Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad

A delicious fall salad made with roasted pumpkin or butternut squash, pomegranate, pepitas, and blood orange vinaigrette. A great Thanksgiving side.

Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad w/ Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Are you sugared out yet? Since I already posted my one and only candy idea, I wasn’t quite sure what to make for today. I was going to skip this holiday post altogether until Jack came up with the genius thematic idea to make something with black forbidden rice. I had a pumpkin sitting on my countertop as well as some blood oranges… so naturally, I came up with the ultimate Halloween salad for this L&L Spook-tacular post. (That’s what Jack is calling it).

Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad w/ Blood Orange Vinaigrette Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad w/ Blood Orange Vinaigrette

I made a blood orange vinaigrette spiced with cumin, coriander, and a bit of cinnamon. I just love how the warm spices bring out the natural sweetness of the roasted pumpkin. (Of course, if you don’t feel like tackling a pumpkin, feel free to use butternut squash cubes instead).

Pomegranates worked well into my bloody little theme here, but they’re also a perfect pop of flavor with the orange.

Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad w/ Blood Orange Vinaigrette

The salad is finished with toasted pumpkin seeds and feta cheese – a super flavorful combination to hopefully offset your candy-induced sugar rush.

Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad w/ Blood Orange Vinaigrette

I hope you all have a happy & healthy Halloween weekend!

5.0 from 4 reviews

Forbidden Rice Pumpkin Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Serves: 2 as a meal, 3-4 as a side
  • 1 cup cooked black forbidden rice
  • 2 cups cubed pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 2 cups baby salad greens
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pepitas
blood orange vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a blood orange
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Toss cubed pumpkin/squash with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown around the edges (25-30 mins depending on your squash).
  3. Make your vinaigrette by whisking together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, blood orange juice, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Toss the cooked rice with the roasted pumpkin cubes, salad greens, dressing (as much or little as you like), pomegranate seeds, feta, and pepitas. Taste and adjust seasonings & serve.
cook rice: ½ cup rice to 1 cup water. (I use a rice cooker on the brown rice setting). Add more water if it evaporates and the rice is not yet soft.

I buy my black rice in the bulk section of my Whole Foods or Wheatsville Coop. If you can't find black rice, sub in quinoa (you can even get black quinoa if you're going for color).

Regular oranges can be substituted for blood oranges.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Sara Smith from

    That looks great!
    I have never tried it before. But your post is interested me, I will make it this weekend for my family.
    Thank you so much!

  2. I really like seeing recipes that are specific for vegetarians. Your recipes is so amazing and I love pumpkin salad! It is one of my favorite cheeses to use in any recipe.

  3. Sun

    Had this salad yesterday…made for 2, but ended up eating all by myself…too good to share. Delish!!!!!!!!

  4. Hope you had a lovely Halloween! I love your non-traditional spooky recipe – the pumpkin + pomegranate combo is blowing my mind. Can’t wait to give this a whirl!

  5. Shari

    This was delicious and will be made again and agin. I’m so glad I found your site! Since I’m attempting vegan, I left out the cheese.

  6. This looks amazing! I ate so much candy in the past few days, I definitely need this!

  7. Looks absolutely delicious. Plus the name – forbidden rice – makes it all the more alluring!

  8. Teffy from

    Looks super yum, I’ve always been a fan of black rice, especially if paired with pumpkin and pomegranate! Looks so so good!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  9. “Forbidden rice”? I admit, I had to look this one up. What a beautiful, dramatic salad! Love the blood oranges, too.

  10. Beautiful combination, and all of the flavours sound like they would really go well together! I’ve never cooked forbidden rice before though – does it take longer to cook? How does the flavour compare to brown rice?

  11. This looks so delicious Jeanine! I love pumpkin and the combination with the gorgeous rice and blood orange vinaigrette!?! BLOOD ORANGE!!! Sounds outta this world!

  12. Thanks for posting a non-candy recipe for the holiday. And that blood orange vinaigrette, wow! Black rice is one of my favorites, and I love platter salads like this – they’re a fun way to serve a group and to fill out a holiday meal spread.

  13. Oh my word this looks awesome! As soon as I read the title I though “what a clever Halloween post”! So loving the blood orange dressing. Thanks for sharing and Happy Halloween!

  14. Jessica from

    I have half a butternut squash in my fridge so this is perfect!! The combination of apple cider vinegar, orange and cumin sounds amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Maryna from

    I eat a very similar salad almost every morbibg now) But I’ll keep in mind the idea of a vinaigrette ) thanks for sharing and happy Halloween)

  16. I’m certainly sugared out. Whew. This salad is really speaking to me right now. Love the spooky colors!

  17. Alisa from

    We had a pumpkin themed dinner tonight. We had your curry coconut pumpkin soup, green salad from our garden, a pumpkin/rainbow chard/ caramelized onion/thyme galette and pumpkin bread with coconut whipped cream 🙂

    • jeanine

      yum, sounds like a great dinner! 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.