This Tropical Island Rice is packed with delicious tropical flavors like pineapple, mango, macadamia nuts, and chilies. It makes a great side dish for pulled pork, as well as a delicious vegan or vegetarian main dish. It’s also a wonderful rice salad to make for a Hawaiian Luau or a Tropical themed party!
I’ve got lots more Luau Party Food recipes for you to try out – right-click and open them in a new tab to read next!
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Tropical Island Rice
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved.
I made this Tropical Island Rice dish for my sister’s Cocktails & Dreams Hen Party back in 2012 and it was such a hit! It was the perfect side dish for the slow cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork that was part of our tropical feast!
It’s a really colourful, fresh and fruity salad, with lots of different tastes and textures. While I served it originally as a side dish, it would work beautifully as a main dish for vegans or vegetarians.
You could also serve it with grilled meats like chicken kebabs, pork chops, or steak, and it would pair well with fish and seafood like mahi-mahi or shrimp.
Ingredients Used In This Recipe
A lot of ingredients go into this flavorful dish, and any shelf-stable goods that can be purchased online have been linked to Amazon below for your convenience.
It is also a recipe that you could tweak to your personal tastes, for example, if you don’t like pomegranate, then just leave it out, or add more fresh chili if you prefer more spicy heat.
- Microwave Long Grain & Wild Rice – I used 4 packs of Uncle Ben’s (250g/8.8oz) at the time which totals 1kg (or 2.2lbs) of rice. If you have trouble sourcing the microwave kind (I bought it for speed) you could buy dry white and wild rice and cook according to the package instructions until tender.
- Canned Pineapple in Juice – you can buy chunks or rings it doesn’t matter as you’ll be chopping them up. The juice is used in the dressing.
- Canned Sweetcorn Kernels
- Macadamia Nuts
- Blanched Almonds
- Peanut Oil – a neutral-flavored oil so as not to overtake the other flavors in the salad.
- Light Soy Sauce
- White Rice Vinegar
- Pineapple Juice – if you don’t have enough from the canned fruit
- Fresh ingredients – mango, pomegranate arils/seeds/jewels, bell peppers, spring/green onions (scallions), red chili, fresh flat leaf parsley or coriander (cilantro)
More Recipes Using Rice
Rice is the ingredient that brings this dish together, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Slow Cooker Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup Recipe
- One Pan Roasted Vegetable, Chick Pea, & Rice Salad
- Teriyaki Pork Fried Rice with Carrot & Baby Bok Choy
I’ve also got more Rice Salad Recipes for you to enjoy – right click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!
Tropical Island Rice Recipe Tips
- This rice salad can be made a day in advance – it gives a chance for the dressing to really get in and mingle with all the ingredients.
- You need the rice to be chilled before making this salad, so after cooking it, spread out onto a baking sheet. This gets the job done quickly and it’s how they cool down sushi rice. Once cooled, fluff up the rice with a fork and place in the fridge for about an hour to chill down.
- Reserve the juice from the canned pineapple to use in the dressing.
- Cut the pineapple, mango, and bell peppers into small bite-size pieces.
- Finely chop the fresh herbs, spring onions, and fresh chilies. You can deseed the chilis or leave them if you prefer more heat.
- You can buy packs of pomegranate arils/seeds/jewels these days, so you can use those instead of deseeded the fruit if you like.
- Chop the nuts using a sharp knife or pulse in a blender or food processor.
- You might notice that there are some dried cranberries peeking through in the photos of this recipe. I had a few leftover cranberries so tossed them in. They’re not actually part of the recipe though, so they’re not listed!
- When making salads and dishes with lots of ingredients, I like to add each of them separately and stir to combine well and get a nice even mix at the end.
- The dressing is made by whisking the ingredients together – super simple. However, make sure you reserve some to dress the salad before serving. The rest goes into the salad beforehand so that all the flavors get a chance to marry together.
- Remove the salad from the fridge about half an hour before serving for it to come to room temperature. Then add the remaining dressing.
- Can sizes vary all over the world, I tend to check the UK (where I am based) and the US as these regions are my biggest audience. I try to figure out what cup measurements or can sizes would work best in the recipe notes. However, if you use a bit more or a bit less, it’s not really going to matter much in this kind of dish!
More Tropical Recipes
Need some more tropical food ideas? Take a look at these recipes next:
- Tropical Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
- Tropical Noodle Salad with Chicken
- Tropical Curried Rice Salad
How Do I Make Tropical Island Rice?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients, instructions, and demonstration photos. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, the pics don’t print to save your ink!).
- 4 (8.8 oz / 250g) packages Uncle Ben's microwave long grain and wild rice
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled, stoned and cut into small bite-size pieces
- 1 pomegranate, arils/seeds removed
- 1 (large) can pineapple chunks or rings in juice, juice reserved *See Notes
- 1 (large) can sweetcorn/corn kernels *See Notes
- 2 bell peppers, red, yellow or orange, deseeded and cut into small bite-size pieces
- 8 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 1 large red chilli, deseeded if required, finely sliced
- Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley or coriander (cilantro), finely chopped, optional
- 2 oz / 50g macadamia nuts, chopped
- 2 oz / 50g pistachio nuts, chopped
- 2 oz / 50g blanched slivered almonds, chopped
For the Dressing
- ⅓ cup / 90ml peanut/groundnut oil
- ⅓ cup / 90ml light soy sauce
- 1½ cups / 350ml pineapple juice (use from the canned pineapple and top up with fresh pineapple juice)
- 2 Tbsp white rice vinegar
- Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Spread out onto a baking sheet to cool for 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely for about 1 hour.
- Add the mango and the pomegranate seeds to the bowl of rice and mix to combine.
- Reserve the juice from the canned pineapple and chop the fruit into bite-size pieces. Add to the rice bowl and mix to combine.
- Add the sweetcorn and stir again. You don't have to add all the ingredients in steps - I like to do it so that everything becomes really combined.
- Add the chopped bell peppers, onion, chili, and fresh herbs if using to the bowl. Mix well
- Finally, add the chopped nuts to the bowl and stir to combine.
- To make the dressing, pour all of the ingredients into a bowl or cup/jug and whisk together well.
- Pour three-quarters of the dressing over the rice and other ingredients and mix well.
- Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for up to 24 hours. Place the remaining dressing in an airtight jar and place it in the fridge too.
- Remove the Tropical Island Rice from the fridge about half an hour before serving to bring to room temperature.
- Shake the jar of dressing to recombine and pour over the rice. Mix together well.
- Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!
- Oh boy, can sizes in the UK and the US vary so much!
- The size of the can that I used in my original recipe is no longer available, so I've specified large. This can be open to interpretation, so as a guide, you need approximately 1½ cups or about 340g chopped canned pineapple.
- I used a large (in the UK at least!) 325g (260g drained weight) can of sweetcorn which is about 1 cup of corn kernels/niblets.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 939mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 6gSugar: 26gProtein: 11g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Tropical Meal!
You’ve made the side salad, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Cornflake + Coconut Shrimp
- Main Dish: Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken (Sweet & Spicy Lava Chicken for a Luau!)
- Side Salad: Pineapple Coleslaw with Bacon
- Beverage: Tropical Island Breeze Cocktail with Bourbon & Rum
- Dessert: Hawaiian Pineapple Coconut Bubble Bread
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!