Brown Rice Salad

Our Brown Rice Salad recipe mixes a light homemade dressing with spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers to make a cold rice and vegetable combination that is super delicious!

Over head view of the best brown rice salad with vegetables and a light homemade dressing

Brown Rice Salad Recipe

Mediterranean flavors mix together to create a combination that will make your taste buds smile! This simple cold rice salad with vegetables makes a perfect side dish or the main dish for a light lunch. 

I love making a big batch and dividing into small individual sized serving containers for easy meals throughout the week.

Brown rice is a whole grain making it high in fiber and healthier as it is closer to its natural state than white rice that has been further processed. Spinach is high in protein making this a nutrient packed dish! 

We like to meal prep and make a big pot of brown rice. The extra rice can easily be reheated to serve with Sausage Stuffed Peppers, Ground Beef Casserole, or in Sausage Fried Rice

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Spoonful of spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and rice salad with red vinegar dressing

When we have lots of ripe cherry tomatoes from the garden this is one of our favorite recipes to make along with Black Bean and Corn Dip and Overnight Salad

Brown Rice Salad Ideas

Once the dressing is prepared the exact measurement of rice and veggies can easily be adjusted to what you have on hand.

Brown rice may be the main ingredient in the title and the primary source of calories in this recipe, but vegetables create the primary flavors. There are so many ways to customize brown rice salad to use ingredients that you have on hand or to build a variety of flavor profiles.

Here are other vegetables that can be mixed in: 

Black olives, feta cheese, red onions, red bell pepper, black beans or corn 

Drizzle a little balsamic dressing on top for some extra tang.

Summer salad with fresh produce and rice chilled in a white serving dish with a silver spoon

Mediterranean Rice Salad Ingredients Needed:

  • Brown rice
  • Baby spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Dressing Ingredients:
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Fresh dill
  • Clove of garlic
  • Sugar
  • Koshor salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Brown rice salad idea with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, baby spinach

Do I Need To Rinse the Rice?

Rinsing the rice helps remove excess starch on the surface of the grain. Rinsed rice will be a bit less tacky on the outside than unrinsed rice.

While this step is helpful and can improve texture the olive oil based dressing in this recipe will coat the rice to help prevent it from sticking together.

Does The Rice Have to Be Soaked?

Soaking rice is not required, but can be helpful. Soaking gives the grain time to soak up some water which can help decrease cooking time and make the rice become tender a bit faster.

Recipe Tips:

  • Cherry tomatoes can easily be substituted for grape tomatoes
  • Use rice at room temperature to avoid wilting the vegetables
  • Removing seeds from the cucumber is preferable, but not required
  • Soaking and rinsing rice is preferable, but not required 
  • Rice can be cooked and tossed with dressing a day or two ahead of time for meal prep and then veggies mixed in when ready to serve
  • We prefer to buy a bag of bulk brown rice, but Minute brown rice works as well
  • Allow baby spinach to air dry before tossing into salad so that the dressing will stick and get maximum coverage 
  • Long-grain rice or orzo pasta may be for brown rice, but we prefer brown rice

Step By Step Instructions

1. Cook brown rice according to directions on the package and allow to cool. Use two cups of cooked rice in the recipe.

Cooked brown rice in large stock pot

2. Measure out dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

Extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, dill, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl

3. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper generously!

Whisking together salad dressing in large bowl

4. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and remove seeds, slice and coarsely chop. Halve or quarter tomatoes based on your personal preference. Rinse baby spinach, and use a salad spinner or allow to air dry.

5. Toss rice in olive oil dressing.

Brown rice in a mixing bowl coated with a light homemade dressing

6. Gently stir in cucumbers and tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes and chopped cucumbers stirred into brown rice salad

6. Then stir in spinach. Can be eaten right away, but we like to chill before serving.

White bowl of cold salad with rice, spinach, tomatoes tossed in olive oil, red wine vinegar and dill dressing on a wooden table

How Long Does This Salad Last?

When fresh vegetables in prime condition are used this salad will last 3 to 4 days in an air tight container in the refrigerator. 

This salad does not freeze well since fresh produce is used and will not freeze and defrost well.

More Easy Salad Ideas:

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with bacon, red onions and cheddar cheese is one of my all-time favorite salads!

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice creates a colorful and delicious combination of ingredients to enjoy for a side dish or light lunch.

Almond Chicken Salad makes a nice meal with a combo of meat and veggies with a nice crunch from the nuts.

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream & Mayo mixes cool, crisp cucumbers in a creamy homemade salad dressing.

Easy bowl of brown rice salad with mediterranean flavors

Brown Rice Salad

Servings 8 servings
Author: Jennifer
The best Brown Rice Salad recipe mixes a light homemade dressing with spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers to make a rice and vegetable combination that is super delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 2 cups brown rice cooked
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dill fresh, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Koshor salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

Salad

  • Rinse rice to remove surface starch. Prepare rice according to directions on the package for a total of 2 cups of cooked rice.
    2 cups brown rice
  • Wash, air dry and chop vegetables.
    1 cucumber, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 pint cherry tomatoes

Dressing

  • In a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, dill, garlic and sugar.
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons dill, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Season generously with salt and pepper.
    1/2 teaspoon Koshor salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Add rice and stir. Add cucumber, spinach and tomatoes and toss to combine.

Nutrition

Calories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 161mgPotassium: 353mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1028IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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