A colourful warm red rice salad with wild garlic, carrots and hazelnuts

I do enjoy inventing new salad combinations to suit the season, the lunch client and me! I love to talk about eating the rainbow, and this is definitely one of those dishes. Wild garlic is in season right now but if you can’t find any, spring onions and a garlic clove would be a good substitute.

The red rice in this room-temperature salad is gorgeous, cooks to nutty al dente and gets dressed while still warm to soak up the lovely flavours in the dressing.

It’s vegan, gluten free and dairy free, pops with textural interest provided by the slow-roasted heritage carrots and the toasted hazelnuts.

The rice itself is a superfood, with ten times the antioxidants of brown rice. The colour in the husk comes from nutrients the clay soil where it is grown (in Italy, in the Po valley), and it also has high levels of selenium but I don’t want to dwell on how healthy this ingredient is, just how delicious.

There are a few stages involved, but they can be done simultaneously. I serve this with cold roast beef, salmon fillets, griddled halloumi or aubergine as part of a lunch buffet.


Serves 4-6

1kg heritage carrots – a mix of colours (ordinary carrots would also be fine)

Small bunch of thyme, leaves only, lightly chopped

1 tbsp good quality extra-virgin olive oil (I use Orodeal, from GreatOil)

400g red rice (this is available in most supermarkets and health-food stores)

1 small bunch wild garlic, picked through and washed well (or substitute a bunch of spring onions and a garlic clove)

1 small bunch parsley, leaves only

30ml sherry vinegar

100ml good quality extra-virgin olive oil

150g hazelnuts, toasted and lightly crushed

Sea salt and coarse ground black pepper


Turn the oven on to 180C and line a roasting tray with baking parchment.

Peel the carrots and cut into chunks on an alternating diagonal (this just makes them more interesting than plain old chunks!)  Place them in a bowl with the thyme, olive oil, sea salt and coarse, freshly ground black pepper and toss together. Place them in the oven to roast, giving them a stir after 20 minutes for even cooking – you want them to start charring around the edges – probably 45-50 minutes depending on the size of chunk.

While the carrots are roasting, toast the hazelnuts on the oven on a tray underneath.

Next, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the rice. When it comes back to boil, turn down and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes. The grains will start to pop, check after 20 minutes so it doesn’t overcook and go mushy.

While the rice is still slightly chewy, strain into a colander and leave to steam.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and quickly blanch the wild garlic (no more than 1 minute), and the parsley. Drain and run under cold water. Give it a squeeze to get rid of excess water, lightly chop it before placing in a food processor with the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blitz well, taste and check the seasoning, this should be punchy with a good kick of salt and acidity to run through the rice. (If you don’t have a food processor or stick blender, just chop the garlic and parsley really fine.)

In a large bowl, add the rice while still warm, pour over the dressing and mix together thoroughly.

When the carrots are cooked, add them stir through with the chopped hazelnuts. Taste and check the seasoning, it may need more salt and pepper.

There are plenty more salad ideas and inspiration here.

© Linda Galloway 2021