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Salad of Black Rice, Beets, Apples, and Aged Cheddar

Salad of Black Rice, Beets, Apples, and Aged Cheddar

Renée Robinson

There’s Some Really Good Stuff Going on Here.

Here I am with another rice salad. And what a beauty it is. Black rice lends itself so well to salads that I’ve kind of been hooked on it for awhile. It has the perfect texture for a salad because it doesn’t ever get mushy when I mix it with the dressing. It has a firm chewiness that I can’t seem to get enough of and it’s also beautiful. I like Italian Venere black rice * better than Chinese black rice in salads. The grains seem to stay more separate and lend themselves very well to being mixed with other ingredients.

The deep purple color of the rice got me to thinking about combining it with some roasted beets. There’s no such thing as too much beautiful color, right?

I also thought a crisp sweet/tart apple would work well to add some sharpness to the overall flavor of the salad. I wanted even more crunch, so I diced up a carrot, sliced some scallions and tossed them to the rice and the dressing. Plenty of Dijon mustard, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, a little crushed fennel seed, and olive oil finished off the dressing. After adding salt and pepper, it was good to go.

I’ve kind of been on an aged English cheddar cheese jag recently. There is aged cheddar and then there is really great aged English cheddar and there is a huge difference in the flavor. If you can get your hands on some of the really good stuff, I encourage you to try it out here in this salad. I crumbled up a couple ounces of the cheese and scattered it on top of the salad, along with some toasted pistachios and a few parsley leaves. Nothing more was needed.

It was so good I could hardly stand it. Yeah, I’m really drawn to these kinds of recipes. There’s just so much going on flavor-wise  and texture-wise. I recommend serving it with something simple because this will be the star of the show. Simply grilled lamb chops or sausages would work particularly well with this recipe. Or this could be the main attraction. In my opinion, nothing else is really needed. This salad really does have it all.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, may pay me a small commission and help support the costs of this website. Read full privacy policy here.

Salad of Black Rice, Beets, Apples, and Aged Cheddar

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Black rice salad with roasted beets, honey crisp apple, aged cheddar, and pistachios comes together with a bright dressing made of Dijon mustard, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup and crushed fennel seeds. So much flavor and interesting textures make for a superb salad.

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  • 8 ounces 8 red beets, scrubbed and trimmed

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Morton’s Kosher salt

  • 2 cups 2 Italian Venere black rice *

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons 2 pomegranate molasses

  • 1 tablespoon 1 pure maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 fennel seeds, roughly crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 Morton’s kosher salt

  • Black pepper, coarsely ground

  • 1 large 1 carrot, finely diced

  • 6 6 scallions, sliced approximately 1/8 inch thick, both white and green parts

  • 1 1 honey crisp apple, cored and chopped into 3/4 inch thick pieces

  • 2 ounces 2 aged white cheddar cheese, crumbled into coarse chunks

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 toasted pistachios, coarsely crushed

  • Few sprigs Few flat leaf parsley for garnishing


  • Preheat the oven to 400° with a rack in the center. Place the beets on a large piece of foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Wrap tightly in the foil, place on a baking sheet and roast for 40 - 60 minutes, until tender when pierced with a paring knife. The amount of time needed will depend on the size of your beets. Set aside until cooled. Rub off the skin with a paper towel, and slice into 3/4 inch cubes, reserving the juices in the foil from when they roasted. Place in a small bowl, drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, the reserved juices, and sprinkle on a good pinch of salt. Stir and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil (approximately 10-12 cups of water). Add 1 tablespoon Morton’s kosher salt. In the meantime, thoroughly rinse the rice in a fine meshed strainer until the water runs clear. Add it to the pot of boiling salted water, reduce the heat to medium high, or whatever heat level your stove requires in order to keep it at a medium boil level, and cook until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Black rice will remain chewy when it’s done. It took 25 minutes for mine to fully cook. Drain, spread out on a sheet pan, and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt, and plenty of coarsely ground black pepper. Slowly add 2/3 cup olive oil while whisking. Place the rice in a large bowl. Add the carrots and all the dressing. Stir gently, but mix well. Add the scallions and stir gently. Taste for seasoning. Mine needed additional salt and pepper.
  • Place the chopped apples into a small bowl. Drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and several grinds of black pepper.
  • Spread the rice onto a large platter. Scatter the beets on top. Mound the chopped apples in the center. Scatter on the chunks of cheddar, the pistachios, and the parsley leaves. Top with more ground pepper, serve, and Enjoy!

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