This salad is a combination of my love for grain-based salads, some mangoes I had in the house (they were on sale at the supermarket), and a pile of cucumbers I picked up at the farmer’s market. I adore the combination of the sweet, soft mangoes and the savory, crunchy cucumbers here. Also, the colors were so pretty! It just looks refreshing. It’s a great side dish for a warm day along with something on the grill for the main course.
For me this salad started with the mangoes, sitting on my counter getting sweeter by the day and a desire to make something new with a couple of them. (The rest destined for the simple but satisfying fate of being sliced and eaten.) Enter farmer’s market day with some cucumbers and scallions combined with the need for a side dish that evening and the rice cooker came out almost without having to think about it.
Whatever way you cook your rice, get it started first. While it is cooking, or after it’s done when it’s cooling in the bowl, you’ll have plenty of time to chop the vegetable and mix the salad dressing. The recipe will take about 1 hour from start to finish (since the rice takes 40 minutes by itself), or, if you have some leftover rice from the night before, 10 minutes to get on the table.
I highly recommend brown basmati for any recipe, like this one, where you want firm and separate grains of rice. It’s our standard rice here when we want plain, steamed rice or rice salad or any time we are looking for flavorful rice with minimal stickiness.
Definitely peel the mango. Mango skin is edible but I wouldn’t recommend eating it. Mango skins are bitter and can cause allergic reactions. I like to slice along the pit on either side, then peel off the skin, and then dice. (And then chop off the last, little bits along the sides and then give the pit to my daughter so she can finish it off.)
Peeling the cucumber is up to you! If the skin is thick or bitter or waxed, go for it, otherwise the green of the skin does look very pretty in the salad. Also, if your cukes are seedy, slice the cucumber lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop them out.
This recipe will do well if made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Just bring back to room temperature before serving.
Mango, Cucumber, and Brown Rice Salad
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice, such as basmati, texmati, or jasmine
- 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped 1/2 inch dice
- 1 medium cucumber, chopped 1/2 dice, peeled if necessary
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar, or cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Rinse rice in cold water and drain.
- Cook rice according to package directions, adding 1/4 tsp kosher salt to water.
- When rice is done, remove it from the heat and scoop into a large bowl, fluffing and spreading it out a bit to cool, about 10 minutes.
- The rice will still be warm, but now is the time to add the dressing. Mix all dressing ingredients and toss with rice to coat.
- Cool rice another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally so it cools evenly. Then add in mangoes, cucumber, scallions, and parsley. Toss to mix thoroughly and serve.
- Inspiration: Adapted from Basmati Rice Salad with Mango and Cucumber in Fine Cooking.
- Rinsing the rice: This is an important step since it removes some of outer starch and keeps the rice from sticking when you toss with the dressing!