Brown rice salad is one of my favorite dishes to take with me to potlucks, and it's always a hit with the crowd! This simple recipe is easy to make, and can be altered to your liking. Serve it cold on hot summer days for a refreshing side dish. It's vegan and gluten-free.
I love potlucks, and I often host them at my house. Big salads are my go-to for these events, and this rice salad is one of my favorite dishes to cook when I'm hosting a crowd.
Actually, brown rice salad recipe came about because of a potluck – one that a friend was hosting. My friend Lydia had given me The Best of Vegan Cooking by Priscilla Feral, a cookbook from Friends of Animals. A few nights later, a friend had a picnic in the park, and I wanted to cook something with ingredients I had on hand. (My pantry was out of control at the time!), so I flipped through my new cookbook looking for something that would be good for a potluck and contain ingredients I wouldn’t have to go buy. I came across Himalayan Red Rice Salad with Cranberries, and it seemed to fit the bill. I made some changes to suite what I had on hand. And it was a big hit!
Brown rice is a whole grain, because all of its bran layers are intact. White rice has had the bran and germ removed. Since those are the most nutritious part of the grain, the rice is left with very few nutrients.
Packed with fiber, minerals, and B vitamins, brown rice is rather nutritious. It also contains antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative stress.
How to Cook Brown Rice
Before you cook brown rice, you should rinse it. I do this by placing it in a fine-mesh colander. You can also put it in a bowl, pour water over it, and then strain the water out.
Brown rice has a 1:2 ratio to cooking water, and rice will double in size once it has cooked. So, if you want two cups of cooked rice, you'll need one cup of dry rice and two cups of water. I like to cook rice with vegetable stock to give it more flavor. If I don't have pre-made stock on hand, I'll add bouillon to the water.
To cook the rice, you simple put the rice and water or stock in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it's boiled, reduce the heat to a simmer and place the lid on the pot. Let it cook for 45-50 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it sit with the lid on for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and serve!
Brown Rice Salad Recipe Notes
For this salad, you'll need to let your cooked rice cool before you mix everything together. (If you happen to have left over brown rice in the fridge, go ahead and use it in this recipe. It'll cut your prep time down considerably!) Once the rice has cooled, all you have to do is mix the dressing ingredients together, add then mix everything together! The salad tastes best once it's been in the fridge for about an hour or so.
When I make this dish, I use scallions, carrots, celery, dried cherries, and almonds, but you can mix up the ingredients and use whatever you'd prefer. If you'd rather use walnuts and dried cranberries, it will taste just as good. Diced red pepper, red onion, and cucumber would be good, too.
I like use fruity balsamic vinegars when I make this salad. It usually make it with fig balsamic, but recently I picked up a bottle of black cherry vinegar, which tasted quite divine.
- First, cook the rice and let it cool.
- Then, mix the dressing ingredients together.
- Then, add the cooked rice, chopped vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts to a bowl and toss together with the dressing.
- Refrigerate and serve!
Serving Your Salad
Serve this brown rice salad as side dish at potlucks, picnics, and barbecues. If you want to make a meal out of it, serve it on a bed of leafy greens.
Potluck-Worthy Rice Salad
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fruity balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ cup slivered almonds toasted
- Add the vegetable stockor water and rice to a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to low and cover the pot. Allow to cook for 45 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Allow to cool.
- While the rice is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, powdered ginger, sea salt, garlic powder, and minced garlic in a small bowl.
- Place the rice in a large bowl. Add the carrots, celery, scallions, cranberries, and almonds. Gently fold in the dressing. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour to let the flavors combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.