Brown Rice Salad With Apples, Dried Cranberries, and Peas

Cold grain dishes are my favorite for a quick meal. Not only are they fast to prepare, but they’re super filling.

Vertical image of a bowl of rice salad with apples, green onions, and lemons in the background.

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.

Vertical image of a small bowl with brown rice, fruits, and vegetables on a polka-dot napkin.

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.

Vertical closeup image of a rice mixture in a bowl on a patterned napkin.

Everyone will be more than happy eating delicious bites of apple, cranberries, and peas, paired with a tangy dressing made with apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and mustard.

Serve it alone, or as a tasty accompaniment to grilled tofu, or lean proteins like chicken or seafood, for a healthy and nutrient-dense meal.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Horizontal image of a bowl of mixed rice, fruits, and vegetables in a white bowl.

Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Dried Cranberries, and Peas

  • Author: Sarah Hagstrom
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


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


  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Cool completely and set aside.
  2. Place all salad ingredients, except for the rice, in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the rice and mix again until completely incorporated.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing onto the salad and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or chill and serve later.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Grain Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: brown rice, salad, apples, cranberries, peas

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Cook the Grain

Horizontal image of a white bowl with brown rice and a white towel.

Cook rice according to package directions. Cool completely and set aside as you prepare the other ingredients.

Need some help with this step? Read our tutorial for cooking brown rice in an electric pressure cooker.

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

Horizontal image of ingredients for a rice salad in bowls.

For the salad, chop the apples, green onions, and pecans using a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife. Measure out the cranberries and green peas.

Lightly toast the pecans in a small skillet.

For the dressing, measure out the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, and honey. Mince the garlic, or use a garlic press. Cut and juice the lemon.

Set out the salt and pepper.

Step 3 – Mix the Salad Ingredients

Horizontal image of a bowl with mixed vegetables, nuts, and fruits.

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

Horizontal image of a lemon vinaigrette and a whisk in a white bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 5– Mix in the Dressing

Horizontal image of a bowl of mixed rice, fruits, and vegetables in a white bowl.

Pour the dressing into the grain mixture, and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 6 – Serve

Horizontal image of a small bowl with a rice mixture on a patterned napkin with spoons and fruits in the background.

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.

Horizontal image of a large white bowl with a grain, vegetable, and fruit mixture.

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. We have a few more ideas for you:

Like the recipe? Please leave your rating below as well.

Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a brown rice salad recipe.

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: April 27, 2020 at 21:10 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" ( She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.

15 thoughts on “Brown Rice Salad With Apples, Dried Cranberries, and Peas”

  1. Ooh, I’ve had rice salads before, but it’s been a while. This one sounds lovely! I’m only missing a few of the ingredients, so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick the others up and give this a try. I really do need to keep balsamic vinegar on hand more often, haha.

  2. This sounds like an excellent healthy recipe to try when I’m not necessarily desiring a hot lunch. Personally, I would probably leave out the red onions as I don’t typically like eating them, whether cooked or raw. However, I definitely will consider this; it would make a nice addition to a family reunion. Thank you for the recipe! 🙂

  3. I love eating white rice but have never considered brown rice before. This photo of the rice salad looks delicious.

  4. Would you believe that I’ve never actually had rice salad before? Honestly, I don’t eat much rice in general. This looks good though, I’ll bookmark it for later! I’m following a gluten-free programme at the moment so this may become a staple meal for me.

  5. And someone had the guts to tell me that brown rice is more arsenic than white rice…my thoughts are torn after reading the article, in regard to favoring brown rice over white rice, I need confirmation that brown rice isn’t arsenic..either way, I’ll definitely note this particular recipe down for a future try-out 🙂

  6. This would be really good. I like to eat things like this because it is so easy and healthy. I could probably eat 3 or 4 bowls of this one. I am kind of more into wild rice.

    • 3 to 4 bowls?…that would be a drop in the ocean for me, I’d need more bowls I guess, 🙂 just imagining if at all, a glass of yoghurt would be a wonderful combination for this amazing treat, I guess I’ll just have to try it out. 😉

  7. Ah, this is perfect. I’m having a guest soon that practically lives on rice, so I was trying to think of something nice to make for her while she visits. This is beautiful.

    I may have to leave out the peas since no one here really likes them. I’ll see if my guest likes them first. If she does, maybe I’ll just make two separate batches. This even looks pretty. Thanks!

    Off to have a look around the rest of the site and see what else I can make for my guest. So many good ideas on here.

  8. This recipe looks so yummy I’m going to have to try it tonight! I love the fact that the author mentions that we cook a bunch of rice once and add it to the salads later (really saves on rice because I always end up making too much or too little when I cook rice daily). I’d like to add that, for those who don;t really care for rice, using quinoa is a great option for healthy salads also! As much as I love tweaking, this recipe looks too good to pass up, I’m going to have to try it as written first!

  9. What a great recipe! I’m from Spanish descent and on Christmas we have a similar recipe, but instead of using cranberries and pecans we use raisins and apples. We also don’t use your amazing looking dressing. I’m totally using your recipe this year. I’m sure everyone will love this rice salad’s twist!

  10. I love cold grain dishes, especially during spring and summer, they are so refreshing. I like to make cereal salads because they are very quick and easy and I can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days. They taste good and are perfect to bring along for a picnic or a bbq. I have never used fruit or nuts when I make them but I like the combination and this dish looks very healthy and tasty so I’ll surely give it a try soon. Thank you!

  11. I love your recipe and it is quite filling, but If I’m to make it, I would make it with brown rice as the white polished rice has no nutritional value, just empty calories.

  12. Why is it called rice salad with APPLE, etc? Apple is not listed in the ingredients. I am going to try it with a Fuji apple, but if I make it again I will probably use a green apple.

    • Thank you so much for pointing this out to us, Barbara! Looks like there was a mistake in the original recipe – we’re looking into it, and planning to post an update to this salad as soon as we can, to make it better than ever.

      Green apple sounds like it would be delicious, with its firm texture and tart flavor. How was it with the Fuji?

  13. This was yummy. I used white rice and wild rice because that’s what I had on hand. I bought a Granny Smith apple. I had everything else in the pantry or freezer.


Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.