Japanese-Style Rice Salad

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Whether it’s tender and tasty short-grain, astonishingly fragrant basmati or superchewy red, brown and black varieties, rice is one salad ingredient that does not deteriorate when dressed. It absorbs and thrives on the addition of liquids.


MAKES: 4 to 8 Servings
PREP/COOK TIME: 60 minutes

  • 1 ½ to 2 cups short-grain brown or white rice
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped scallion
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped or shredded celery
  • ¼ cup finely chopped or shredded carrot
  • 1 cup firm tofu, preferably baked, optional
  • 6 tablespoons miso paste
  • ¾ cup warm water or sake
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin or honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, or more to taste
  • 2 sheets of nori, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Cook rice in abundant salted water, as you would pasta, until it’s just done; white rice will take 10 to 15 minutes, brown 30 or a little longer. Drain, rinse in cold water, drain again, then combine with vegetables and tofu in a large bowl.
  2. Put black pepper, miso, water or sake, sugar, mirin or honey, and vinegar in a small bowl, and whisk together. Taste, and add more vinegar and a pinch of salt, if needed.
  3. Combine rice mixture with miso dressing with 2 big forks, fluffing rice and tossing gently to separate grains.
  4. Crumble nori over salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds, taste, and adjust seasoning or moisten with a little more dressing. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day, bringing salad back to room temperature before serving.

Storage Will keep in the refrigerator a day however it is best fresh.

Adapted from one of Mark Bittman's recipes


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