Basmati Rice Salad with Pomegranate and Celery

Serves 4


  • 1 cup / 225g basmati rice
  • 6 celery stalks, finely chopped (save the leaves and coarsely chop them)
  • 1 cup / 300g pomegranate arils (~2 large pomegranates)*
  • 2 tbsp / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2/3 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt

*If you can’t find pomegranate, you may substitute for Granny Smith apples

recipe video


  1. Place rice in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Transfer to a bowl and fill up with enough water to come 1 cm above the rice. Soak for 1-2 hours.
  2. Bring 5-6 cups / ~1400 ml water to a boil in a large saucepan. Pass soaked rice through a sieve and rinse thoroughly under running cold water.
  3. Add rice to saucepan with boiling water, gently stirring to avoid sticking. Bring water back to a boil and continue cooking on medium-high heat for 10-12 min.
  4. Pass rice through a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water for 5 min, until the rice looks “fluffy” and loose.
  5. Let the rice drain for 15-20 min. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, spices and a bit of salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. Pour vinaigrette over drained rice and mix with a spoon until all the rice is evenly covered with the vinaigrette.
  7. Add the chopped celery and the herbs and mix again.
  8. Lastly, mix in the pomegranate arils and top it with coarsely chopped celery leaves.
  9. Serve immediately.

What are the benefits of this dish?

🔬 One of the best ways to establish and support a healthy gut microbiome is to ensure a constant supply of the right “food” to feed our beneficial bacteria (btw, these foods are called PREbiotics). 

Who knew that cooked and cooled rice is an excellent prebiotic food? 🤷‍♀️

🍚 When rice is cooked and then cooled, the starch in rice changes its structure to an indigestible form of starch (resistant starch) that is only accessible to our good gut bacteria. ✅ 

♨️ If rice is heated up again to above 130℉ (~58℃) the starch changes back it’s form to one that is digestible to us rather than feeding our gut bacteria. ❌[1]

👩‍🔬 Other examples of resistant starch include cooked and cooled potatoes 🥔, and cooked and cooled properly prepared (i.e. soaked or sprouted) legumes.

Resistant starch selectively stimulates the growth and proliferation of the good bacteria in our gut, helping to maintain the microbiome composition balanced. ⚖️[2]

These well-nourished good bacteria species produce in exchange short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate, propionate, and acetate. Among these, butyrate is of particular importance since it is the preferred energy source of the cells lining the large intestine, helps improve intestinal permeability (aka as leaky gut), and has anti-inflammatory effects. [3]

Resistant starch also helps control blood glucose levels [4, 5]

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