

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

Blank Form (#3)

Enter your email below and we'll send the recipe straight to your inbox (and more recipes sent weekly!)

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

We love to serve this in the summer with this Cucumber Salad Recipe with Pineapple and Cilantro!

Black Rice Salad

The true reward of gathering, my friends, is truly the conversation around the table. As much as I talk about recipes and easy entertaining, my heart was very happy this last week, as we hosted several dinners in our home.

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
  • Dijon mustard
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Kalamata olives
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Fresh basil

bowl of beautiful black rice salad with yellow and red tomatoes, cheese, and basil

Forbidden Black Rice Salad

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

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

Why is black rice forbidden?

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

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

Important conversations

One night there were ten of us gathered around our square large table. My husband led the conversation in light of what is happening in the world, and we left room for each guest to speak.

Our table is about being real, offering space to listen and learn. Multigenerational meals have happened year after year, and the different perspectives are so important.

More than ever, entertaining in our home is way more than setting the table, the menu, or the music playing in the background (although these aspect do help create a pleasing environment).

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

Risk around the table

Our goal is to show people who we really are. For years, Paul and I have been mixing friend groups, inviting new people, introducing and welcoming in new neighbors.

I’ll admit, it’s not always easy to be the first to ask a hard question at the table. My husband is good at leading the conversation, and reeling it in.

There’s risk in asking questions around your table, but the reward ultimately is diving deeper into the lives of others, and creating a space where people can be heard.

Friends, this is truly the reason why we bring people together so much in our home!

4.09 stars (12 reviews)
Leave a Review

Get the Recipe:

Forbidden Black Rice Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe


  • 4 cups cooked black rice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, chopped (plus extra)


  • Cook the rice according to package directions; cool.
  • For the vinaigrette, combine Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a small dish. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust accordingly. 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.
  • 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.
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

close up black rice salad with tomatoes, basil, cheese