My simple brown rice salad recipe is a super tasty and healthy lunchbox filler that’s quick to prepare and can easily be boxed up in your fridge, ready to take to work the following day. It also works well as a main course side dish. Serve with oven-roasted garlic and lemon chicken thighs for a tasty mid-week treat.
Simple Brown Rice Salad Recipe Ingredients
I love the simplicity of this deliciously nutritious and healthy brown rice salad. It bursts with zingy flavour from the use of fresh herbs and freshly squeezed lemon and it offers crunch and texture from the use of the radish and spring onion.
Brown rice is a whole grain. This means that each grain of rice retains more of the grain kernel after it has been harvested compared to white rice where the fibre rich bran and nutrient filled germ of the grain are removed.
The fibre in brown rice helps our bodies to process food more effectively and faster as well as making us feel fuller for longer. Brown rice is also known to help reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the formation of blood clots, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower the risk of certain cancers. It’s also gluten-free!
Brown basmati rice has a delicious nutty flavour and slightly firmer texture then white rice. Arguably it does takes slightly longer to cook than white rice but for me the health benefits far outweigh the little extra cooking time needed to reap the rewards.
I garnish this dish with fragrant pomegranate seeds to add flavour, texture and vibrancy. They are fibre-rich and contain vitamin E and magnesium, known for promoting normal cell growth, healthy bones, muscles and nerve function.
What to serve with this Delicious Brown Rice Salad Recipe
To transform this deliciously healthy rice salad recipe into a tasty mid-week dinner for the entire family to enjoy, why not serve it with some roasted garlic and lemon-infused chicken thighs? Here’s what to do:
Simply place some skinless and boneless chicken thighs in a large roasting pan along with a whole head of garlic that has been sliced through the middle (no need to remove the skin as this will protect the cloves and make them perfectly soft and sweet once cooked. Cut a couple of lemons in half and add these to the pan.
Scatter over some thyme leaves and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes at 180c (or until the chicken is cooked through and piping hot.
When cooked, squeeze the lemon over the chicken and give the pan a shuffle to make sure the chicken is coated with all the lovely lemon and herb flavors. Serve immediately with my brown rice salad recipe and a green salad.
Simple Brown Rice Salad Recipe Variations
Can I use white rice in this rice salad recipe?
The brown rice in this salad could be replaced with other wholegrains or pulses. Quinoa, bulgur wheat or puy lentils would all taste delicious. Cook the quinoa or bulgur wheat according to the instructions on the packet and use in the same way as I’ve included in the cooking method for my brown rice salad recipe. Puy lentils can be bought in handy ready-to use pouches these days. Simply empty the pouch and add to the remaining ingredients.
Replace Feta Cheese for Halloumi
Grilled halloumi would make a great variation to the feta in this recipe. I find that heating the halloumi by dry-frying in a skillet really improves the taste and texture and will add another dimension to this salad. Simply slice the halloumi into 1cm slices and brush lightly with a little olive oil. Heat a skillet (or frying pan if you don’t have a skillet) over a medium heat and then carefully place the prepared halloumi slices in a single layer. They will only take 30 seconds to 1 minute to brown slightly so keep an eye on them. Once cooked on one side, flip them over to finish cooking the other side. Serve with the rest of the salad ingredients immediately.
Vegan (dairy-free) brown rice salad
This salad offers plenty of taste and texture without the need for cheese if you’d prefer. So to create a dairy-free version of this brown rice salad, simply leave the cheese out altogether.
Simple Brown Rice Salad Recipe
- 100 g Brown Basmati Rice
- 125 g Feta cheese
- 50 g sun dried tomatoes drained and sliced
- 6 radishes sliced
- 2 spring onions sliced
- ¼ cucumber diced
- 1 large handful of spinach leave washed and roughly chopped
- Small bunch mint and / or coriander leaves only – chopped
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Pomegranate seeds if desired
- Start by rinsing the rice in cold water in a sieve. Shake off the excess water and then cook according to the instructions on the packet.
- While the rice is cooking prepare the sun-dried tomatoes, radishes, spring onion, cucumber, spinach and most of the herbs.
- When the rice is cooked drain in a sieve. The rice should be fluffy and light and will need a couple of minutes for the steam to evaporate and for it to cool a little.
- When the rice has cooled place it in a large bowl.
- Pile the vegetables over the top of the rice and give everything a good mix to combine.
- Add the oil, lemon juice and a good grind of salt and freshly milled black pepper and stir once more
- The rice salad can be covered with plastic wrap and left in the fridge for up to 24 hours
- When you are ready to serve, spoon into two bowls and sprinkle with the remaining herbs and pomegranate seeds
More Healthy Whole Grain and Beans Recipes
Whole grain rice as well as beans and pulses make a great alternative to white pasta, white bread and white rice. Our bodies absorb them slower and digest them over a longer period of time.
This makes them a better choice for weight loss as we feel fuller for longer and avoid a slump in energy that is often felt from food containing large amounts of sugar – even natural sugar!