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Asian Citrus Rice Salad

I love rice! I also love combining cooked food with raw food to make a very nutritious meal. This Asian Citrus Rice Salad does just that and is a delicious dish to make for lunch on the go or for a summer bbq. All the flavors of oranges, ginger, tamari and vinegar go so well together – YUM!


Brown basmati rice is perfect in this recipe because it hasn’t been stripped of its bran and germ (like white rice) where most of the nutrients are, and it still has a light and fluffy texture. Brown rice is one of the richest sources of manganese, a trace mineral that fights free radicals in the body. Along with the orange slices and green bell peppers, this salad is also high in vitamin C, an important antioxidant that helps prevent DNA damage. 

Choose your rice carefully…

When choosing brands of rice it is a good idea to contact the companies that you buy rice products from and ask them if they test for arsenic. Arsenic is a carcinogen that is prevalent in rice products, including some brands of brown rice. California grown rice has been shown to contain lower amounts of arsenic than rice grown in other parts of the country. I really like Lundberg Organic which is grown in CA and Alter Eco because they do regular testing and publish their results. If you don’t want to use brown rice in this recipe, wild rice or quinoa would be equally delicious!

Food Babe's Asian Citrus Brown Rice Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced
  • 6 ounces cooked cubed chicken or tofu (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (optional)
Asian Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (vegan: use coconut palm nectar)
  • ¼ cup low sodium tamari
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons filtered water
  1. To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until fully combined.
  2. For the salad, place all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour some of the dressing over the salad until your desired liking. To serve, place half of the salad on a plate. Enjoy!
***Please choose all organic ingredients if possible.***


If you know someone who would love a recipe like this – please share this!



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64 responses to “Asian Citrus Rice Salad

  1. I expected a prep technique, such as washing, to reduce arsenic–is there one?

    1. I expected to see prep techniques too! I’ve heard cooking rice like pasta helps. Excess water, then strain.

      1. Julianna,
        If your worried about your Pasta, buy Jovial Einkorn pasta’s etc.
        The only Real grain that has Not been tampered with from Monsanto , or anyone.
        Its from Italy, Hundred’s, if not thousand’s of years old..

        Absorbs slowing, so people that have gluten problems can eat it.
        If your Celiac you cannot eat it.
        Many diabetic can eat this , as it does not turn into sugar very fast. Very slowly.

      2. Since the arsenic story came out, I only buy Lundburg organic rice. The arsenic comes from the soil from cotton plants. In Ca there was never a lot of cotton plants at all so the arsenic is about 30% lower in Ca. Also Lundburg has lower levels by the way they farm their rice.

        I do soak the rice overnight though, as that will also leach out some arsenic that may be in the rice.

        I also soak potatoes to reduce or eliminate the bromine and some other foods that have phyto acids in them. It binds the minerals leading to lower absorption of minerals. This is what I have found through research.

      3. After finding out I am gluten-sensitive, I tried Einkorn. It tasted like radishes and I had severe gut pain for a week. Some can tolerate einkorn and some can’t. Kamut and spelt are two other old varieties of wheat that are great for some.

        I can tolerate oats in modest quantities–some cannot.

        But as for me, enkorn gave me the willpower to stay awap from cakes, cookies, donuts, etc. and i am vory grateful to it for that.

        There ARE gluten-free alternatives that I can enjoy on holidays or special occasions, but those are worse empty calories than candies, so I don’t consume them often.

    2. Coincidentally, I just saw this same subject on Oz. He said that white rice, while less nutritious, is safer than brown and also, we can get rid of about 80% of the arsenic if we cook it like pasta. Instead of letting the rice absorb the liquid, use a whole lot of water and just strain it down the drain. He said that most of the arsenic will stay in the water.

    3. It is my understanding that the arsenic is inside of the food due to it’s being grown on polluted land that had been treated with arsenic as a herbicide to increase tobacco yield when it was being grown on that land. It is not found on the surface where it can easily be washed off. It is found in the germ, which is why white rice tends to be safer.

      1. Since my first post to you must have been so offensive it got deleted I will try again. Check the top 10 states for tobacco production in this country. Check the top 10 states for rice production in this country. You will find that there is almost no rice grown where tobacco is grown in this country. The Food Babe doesn’t promote this but I say “this country” because I choose to buy products grown in the US as our standards are much higher than other countries where rice is grown. Other countries allow the use pesticides that are banned in this country. The Chinese use human manure, called night soil, as fertilizer on a lot of crops grown there. A lot of organic produce consumed by you people comes from China. Food Babe doesn’t every really mention this.

    1. As long as you purchase the organic one you should be fine. I’d be more worried about microwaving it in the plastic bag.

      Would be interesting to see test results for arsenic in various rices, or let alone a variety of other food products

    2. I used to eat Trader Joe’s organic Brown rice the one you microwave on a regular basis, I thought I was doing something healthy for myself, I had blood work done and I had extremely high levels or arsenic. I have never eaten rice again.

    1. I think the scientific study quoted is not complete. The White and Brown rice of the same crop/yield/variety have to be used. That wasn’t verified. The Brown rice will infact have all nutrients white rice has. Additionally it also has micro nutrients from barn and germ which are missing. Secondly fiber content in brown rice also impacts the GI levels.
      And on the minerals iron, zinc and calcium. Rice is not and never has been a major source of these minerals. Impact of Phytates as stated is negligible due to trace amounts of these minerals in rice. One is rather well off having dates or Spinach for Iron. Spinach for Zinc, Brocilli for Calcium (for Vegans)

      1. Isn’t part of the concern with Phytates that it affects the absorption of nutrients from other foods as well, not just the rice? Agree with you the Phytates impact on the nutritional value of rice on it’s own seems like it would be negligible…

        Echoing some other comments, I’ve also read that bran and germ retain much of the arsenic load from rice. I eat a lot of rice, so considering both arsenic and phytic acid, I choose white rice over brown. I usually choose Lundberg organic, too.

  2. What about rice cakes? We love organic rice cakes to snack on. Any brands that are safe?

  3. I like rice cakes but prefer corn thins. I use them with a mixture of flax seed oil and cottage cheese, Dr. Budwigs cancer diet, No I don’t have cancer, it just helps me from getting it. Not much of a rice eater, I don’t cook much just go for raw.

  4. hmm…when I clicked the link I was expecting more than an endorsement of one brand of rice. I thought this was going to compare rices, rate them, etc. Okay so Lundberg is a sponsor now?!

    1. No, Lundberg is not a sponsor, although Alter Eco has been in the past but not currently. I have not done a full rice investigation yet – just recommending the brands I personally use and trust.

      1. I know it’s outdated, but I found a consumer report from 2012 that I’ve used for a while to check specific brands. It’s still available if you google “Consumer Reports rice arsenic” and is the 2nd hit in the list for me right now. It has a chart at the bottom of the page with all the brands they tested, and shows how much arsenic they found in micrograms.

        Typically the brands with higher levels came from TX, LA, and AR, which makes sense because most arsenic treated cotton crops were in the south. Some CA rice still had higher levels of arsenic, but simply choosing organic within the same brands cut the amount significantly. According to this report it appears that choosing organic is the way to go, especially if you can find organic California grown rice.

      2. Hi. Just want to confirm Lundberg is arsenic free cause it’s organic ? I do use Lundberg and find it delicious but would like to know arsenic percent … Aren’t organic products regulated for arsenic ?

  5. So glad to hear that Lundberg organic brown rice is tested for arsenic — that is the only brand I buy but I was worried about the arsenic. Many thanks for sharing this info!!

  6. So is the arsenic naturally in it then? Or is it something they are grown with (chemicals, etc) that adds it? And how much are we talking about?

    Apples seeds have arsenic too. …but if I recall correctly, something in the apple peel neutralizes it.
    Then there’s the question, if it’s natural, how bad is it really for us, when you consider Asian countries eat rice as their main staple.

    None of these questions were answered. ..would love to know the answers to them.

    1. Rice is one plant which seemingly absorbs all forms of Arsenic (organic or inorganic) from water. For all practical purposes it is naturally absorbed.
      Depending on water used for cultivation Arsenic levels in a rice crop will vary.
      Also Arsenic levels vary by region any Texas grown rice is higher in Arsenic levels than rice crops fed off water from snow like in California or North India (Himalayan area grown).
      But rule of thumb is washing/rinsing the rice well atleast 3-4 times before cooking and using a ratio of 6 cups water(instead of 3 or 4) to 1 cup rice, and draining the excess water afterward. This has bee a traditional method of cooking rice in Asia.
      BTW the excess water is heavy in starch and can be used on cloth to give them a starchy feel/touch

    2. Rice unfortunately absorbs arsenic from water and soil. Pollution is often responsible for higher levels.

    3. It’s my understanding that the arsenic comes from the soil when rice is grown in former cotton fields. Arsenic was once used as a pesticide for cotton crops in the south, so that’s why rice that comes from California is generally safer.

      As far as rice being a staple in Asian food, that’s true, but we have to keep in mind that a typical serving size is closer to 1/4 cup (and usually accompanied by small bowls of soup, vegetables, and small servings of meat). Eating a traditional Asian meal is much different than the gigantic plates and bowls of rice we get in “Americanized” Asian restaurants, which could easily measure over a full cup of rice.

      1. I worked in Chinese restaurants with people right from China. They would have a whole plate full of white rice. Yes, soup, vegetables like Chinese broccoli, fish, and beef. But their portion of white rice was huge.

      2. Arsenic in rice does not come from cotton fields. The best soils for rice production are terrible for cotton production so rarely would you ever see rice grown on former cotton fields.

      3. If you did your homework you would also learn that up until just a few years ago California was the second largest state in the US in cotton production behind only Texas.

  7. Thank you very much for sharing this information!!!
    Any body from an Asian country who can comment on how is rice traditionally cooked there? and is it really eaten in large portions?

    1. In Kerala, South India, we cook rice using a 1 cup rice:3-4 cups water ratio. The rice is boiled till cooked and then the water is drained. Sometimes we do not throw away this water; instead, we add salt to it and consume it. Usually, the rice and water ratio is not measured, we just take the required quantity of rice and then fill the pot to the brim with water and cook till done. Also, the rice that we use commonly is not raw white rice, but red rice (

  8. I thought I had heard or read that jasmine rice is safer as well as basmati. Is this true?I had also heard California rice is the safest in general of the regular white and brown rice varieties.

    1. Generally yes. It depends on water source. Read my earlier comments.
      Water from fresh rain or snow fed streams are better than those using ground water.

  9. So when this issue was first published by the FDA. The article stated that boiling the rice with 10 cups of water to 1 cup of rice and then draining out the water is one of the best ways to remove the Arsenic. This is also the traditional method of cooking rice. As opposed to putting it in a rice cooker which evaporates the water and leaves the Arsenic behind.
    So changing the method of cooking the rice would definitely help. Boiling it in a pan with 1 to 10 ratio of rice to water and draining the water is the method. Using the rice cooker even though is an easier method of cooking is not the best.

  10. Have you done any research or do you have any knowledge on GMO rice containing human DNA? I Googled it because I didn’t believe it and there are articles about it.. I got disgusted and have been buying Lundberg Organic rice ever since.

  11. Thanks so much for sharing all the recipes! One thing I wanted to share was a slightly different presentation on this Asian Citrus salad. I’ve found that with some Asian dishes, using butter/Boston lettuce as a bowl provides a really good, and usually welcomingly-refreshing change, in presentation. I also wouldn’t be surprised if using a touch of toasted sesame oil in the dressing took it up a notch (yes, I tend to get creative and tweek recipes if I have any inkling to make it even better. 😀 ) Lately I’ve been leaning more towards doing more Japanese meals, especially if we need meals on the go. I’ve read about onigiri as just being plain rice cakes. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that someone thought to fill them. Quite ingenious really. I’ve been looking for quick, healthy lunches, at least for myself, and I haven’t seemed to find anything I’ll actually eat for whatever strange reason, so I end up finding it’s the middle of the afternoon and I haven’t even eaten lunch yet. I’ve also been finding joy in making bento box type meals, so this should be oodles of fun to make, even with my kiddos. I might even try slicing/crumbling up some seaweed chips to put on the inside with some filling and using green or red leaf lettuce leaves for wrapping… Ok, yeah, total invitation for creativity… my specialty. 😀 Thanks again!

  12. Great info. Thanks all. We here love rice and were dismayed to learn about the “arsenic in rice” issue. Even the Lundberg rice folks acknowledge that one should eat no more than 3 servicing of rice per week. If there is naturally occurring arsenic in rice then isn’t it in most crops too? And if true, surely it must be minimal?

  13. What about baby rice cereal? It’s the only thing my son will eat and he can’t have wheat….

    1. I would suggest that you seriously consider using only Lundberg rice.

      Have you tried feeding your son Quinoa, wild rice, or buckwheat (kasha). These pseudo grains are all considered to be healthy alternatives.

      In the grain family, teff is a worldwide staple.

      I like rice but I like barley too and barley appears to be the healthier choice. I’ve eating it more lately and eating rice less.

      Best of luck with your son.

  14. I occasionally buy Lundgren organic white basmati, but will never eat or serve brown rice no matter where it’s grown. Brown rice has been proven to hold more arsenic from the soil within its kernel.

  15. Actually Food Babe CR did a test a decade ago and said ALL rice both organic and not contained bad amounts of arsenic.

    And as far as I know that has not changed.

  16. I’m surprised the Food Babe would be ok with Soy. If it is not FERMENTED it is really not that great for humans and it sucks for animals. Why not Shiitake or roasted butternut squash instead? What about Quinoa instead of rice?

  17. Doesn’t the high levels of cesium and other Fukishima radiation all over the West Coast negate the organic rice in CA?

    1. You may be right. However, it would have to be pollution from the air, as sea water doesn’t get mixed directly with crop irrigation water.

      That having been said. I’ve asked a friend, who will be shortly visiting some California beaches, to tell me first hand if the beach ecology is as devastated as some of the websites suggest. I suspect that they are, but I want confirmation or denial from someone who I can trust. I then plan to build a Geiger counter later in the year and check out the radiation levels of Pacific sea products like kelp, fish, and other types of Pacific seafood to check if they are safe before I eat much more of it.

  18. Hi Vani, I think you are doing wonderful work, and I thank you. However, I have checked into the ingredient carrageenan. It seems that an older badly used variety was not healthy. However, now it is deemed safe, clean and well manufactured. It can be trusted. Also, about the rice products. It is best to cook your own, but soak it for at least 30 min. before cooking and drain. I hope this is helpful.

    1. Hi Evelyn, thanks for your comment! Check out this post and report for more info on carrageenan:
      “Their report detailed out several specific studies that showed that food safe and approved “undegraded” carrageenan is contaminated with the non-approved degraded carrageenan. Furthermore, when you ingest the undegraded version, it actually starts to degrade in the gastrointestinal tract and in the liver and turn into a carcinogen, resulting in a serious inflammatory agent that also can cause intestinal abnormalities. Because of this reason and other studies conducted the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Research Council of the United States both have determined that carrageenan is a carcinogen – a substance that causes cancer.”

  19. Just a reply to the question asked about rice in Asian countries (I am married to a Chinese man and have lived in China 3 years so I will only speak to what I have seen and what he has told me about China).

    In America rice is used as a massive bed on which to place the oily sauce, meat, and vegetables from various dishes. In China rice is used to fill you up, often not even being served until the prized meat and vegetable dishes have been presented. People don’t eat the sauce at all generally, and rather pick out the meat and vegetables with chopsticks and eat them. About halfway through the meal they may add rice to their bowls then pick out the meat and vegetables and add some rice to each bite. I have seen in Chinese restaurants in China the staff eating more rice with their staff meal, but my husband said that’s because they are trying to “fill up” before their shift which might be 12+ hours. Rice is served with each meal, but I doubt anyone consumes more than 1/4 cup. That being said, I still worry about the pollution levels over here and try to stick to organic rice as much as possible. Thanks for the Lundberg tip – I can actually get that brand in Shanghai which is great! Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  20. Hey Y’all,
    Here’s a link to a Consumer Reports .pdf file I just found regarding ARSENIC, LEAD and CADMIUM in a lot of brands and types of Rice.
    There is info. on where the tested rice was grown – USA – Arkansas, Calif., Lousiana, Missouri. Also Thailand and India. There is additional info. on Rice Flour, Rice Cakes and Crackers, Rice Pasta, Rice Syrup, Rice Vinegar, Baby Cereal, Hot Cereal, Ready-to-Eat Cereal.

    Granted, this info. is from 2012, but it’s somewhere to start, seeing as how there is little to go on here except for Vani’s personal usage. By the way, there is info. on “Lundberg” Rice, Rice Cakes and Crackers and Rice Syrup.

    THIS concerns me: CR says – “There’s no federal limit for arsenic in most foods.”


  21. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about the arsenic in rice because I no longer eat rice. I am now hooked on Quinoa.
    Great food and to me, tastes so much better than rice. Plus Quinoa can be used pretty much the same way as rice.

  22. Dear Vanni, and All,

    IS there any known safe amount of arsenic to ingest? SInce I found out about the arseninc in rice I have stopped eating it. And I am a vegan. I don’t want to take the risk of arsenic accumulating in my body and then one day coming back to bite me and lay me to the grave before needed be. Why is anyone okay with taking this risk? My understanding is that arsenic is a poison that kills. My understanding is that toxins can get lodged in our body, say like our fat, and build up there. And that all could seem fine and then one day or over time say were loosing weight and the toxin gets released from our fat and then is when the havok is reaked, say death. Is my comment too allarmist? If so why? I hope my concerns are unfounded. It is sad to think of billions of people trying to get there nourishment and instead getting poisoned. It is sad to think of the earth were we are suposed to get our nourishment being poisoned and then us in turn. Does anyone have any idea of how we can change this? I appreciate and will study the links that people have posted. Dear Vanni, I appreciate that you have begun the discussion.

  23. I first heard of arsenic found in baby formula several years ago. As a licensed health care provider, I began to review the literature, and discovered that rice ingredients may have likely been the culprit. The rice plant is known to readily absorb naturally occurring arsenic if present in the soil. So eating “organic rice” will not protect you from arsenic contamination if this toxic agent is pre-existing in the ground where the rice is grown. Since there are multiple sources of possible arsenic and other toxic metal exposures beside eating rice, I practice detoxification strategies as a preventative measure. dr. Jerry

  24. I just bought a loaf of it says Organic 100% whole wheat bread {Simply Nature ] at Aldi,s in the ingredients it list organic Canola oil, is that so ?

  25. Hi to Vanni and all that shared health info. I have for years staying away from eating rice, from the arsenic exposure. Now I willing to eat Lundberg rice every once and a while. Plus the water rinsing process. This is a great place with like minded health nuts like me to come back to , besides my health nut friends on Facebook. I will fix the Asian salad recipe. It looks delicious. Thanks, Vanni. 🙂

  26. Looks yummy! Food Babe, please do a special post on the hidden dangerous ingredients in dietary and herbal supplements! I am into alternative medicine an a recovering supplements junkie. I noticed that most of my supplements have dangerous ingredients like various calcium etc. Not to mention how many supplements have like 200% or more of daily values which for a person like me that eats healthy, organic and unprocessed food comes as too much. Too much calcium and vitamin D are dangerous as they could cause calcium deposits in the blood and block arteries and they gave me a chest pain. I know our community of health-conscious people usually read the labels, but many of us still fall for supplements, thinking that they must be better than pills when organic food and an active lifestyle would be more than enough for most of us.

  27. Jfirst of all, Thank You for doing what you do!
    And, I jave a question: how does the arsenic get in the rice?

  28. Be careful with salads when you’re looking to be healthier – it’s easy to make them pretty high calorie or, like you’re seeing a ton of in this thread, high sugar with things like candied nuts, dried fruits and commercial dressings. Not necessarily bad, you’ll just want to be mindful of your specific health goals.

  29. I always love your recipes and articles. Is there a FB share button that I am missing?

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