This Vegetable Brown Rice Salad is an easy-to-make delightful side dish or vegetarian main course. Good any time of the year, it is especially wonderful with the beautiful summer produce we have in the markets now. It would be a great addition to your 4th of July menu. No need to make a special run to the grocery store, use your favorite vegetables that you have on hand!
Recently some of my friends and I got together and we all brought foods to share. I always enjoy spending time with other food lovers, especially when we have potlucks. There are several vegetarians in the group, so I thought I would try a new recipe ~ they were my guinea pigs!
Most of the people in the group are also recipe developers, so it is safe to share something we are trying out. We know that changes are probably already planned, adjustments may be needed, and constructive criticism is always welcome.
Because I was running late, I made the error of not completely cooling the cooked rice before combining it with the vegetables and dressing. As a result, my perfectly al dente vegetables continued to cook and got too soft. Don’t make the same mistake! You can make the rice a day ahead or use leftover cooked rice from another meal or Chinese take-out!
While my recipe calls for lightly sautéing the vegetables before combining them with the rice and dressing, you can certainly use raw vegetables instead. In hindsight, I probably could have gotten away with putting them in raw and the residual heat from the rice would have softened them perfectly.
The touch of sugar in the dressing adds a nice balance to the richness of the rice. I was pleasantly surprised. When I first saw it listed in another recipe, I wondered if it would be too sweet, more like a macaroni salad dressing, but it was just right.
You can use any combination of vegetables that you have on hand and that you like. Just think about creating a beautiful rainbow of colors and you know you will have a healthy and delicious meal! While I always think of serving this kind of salad in the spring and summer when the farmers’ markets are overflowing with produce, you can make it all year long by using whatever is in season and supplementing with high quality, organic frozen vegetables when needed.
Because you serve this salad at room temperature, it is perfect for picnics, potlucks, barbecues, showers, etc. It is very flexible and the perfect accompaniment to grilled proteins. It is a natural for your upcoming 4th of July celebrations.
Before I had to go gluten-free I ate a lot of whole grain salads. I love farro, bulgur, barley, and other gluten-based grains. One of the best ways I can get close to those grains these days is brown rice and I am grateful that I love it too! It has a nice nuttiness and texture that is similar to the other grains.
I hope you enjoy this Vegetable Brown Rice Salad. You can make it a day or two in advance, serve it as a side dish to roasted or grilled proteins, or serve it as a vegetarian/vegan main course. If you serve it as a side dish one night, you can chop or shred some cooked meat or poultry and fold it into the salad the next day making it a main course salad.
Have a fabulous day and holiday weekend! Enjoy the celebrations and be safe. See you back here for Chocolate Monday next week!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments and leave a star rating, I love hearing from you!
Ingredients needed for Vegetable Brown Rice Salad:
- Rice: chicken or vegetable broth, white wine, salt, brown rice
- Dressing: vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil, lemon zest, black pepper
- Vegetables: olive oil, bell pepper, poblano pepper, carrots, celery, zucchini, shallots, garlic
- Salad: mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil
Letting the rice cool completely before assembling is the key to a perfect rice salad. If you try to dress it when it is still warm, you may wind up with a soggy or gluey salad.
The reason you add sugar and salt to the vinegar and stir is that they won’t fully dissolve if you add the oil too early. Always mix the dry ingredients into the vinegar before mixing in the oil.
How to make Vegetable Brown Rice Salad:
- Prepare the Rice: Bring the broth or water to a boil in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice and salt. Return to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes; follow package directions for the best results
- Transfer cooked rice to a baking sheet, spreading it out into a single layer to cool. Toss occasionally to break up any clumps; cool to room temperature
- Make the Dressing: Place the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the oil and pepper. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Shake again before adding to the cooled rice.
- Prepare the Vegetables: While the rice is cooking, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the peppers, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often until starting to soften. Add the zucchini, shallots, and garlic. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, tossing occasionally.
- Assemble the Salad: When cool, transfer the rice to a large bowl adding the vegetables, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Toss to combine. Pour half the dressing over the top and toss to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if desired. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.
- Serve the salad at room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to a couple of days.
To make this salad vegan, use vegetable broth or water to cook the rice and leave out the cheese or use a non-dairy cheese.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Kitchen scale
- Chef’s knife and paring knife
- Cutting board
- Baking sheet
- 10-inch skillet
- Large mixing bowl
Naturally gluten-free! All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the products haven’t changed and are still safe to consume.
Rice (see note in first paragraph)
- 2 cups (0.5L) chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
- 1/4 cup (59ml) white wine or dry vermouth*, optional
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (200g) raw brown rice (I use Lundberg)
- 3 tbsp Champagne or rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 tbsp good olive oil
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 bell pepper, stem & seeds removed, finely diced
- 1 to 2 poblano or sweet Italian peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 to 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 to 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1/2 cup (118ml) zucchini cubes
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup (237ml) mozzarella cubes or mini bocconcini quartered
- 1 lb (about 454g) ripe tomatoes, cubed
- 1 cup packed basil leaves, about 1 large bunch, chopped
- Prepare the Rice: In a medium saucepan, bring the broth or water and wine to a boil, stir in the rice and 1 tsp salt. Return to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. NOTE: Depending on the type of rice you are using, the ratios and cooking times will vary. Follow the package directions for the best results.
- Transfer the cooked rice to a baking sheet with sides and spread it out to cool. Toss occasionally with two forks as it cools, to fluff it up and break up any clumps. This helps keep the rice light and fluffy. Cool to room temperature.
- Combine the Dressing: Place the vinegar, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the olive oil and pepper. Place the lid on the jar, tighten it, and shake vigorously until emulsified. Set aside; shake again before adding to the rice.
- Prepare the Vegetables: While the rice is cooking, in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, poblano peppers, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the zucchini, shallots, and garlic. Continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Toss occasionally to let all the vegetables cool evenly.
- Assemble the Salad: When cool, transfer the rice to a large bowl and add sauteed vegetables, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Toss to combine. Pour half of dressing over the top and toss to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more dressing if desired. Any leftover dressing can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Serve at room temperature. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to a couple of days.
- For Vegan: Use vegetable broth or water to cook the rice and leave out the cheese.
Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
Inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten.
*NOTE: The major gluten-free organizations have declared that distilled alcohols are gluten free. Wine is also considered safe. For some very sensitive people wine may cause issues. In a few rare cases, wine makers may use barrels that have minute amounts of gluten in the caulk. If you have issues with wine, look for a winery that uses only stainless steel containers to age their wines.
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the products haven’t changed and are still safe to consume.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 504mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is calculated by online tools and is merely an estimate.
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