Pomegranate Rice Salad

This rice salad recipe will brighten up any fall or winter meal! Studded with pomegranates, pistachios, and herbs, it's a stunning, fresh holiday side dish.

Pomegranate rice salad

How pretty is this rice salad? If you’re looking for an easy holiday side dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor, this recipe is just the thing for you. It’s simple, you can prep it ahead of time, and it’s richly flavorful. A spiced citrus dressing coats the hearty rice, nuts add crunch, and herbs give it fresh, aromatic flavor. Last but not least, a sprinkle of pomegranate arils takes it over the top!

Recipe ingredients on marble

Today, we’re partnering with POM Wonderful because Jack and I love pomegranates! He likes to snack on them and I like to use them in salads, dips, and more. They’re known for their antioxidant goodness, and they’re a good source of fiber, but most importantly (for me), they add a brilliant ruby red pop of color and a sweet burst of flavor to holiday recipes like this one!

Rice Salad Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy rice salad recipe:

  • Rice, of course! I used a mix of wild rice, brown rice, and basmati rice, but just one or two varieties of rice would work just as well. Steer clear of short grain rice – wild rice, long grain white rice, and long grain brown rice have the best texture for this recipe.
  • Pomegranates – They add the perfect pop of bright color and flavor.
  • Herbs – Mint leaves and finely chopped parsley fleck this rice salad with green, and they add lovely fresh flavor.
  • Scallions and garlic – They add savory depth of flavor to contrast with the sweet, tangy dressing and fresh herbs.
  • Nuts, for crunch! I love the bright green color of pistachios in this recipe, but walnuts would be great too.

To tie it all together, I make a warmly-spiced citrus dressing with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, fresh orange juice, maple syrup, white wine vinegar, and olive oil.

To make this recipe, start by cooking the rice. As it cools, whisk together the dressing. Then, lightly sauté the scallions and garlic. Stir the cooked rice into the pan, along with the nuts, half the dressing, and some parsley. Transfer the brown rice salad to a serving dish, drizzle it with more dressing, and top it with more parsley, mint, and fresh pomegranate arils. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm, and enjoy!

Wild and brown rice and scallions in a skillet

Easy Rice Salad Recipe Tips

  • Get ahead. If you cook the rice and make the dressing in advance, this dish comes together in minutes.
  • Lighten it up. If you’d prefer to serve this recipe as a lighter veggie side dish, substitute cauliflower rice or broccoli rice for some or all of the regular rice.
  • Make it a meal. I love to enjoy this rice salad as a meal on its own! I top it with roasted chickpeas for protein and serve it with a roasted veggie like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, or butternut squash with a drizzle of tahini sauce. It tastes just as good at room temperature as it does warm, and it holds up well on the go, so pack it for a healthy lunch (see this post for my best lunch-packing tips and ideas!).

Brown rice salad recipe in a serving dish with spoon

More Favorite Grain Recipes

If you love this festive rice salad recipe, try one of these simple grain recipes next:

And for more healthy rice recipes, check out this post!

rice salad

If you have extra pomegranates after making this recipe, add them to cookies, top them onto salads, sprinkle them over hummus, stuff them into squash, or enjoy them as a snack!

Pomegranate Rice Salad

rate this recipe:
4.86 from 14 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 4 to 6
Flecked with red, white, and green, this rice salad recipe is a festive holiday side dish. However, it's so delicious that we make it all fall and winter long! Make ahead tip: Cook your rice in advance and store it in the fridge until you're ready to make the recipe.


  • 4 cups cooked long grain rice, any kind - see options below
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup toasted, chopped pistachios
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • cup fresh mint leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Roasted Chickpeas, optional


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic, pinches of salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute until soft. Reduce heat to low and add the cooked rice, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up any clumps. Heat until warmed through. Turn off the heat and stir in the dressing, pistachios, parsley, and pomegranates. Top with mint leaves and roasted chickpeas, if using. Season to taste and serve.


To cook brown/wild rice mix: Combine 1 cup rinsed rice, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Makes 3 cups cooked rice.
To cook white basmati rice: Combine 1 cup rinsed rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork. Makes 3 cups cooked rice.

Special thanks to POM Wonderful for partnering on this post!



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Janis

    5 stars
    Served it cold for a summer full meal salad. Added a can of drained and rinsed chick peas. Fabulous!

  2. Mimi

    5 stars
    Delicious and versatile , will be a go to recipe for me !

  3. Whack

    Have you done this with Quinoa?

    It has more protein and a lower glycemic load

  4. Elizabeth

    5 stars
    Absolutely AMAZING. What a lovely Holiday or Winter / Fall Meal. I didn’t mix it all together, but let people assemble it themselves. Super clever meal. Frank said he could eat it everyday ; ) Question for you. . . Is this Moroccan Inspired?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Elizabeth, I’m so glad you all loved it! The spices are vaguely Moroccan, but I didn’t have anything like it while I was there, so it’s not an authentic dish.

  5. duncan

    5 stars
    So good. Perfect accompaniment to veggie kebabs.

  6. Stephane

    5 stars
    Sounds and looks great. I’m making this for Thanksgiving. Hope it taste as good as it looks. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

  7. PJ

    5 stars
    I had this recipe on my “wish list” for some time. Your recent post on rice recipes reminded me of that 😉
    I happened to have everything at home and used a rice-quinoa mixture.
    I really liked it and my husband also took seconds 😀
    Thank you very much for inspiration and many ideas on your website!

  8. Madeline

    5 stars
    Quarantine cooking – used what I had and this was a great, quick lunch!
    I had cilantro (instead of mint) on-hand and no pomegranate but it came together nicely.

  9. Angela

    I see pistachios in the ingredients, but not mentioned in the instructions. Are these tossed in with the scallions and heated or used as garnish?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thanks for pointing that out – just fixed in in the recipe!

  10. Maria Elena Gordon

    This recipe looks delicious.

  11. jaynorman

    I would definitely try this with my mom but I have to get a replacement nitto tires first so I could drive a 40 mile to her house.

  12. Linda

    5 stars
    So good! I had some steamed brocoli and it was delicious. Thanks!!!

    • Linda

      5 stars
      So good! I mixed some steamed brocoli and it was delicious. Thanks!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

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.