Rice Salad with Dried Cherries and Almonds

A recipe for Tart Cherry Weeks! Here’s a simple, savory use of dried sour cherries—in a salad that incorporates Persian and Middle Eastern flavors. Serves 4 as a side dish (and the recipe is easily doubled).

What You’ll Need

  • saucepan (to cook the rice)
  • bowl for the salad
  • skillet for toasting the almonds (if not already toasted)
  • spoon
  • jar for mixing the dressing
  • measuring cups (liquid and solid)
  • measuring spoons
  • cutting board and knife
  • juicer for the lemon


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock1
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little extra for the rice
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper

Making the Rice Salad

  1. Rinse the rice. Warm a little olive oil to a saucepan, then add the rice, cooking until it is coated with the oil.
  2. Add the stock or water. Bring to a boil. Add some salt (1/2 to 1 tsp) if you are using low-sodium stock. Then give the rice a quick stir, cover, turn heat down to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then take off lid and fluff with a fork.
  3. When the rice is done cooking, place it in a bowl and let cool a bit (5 minutes).
  4. Add the cherries and almonds, incorporating them into the rice.
  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the rice mixture and mix it in well.
  6. Shake the oil and lemon juice in a jar until well mixed.
  7. Pour the dressing over the rice salad and mix well with a spoon.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle the mint leaves over the salad, then mix with a spoon to incorporate them throughout.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This recipe is pretty basic and amenable to additions. You can add pistachio to (or in place of) the almonds. Some chopped green onions add flavor, as does a bit of cardamom. Include some cooked chicken and you’ve got a main dish.


1If you don’t have enough stock, you can use a mixture of stock and water or all water—just make sure you have 2 cups