This hearty basmati rice salad is packed with flavor and makes for a perfect light lunch or dinner. Crunchy cucumbers, lots of fresh herbs, flaked salmon and some optional pickled fresno chilis round out this lively salad.
I love a salad you can eat with a spoon. I’m thinking I may need to start a subcategory on this site of Spoon Salads. Spring Couscous Salad would belong there as would this Edamame Salad. I digress… to get back to the point, because all of the ingredients in this salad are quite small you can get a little bit of everything in each spoonful – crunchy walnuts and cucumber, salty crumbled feta, fresh mint and a touch of richness from the salmon. Lemon juice, olive oil and a heaping sprinkling of Za’atar spice tie everything together.
Another nice thing about this salad is it works hot, cold or at room temperature. It’s also great for meal prep. It can be made ahead on a Sunday and zhuzhed up throughout the week with a little fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
This recipe presumes you already have cooked salmon on hand – if you don’t you can absolutely start from raw filets. Simply season two salmon fillets with a drizzle of olive oil followed by salt and pepper. Bake the salmon in a preheated 400F oven for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, you could even use a nice tin of smoked salmon or tuna in olive oil.
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Ingredients You’ll Need:
Scroll to the bottom of the recipe card for ingredient notes and substitutions.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Make the Rice
Steam the rice in a small pot. While that’s going flake the salmon into large chunks with a fork.
Step 2. Season and Toss
Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve or store right away.
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Salmon and Rice Salad with Garbanzo Beans, Feta and Mint
- 2 8 oz filets cooked salmon see notes for starting with raw salmon
- 1 cup long grain rice basmati or jasmine
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup roughly chopped mint and parsley leaves and/or dill
- 2 whole green onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or almonds or pistachios
- 1 tbsp za'atar spice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 heaping tbsp pickled fresno chilis optional
- Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, water, and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer the rice to a rimmed baking sheet, spreading the rice out on an even layer to mostly cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove and discard any skin on the salmon filets then use a fork to gently break the salmon apart into large, bite-sized flakes.
- Transfer the flaked salmon into a large mixing bowl along with the cooled rice, garbanzo beans, cucumber, feta, herbs, green onions, walnuts and fresno chilis if using. Season the salad with lemon juice, olive oil, za'atar spice, a generous pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Divide between bowls and serve.
- Salmon: This recipe presumes you already have cooked salmon on hand – if you don’t you can absolutely start from raw filets. Simply season two salmon fillets with a drizzle of olive oil followed by salt, pepper and any other seasonings you like. Bake the salmon in a preheated 400F oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cook then flake with a fork.
- Rice: I prefer a long grain basmati or jasmine rice for this recipe but really, any type of rice, grain or even couscous would work. Just be sure to adjust the cooking method depending on the type of grain you’re using.
- Za’atar Spice: Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend that varies greatly from region to region. It is typically a base of sumac, thyme, sesame, marjoram, or oregano. It can also contain salt, dill, and citrus zest. If you can’t find Za’atar you can sprinkle in a combination of dried oregano, dried thyme sesame seeds, paprika and/or sumac. Just use what you have on hand.
- Leftover salad can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve chilled or room temperature.