© 2013 Green Kitchen Stories Black_rice_kale_pilaf_01

Black Rice, Kale & Aubergine Pilaf

When we make salads in our home, we often do what we call a Family Salad. It basically means that we serve all kind of salad ingredients in separate bowls on the table. And then everyone in the family can prepare the salad after their personal liking. We try to keep it varied, with vegetables (warm and cold), greens, fruit, nuts and some kind of protein (quinoa, millet, lentils, beans or rice) and a dressing. Elsa usually chooses less dressing and leafy greens and more vegetables, fruit and lentils. David always add extra nuts and fruit to his. And I, well, I of course mix everything perfectly. Even if we don’t have any special food aversions, this is a way for us to keep dinners uncomplicated.  It’s also great because it requires no recipe, just throw all fridge leftovers in different bowls and mix for yourself.

This pilaf actually started out as a family salad, but all the different ingredients on that specific day tasted so good together that we had to make it into a recipe.


Small baked aubergine cubes that are bursting with chili, turmeric and cumin. Sweet apricots, salty pistachios, kale, avocado, mint and chewy black rice and lentils. It all makes a pretty awesome and flavorful combination.



Black Rice, Kale & Aubergine Pilaf
Serves 4

We have cooked black rice and green lentils together to save time and simplify the recipe. The lentils will become all black, but it only makes them look cooler. You could combine red rice and red lentils or whole grain rice and quinoa instead.

Black Rice & Lentil Mix
1 cup / 250 ml black rice (preferable soaked)
1 cup / 250 ml green or brown lentils (preferable soaked)
4 cups / 1 liter water
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp cardamom seeds (without pods)

Baked Aubergine
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chili
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
4 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tsp for massaging the kale
4 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil + 1 tsp for massaging the kale
1 large aubergine/eggplant, cut into small cubes

Salad ingredients
2 large stems kale, stems removed and finely chopped
1 avocado, stone removed and cubed
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 handful fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
1 small handful raw pistachio nuts, coarsely chopepd
5 unsulphured dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup / 125 ml yogurt, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
Rinse and drain rice and lentils. Then place in a saucepan, add water, salt and cardamom seeds, cover with a lid and bring to boil. Lower the heat and cook gently for about 30 minutes or until tender and all the water has been absorbed. Meanwhile, stir together cumin, chili, turmeric, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Place the cubed aubergine and the spice mixture in an oven-proofed dish and toss to cover. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until soft on the inside and slightly browned on the outside. Set both the black rice and lentil mix and the baked aubergine a side to cool. Now prepare the salad ingredients. Place the chopped kale in a medium serving bowl, add lemon juice and olive oil and massage the kale for a couple of minutes until soften. Add all ingredients and toss to combine. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.


  1. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 16:47 | #

    I love it when I visit the site and there’s a new fresh post! Looks lovely- I have never cooked black rice myself before but love eating it when it’s up for offer on a menu. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 17:20 | #

    I love lentils in salads! It makes the dish so much heartier and substantial. And with kale and eggplant! Mmm. Thank you David and Luise for being a constant source of inspiration for me. Those pots de Creme lay week turned out great.

  3. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 17:37 | #

    Beautiful recipe as always. I love black rice. This dish sounds fantastic!

  4. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 17:50 | #

    The look and feel of this salad reminds of vegetarian burrito bowl at Chipotle, but of course much healthier. Being salad, I imagine it’s amenable to personalizing more. I would love to try this with fresh cranberries. Also, I wonder if adding kala namak instead of sea salt will enhance the flavor for the eggplant cubes.

  5. emily
    Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 17:57 | #

    That is one beautiful salad!

  6. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 18:25 | #

    Wow. Amazing how food, through your eyes, can be beautiful.

  7. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 19:58 | #

    I made this salad this evening, it was amazing and really nice, Thank you!

  8. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 22:25 | #

    This sounds and looks like an absolute dream. We have a similar salad affair in our home (but everything gets thrown in together). I love, love, love the flavour and texture combinations here.

    With every post you lovely folk fill me with so much love and inspiration.

    Thank you for just being xxxx

  9. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 22:33 | #

    Perfect. It sounds like you create some sort of salad bar at the table and I love all kinds of “bars”, especially topping bars for my oatmeal, but really, any meal including a bar has my whole approval! Love this already :)

  10. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 22:41 | #

    I love the idea of a family salad!! This looks lovely :)

  11. Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 23:21 | #

    Me and my sister make salad in the exact sam way – sister salad :)
    This combination sounds amazing – and I can tell it is by the looks of it. Certainly in my kitchen soon.

  12. Sophie @ dinnersforw
    Posted 9 Oct ’13 at 23:44 | #

    Wow, so beautiful and sounds really delicious! I feel like I’ve tried similar combinations before, but I never would have added dried apricots into the adventure. I’m definitely going to try this! Perfect for this time of year and perfect for my aubergine obsession :) Beautiful work!

  13. SuzieQ
    Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 05:40 | #

    Delicious and nutritious. I’m a latecomer to your wonderful blog and I’m enjoying exploring the recipes. Downloaded your apps as well and they are awesome. Love your book as well. Thank you.

  14. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 07:02 | #

    What a beautiful combination of flavor and texture! Definitely my kind of salad because I LOVE kale!!!
    We also often have our “do-it-yourself salad” meal and it’s always fun to see what each one of us will come up with. Our daughter loves tomatoes and jicama, our son prefers the mung bean sprouts and hemp seeds, my husband adds walnuts in everything and I like Hijiki seaweed with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes.
    We had your chocolate shake again yesterday because it was easy, fast and fabulous. We mixed thawed frozen raspberries & blackberries picked over the summer, the color was SO pretty.

  15. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 08:45 | #

    Thanks for sharing ,your recipe sounds so good!

  16. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 09:22 | #

    Wow, this is such a delicious and simple solution for weeknight dinners. I love it. The flavor and ingredient combination in this salad is amazing and so up my alley I wish I would have thought of it myself! ;) Thanks for great inspiration!

  17. susan
    Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 09:45 | #

    looks delicious – do you find kale in stockholm? the closest i can find in western sweden is grönkål (savoy cabbage) and it isn’t the same…

    • Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 10:03 | #

      Hi Susan, we buy kale at farmer’s markets on Södermalm in Stockholm. And in the health food store Gryningen, close to where we live. But at the moment, we have also seen it in larger food stores like Coop and Ica. Good luck!

      • Sophie
        Posted 22 Oct ’13 at 14:09 | #

        So many lovely recipes with kale that i’d like to try… if only I could find kale here in Paris. As amazing as it sounds, no kale in here (at least in this “leafy version”; my grocery sellers sell me the more cabbage like one, but I doubt the taste is the same…). I was wondering what other greens you could recommend instead? Many thanks! Or should I say merci beaucoup (liked the “petits pots au chocolat & amandes” so much, will try them this WE :).

      • valentine
        Posted 16 Mar ’14 at 08:18 | #

        Just letting you know that Kale is really easy to grow even if you are apartment living, where you can grow it in pots. Such a versatile vegetable and did you know that it makes great healthy chips.
        cheers and thanks for this delicious recipe

  18. Inge meldgaard
    Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 10:20 | #

    Is it possible to get the recipe in danish :-)

  19. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 10:29 | #

    Inspired as usual by your lovely food – it looks so colourful, absolutely beautiful as well as tasty. Wish the cabbage whites hadn’t been quite so keen on our kale and I’d go out in the garden to pick some for this immediately.

  20. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 13:58 | #

    I love the idea of the family salad, I’m stealing that one. I also think this salad sounds delicious, I’ve pinned it!

  21. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 14:40 | #

    The family salad is such a great idea! And this one looks beautiful, will be giving it a try.

  22. Posted 10 Oct ’13 at 21:12 | #

    mmm that looks sooo good and fresh and just breaths healthy!!, I will def try this one out. I have never really tried black rice before, but with this simply recipe, I will try it one day. Btw, i love all the photos of food in this blog, the look great and make me hungry :)

  23. Posted 11 Oct ’13 at 04:30 | #

    I have never tried black rice before but this dish certainly makes me want to! The photos are stunning.

  24. Posted 11 Oct ’13 at 05:12 | #

    This recipe was delicious (and I don’t even like eggplant). Sadly mine was nowhere near as pretty as yours, but I wrote about how much I loved it here: http://monkspaw.blogspot.ca/2013/10/dinner-inspiration-courtesy-of-green.html

    You guys rock – keep the recipes coming! Everything I try is always a hit with everyone (vegetarian or not).

  25. Posted 11 Oct ’13 at 10:18 | #

    I must try this recipe. Especially loving your photography of late! The ‘ingredients layout’ photo in this post works so well.

  26. Posted 12 Oct ’13 at 15:26 | #

    I would love to sit at your dinner table and enjoy a family salad with you. This one looks totally delicious with lovely earthy colors. Hope to make it soon for me and my family!

  27. Linn
    Posted 12 Oct ’13 at 15:51 | #

    Since i’am new to this, you said the rice and lentils preferable soaked?
    In cold water, over night? Or just a few hours?

  28. Necia
    Posted 13 Oct ’13 at 10:56 | #

    Made this for dinner last night and it’s delicious! Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  29. Lisa
    Posted 13 Oct ’13 at 19:55 | #

    Why don’t you open a restaurant in Stockholm? I’d live happily ever after if it was possible to eat amazing food like yours when dining out… just sayin’ ;)

    • Barbara
      Posted 16 Oct ’13 at 14:36 | #

      Oh yes, please! I would run to your restaurant immediately after reading each post & seeing your beautiful pictures!

      PS. Your book is in nearly every German bookshop that has also English books. I’ve seen it in every major city that I visited. Congratulations on that. Proud to own a copy … and to cook your beautiful recipes.

  30. Abby
    Posted 14 Oct ’13 at 20:26 | #

    Your photographs are stunning! I’m so excited to try some of these recipes.

    I have a completely silly and unrelated question, may I ask which font you use for the main body text on the blog?

  31. sandra
    Posted 15 Oct ’13 at 14:31 | #

    Made this last night! It was so tasty! I just had some left overs for lunch, it still was good, but I liked it more warm!
    Greets from Switzerland

  32. Jay
    Posted 16 Oct ’13 at 07:46 | #

    Love the pictures and will definitely try the recipe

  33. Denise
    Posted 17 Oct ’13 at 04:15 | #

    A friend of mine told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I look forward to looking at both of your blogs. Denise

  34. Posted 20 Oct ’13 at 05:03 | #

    I long to take part in one of your ‘family salads’ after reading this. I love that you paired pistachios and apricots- a daring but surely delicious move on your part. As always, your ingredients and photos are stunning. I was also a bit curious as to where you found the little vegetable/herb clippers in the second photo. I’ve been looking for a pair, and yours are beautiful.

  35. sash
    Posted 23 Oct ’13 at 10:50 | #

    made this, was super doper tasty thank you

  36. amy callahan
    Posted 24 Oct ’13 at 19:45 | #

    made this last night and loved it! husband despises raw kale and even he liked it. brought leftovers to the office and everyone is clamoring for the recipe. thank you so much! everything I make from your site is amazing. please don’t ever stop!

  37. Dee Dee
    Posted 2 Nov ’13 at 13:01 | #

    Outstanding. Made as written to rave reviews. My five year old enjoyed three servings. Well done. More, please….

  38. Dana!
    Posted 9 Nov ’13 at 03:40 | #

    This? This is a FLAVOR BOMB :)

  39. Posted 12 Nov ’13 at 09:41 | #

    I love your site! Everything looks so fresh, colourful and appealing. Can’t wait to try some of your recipes. Grazie!

  40. Posted 16 Nov ’13 at 14:34 | #

    This salad looks so good, I love that you can add things to make it kind of bespoke – great idea.

  41. Posted 25 Nov ’13 at 20:41 | #

    Wow, that looks amazing! I never really thought of using kale in a salad, I normally just serve it up on its own as a side dish. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Anna
    Posted 15 Dec ’13 at 18:22 | #

    We just made this! Totally awesome. Luckily there are some leftovers <3

  43. Posted 26 Dec ’13 at 08:25 | #

    Thanks for sharing such an amazing and mouthwatering recipe! I love cooking salads and your recipe just made my day. Check out some chicken recipes if you like.

  44. Grace
    Posted 28 Dec ’13 at 05:09 | #

    Gorgeous and delicious. I can’t get over how nourished I feel with every bite. Thank you so much.

  45. Posted 12 Feb ’14 at 15:29 | #

    Black rice, kale, and auburgines – oh, my goodness, they are some of my favorite ingredients! I’m making the dish this weekend – I can’t wait! Thank you for sharing!

  46. Posted 19 Jan ’15 at 21:48 | #

    Beautiful photos and recipe!

    Amaryllis (thetastyother.com)

  47. Posted 12 Aug ’15 at 09:38 | #

    Did this, replacing the lentils and rice with buckwheat and it was really nice! thank you! :)

  48. Aga KRUK
    Posted 18 Aug ’16 at 14:39 | #

    Most of the people place comments before trying the food, based solely on the pictures provided by you. It is not helpful :( I have actually made it and really really liked it. The only thing that bothered me is that i used peppermint that was so strong that kind of overpowered other flavours. Need to make it again and add just a little bit. Thank you for your hard work.

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