Pickled Rice Tabbouleh

Photo by Alex Lau

Pickle brine lends a distinctive tang to the rice, giving the whole dish a nice, lively jolt. This recipe can work with any kind of pickling liquid, even the ordinary stuff from a jar of pickles or cornichons (we tested it with a few kinds). If brown rice isn’t your thing, use another grain: Try barley, farro, or freekeh.

4 servings


  1. Sauce:
    • 6 garlic cloves
    • 1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
    • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    • 1/2 serrano, chopped
    • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil (optional)
  2. Rice and assembly:
    • 1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice
    • 1 (2×2") piece dried kombu (optional)
    • Kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup pickle brine, divided
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped tender herbs (such as cilantro, parsley, dill, and/or tarragon)
    • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
    • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Sauce:
    1. Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Cook garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft enough to easily smash against the side of the pan, 12–15 minutes. Let cool.
    2. Meanwhile, toast pumpkin seeds on a large rimmed baking sheet on upper rack, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
    3. Blend cilantro, pumpkin seeds, chile, lime juice, pumpkin seed oil (if using), and garlic oil (with garlic) until smooth. Add a big pinch of salt and blend again.
  2. Rice and assembly:
    1. Place rice in a sieve or colander and rinse under running water until water runs clear (this removes surface starch and keeps rice from getting gummy). Combine rice, kombu (if using), and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; season with salt and let sit 20 minutes.
    2. Bring rice to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pan and cook until rice is tender, 30–35 minutes (you can also use a rice cooker; follow instructions for correct timing). Remove pan from heat and let sit (still covered) 15 minutes; fluff rice with a fork.
    3. Transfer warm rice to a large bowl and stir in 1/4 cup brine. Let rice cool completely, then toss in herbs, oil, lemon zest and juice, and remaining 1/4 cup brine; season with salt and pepper. Serve with sauce drizzled over.
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