Apple Pecan Brown Rice Salad - a healthy brown rice salad with apples, cranberries, carrots, onions and pecans. vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free
Fruit, Rice, Side Dishes, Vegetables and Salads

Apple Pecan Brown Rice Salad – Crazy Ingredient Challenge

Today is October 20th so it is our monthly Crazy Ingredient Challenge recipe posting day. A group of bloggers choose two ingredients that may not normally be paired together, create a recipe and all post about it on the same day. This month we have Apples and Chives. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see what the other bloggers have created.

I went with what I had around the house to make this Apple and Pecan Brown Rice Salad.

 


Apple Pecan Brown Rice Salad - a healthy brown rice salad with apples, cranberries, carrots, onions and pecans. vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free

I already had the apples on hand for a guest post I made for a blogging friend. And, I needed to harvest my chives because they have already gone to seed for the year which means they won’t be around much longer.

chive seeds

I saved a bunch of the seeds to plant next year. Plus chives are perennial so next spring they will start re-growing in this pot anyway.

The rest of the ingredients are what I had on hand. Choose whatever you have and like, but be sure to go with at least a few ingredients with bold flavors since the rice is mild. I went with sweet from the apples, carrots and cranberries coupled with buttery pecans and the allium pair red onion and chives. I love the colors as well as the flavors.

salad ingredients

 

To cook the rice I used a trick I picked up from Cook’s Country (or was it America’s Test Kitchen? or Cook’s Illustrated?). Boil it like pasta instead of steaming it. It cooks in half the time and it cooks evenly. Have you ever steamed brown rice and had some of it mushy and some crunchy? Blech! Because each grain of rice is surrounded with boiling water all of them cook at the same speed.

The next trick is to splash the rice with vinegar or lemon juice while it is still warm. The rice absorbs the flavor as it cools which is perfect for a rice salad. If you have already cooked your rice, no worries, just be sure to let the salad sit with the dressing on it to absorb the flavors for at least an hour if not longer. I do not like gobs of dressing on my salad preferring it as an accent to the salad ingredients. If you do like more dressing, just keep the ratio of oil to vinegar about 50/50 and make more.

I had part of the salad within 30 minutes of making it and it was fabulous. The rest, I let sit overnight and had for lunch the next day. It was even better! I also threw in some leftover chopped chicken for a bit more protein. You could go with tofu or other vegan alternative, if desired. Or just leave it as a nice side dish.

Apple Pecan Brown Rice Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 35 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Fruit, Rice and Grains, Salad and Vegetables, Side Dish
Apple Pecan Brown Rice Salad - a colorful and healthy brown rice salad with apples, cranberries, carrots, onions and pecans. vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 apple (sliced into thin chunks)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1 Medium carrot (grated or cut into matchsticks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large sauce pan add rice and cover with water at least an inch above the rice level. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and continue to boil for 25 minutes (like you would cook pasta). Add additional water if level gets too low. Test a few grains of rice for doneness, boil for an additional few minutes if needed.
Drain rice. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) immediately and stir rice. Cool rice completely in the refrigerator.
While rice is cooking, chop fruit, nuts and vegetables as needed.
In a small jar (like a baby food jar) add oil, remaining 1/4 cup vinegar and chives. Shake to combine.
Combine cooled rice, salad ingredients and dressing and stir thoroughly. Put salad in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for flavors to blend.


Until next time, happy eating.
~Audrey

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