Cold grain dishes are my favorite for a quick meal. Not only are they fast to prepare, but they’re super filling.
If you’re looking for something you can make ahead of time and that stores well, give this dish a try!
This recipe is fairly simple, and the ingredients are things you might already have on hand.
I suggest using brown rice over white, since it’s a whole grain with added health benefits. It contains more fiber, selenium, and manganese than white.
This is also a perfect dish to make for any friends or family who follow a plant-based or gluten-free diet. I know firsthand how challenging it can be, trying to figure out what to make for them. This will definitely become an easy go-to salad to make whenever you need a healthy and satisfying side.
This brown rice salad is a filling gluten-free option for a quick meal or a simple side, super tasty with apples, pecans, peas, and a fresh vinaigrette.
For the Salad:
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup chopped apples (about 1 small apple)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced green onion
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook rice according to package directions. Cool completely and set aside.
- Place all salad ingredients, except for the rice, in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the rice and mix again until completely incorporated.
- Make the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing onto the salad and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or chill and serve later.
Keywords: brown rice, salad, apples, cranberries, peas
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Cook the Grain
Cook rice according to package directions. Cool completely and set aside as you prepare the other ingredients.
If you have some left over from last night’s dinner, it would work perfectly for this recipe!
Step 2 – Gather and Prep Other Ingredients
Set out the salt and pepper.
Step 3 – Mix the Salad Ingredients
Place the prepared salad ingredients (apples, cranberries, pecans, peas, green onions) in a large bowl. Mix well.
Add the cooked grains and stir again until completely incorporated.
Step 4 – Make the Dressing
Step 5– Mix in the Dressing
Pour the dressing into the grain mixture, and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 6 – Serve
Serve immediately, or chill and serve when you’re ready.
A Healthy Grain Salad That’s Lots of Fun
Give plain brown rice plenty of extra flavor and fun with the addition of ingredients like apples, cranberries, pecans, and peas.
Combined with a homemade vinaigrette, I have a feeling you’ll never want to eat plain grains again after making this recipe!
Save time by cooking a big batch on Sunday or Monday, and then you can incorporate it into meals throughout the week. A good rice cooker is also very helpful.
Planning a party? For a fun presentation for the appetizer course, try serving this salad in natural, edible bowls, like apples with the centers scooped out.
How do you like to dress up your grains? Give us some of your deliciously creative ideas in the comment section below.
Like the recipe? Please leave your rating below as well.
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Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 18th, 2015. Last updated: July 9, 2018 at 15:15 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Sarah Hagstrom
Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" (www.theseasonaldiet.com). She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.