Recipe: Sticky Black Rice With Lime and Mint Coated Nectarines

Ever noticed that the salads you order at restaurants are somehow more delicious than the ones you put together at home?  Every bite seems to have perfect crunch and zest, and a more satisfying, full flavour.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  By paying attention to flavour pairings and textures, as well as getting creative with seasonal ingredients, there’s no reason why you can’t whip up restaurant-worthy salads in your own kitchen.

South Africa is blessed with an abundance of home-grown produce, and as the end of summer nears, you should be taking full advantage of the stone fruit season.  Peaches, nectarines and plums are amongst the most versatile of fruits, and deserve a pride of place in your summer salads.  Having a repertoire of easy, yet delicious salad recipes also helps us serve up a tasty, balanced meal when family dinners are frequently disrupted by power cuts.

Consider some of the things that restaurant chefs may be doing differently when it comes to creating their ‘moreish’ salads:

  • Adding seasonings such as spices, herbs, honey and citrus to salad dressings that have a good balance of three parts oil to one part acid such vinegar or lemon or lime juice
  • Using a mix of greens for a variety of textures and flavours instead of one type of lettuce
  • Adding grains, legumes, noodles, seeds and nuts because a salad doesn’t have to be dominated by leaves
  • Using star ingredients that both stand-out and complement

It’s worth taking the time to recognise the ‘flavour bombs’ you can create using peaches, nectarines and plums as hero salad ingredients.  The bright sweetness of stone fruits pairs perfectly with a wide range of possible salad ingredients such as:

  • Cheeses – ricotta, mozzarella, blue cheese, goat’s cheese, brie and camembert
  • Meats – prosciutto, gammon, seafood, chicken and duck
  • Greens – rocket, lettuce, cress, shredded cabbage, baby kale and young spinach
  • Herbs – mint, basil, rosemary, tarragon, coriander and thyme
  • Spices – ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, black and cayenne peppers
  • Grains and legumes – barley, cous-cous, rice, quinoa, black beans and chickpeas
  • Nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, walnuts and peanuts
  • Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, flax and sesame seeds
  • Vegetables – red onions, garlic, fennel, radish, peas, carrots, bell peppers, chilies and baby marrows
  • Fruits – lemons, limes, blueberries, cape gooseberries, tomatoes and avocados

For inspiration, here is an irresistible stone fruit salad recipes compiled by Juicy Delicious and created by cookbook author, Justine Drake:

Sticky Black Rice With Lime and Mint Coated Nectarines


  • 1 cup (250 ml) black rice
  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (125 ml) coconut milk


3 nectarines, de-pipped and cut into thin wedges
Juice of 1–2 limes
1 handful mint, leaves removed
2 Tbsp castor sugar


  1. Soak rice in cold water for an hour. Rinse well.
  2. Place in a pot with water, stir, bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes.
  3. Stir in sugar and coconut milk, add a pinch of salt and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Meanwhile bash the mint leaves and sugar together until sugar is bright green.
  6. Just before serving, drizzle fruit with lime juice then toss to coat in mint sugar.
  7. Spoon fruit over cooled black rice and serve.

More stone fruit salad recipes:
Nectarine and Mozzarella Salad With Basil Vinaigrette by Sam Linsell
Crab Stick Salad With Nectarines and Plums by Jenny Morris

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