Spinach Pecan Brown Rice Salad with Feta makes a healthy weekday lunch or a hearty salad for a weekend picnic. An easy, make ahead cold rice salad. This recipe is vegetarian, easily vegan and gluten free.
Brown rice salad fans, you’re going to love this nutty, toothsome, hearty and fiber packed rice salad. Brown rice makes an excellent canvas for so many fresh and in season veggies, but especially in hearty cold rice salads.
Make Ahead and Meal Prep Ready
Since short grain brown rice takes a while to cook, it can be prepped ahead of when needed, at least two days in advance. When ready to assemble the salad, toss all the ingredients together and share.
But what’s also so convenient about this cold rice salad is that it can hang out in the fridge for days. I love prepping it on the weekend and having this hearty salad ready to go for week day lunches. It makes the work week so much less stressful!
How to Make this Brown Rice Salad Recipe
The rice needs time to chill before assembling the final salad so if needed, the rice can be cooked at least two days in advance.
- First, cook the short grain brown rice and chill it in the fridge for freezer.
- Second, toast the pecans, and chop. Meanwhile chop the bell pepper, onions, spinach, olives and crumble the feta.
- Next, whip up the simple dressing. Whisk or shake in a jar lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Last, once the brown rice is chilled, mix all the ingredients together.
This healthy salad can hang out in the fridge for up to three days. Or be whisked away to a potluck or picnic!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Short or long grain brown rice can be used in this hearty salad recipe. If using long grain, follow the package directions for preparation as cooking times vary between short and long grain.
- Make it Vegan? Yes please! Simply leave the feta off or add vegan feta.
- What kind of olives? I like green or black. If going for green olives, choose the buttery variety rather than the briny, sharp flavored olives.
- If you can get your hands on chive flowers, incorporate them into your salad (organic gardens only!). They are edible!
More Brown Rice Recipes to Love
- Spanish Brown Rice
- Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice Salad
- Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers
- Roasted Fennel, Mushroom, White Bean Brown Rice Gratin
- Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Spinach Pecan Brown Rice Salad
For the Salad:
- 1 C Short Grain Brown Rice 210g
- 2 C Water
- 3/4 C Pecans halves 90g
- 1 C Green Bell Pepper, diced (1 large) 130g
- 3/4 C Black or Green Olives, whole then sliced 126g
- 1/4 C Purple Onion, small dice 40g
- 2 C Fresh Spinach, chopped into bite size pieces 80g
- 1/2 C Feta Cheese, crumbled (optional) 80g
- 1/4 C Parsley, chopped 6g
For the Dressing:
- Zest of one Lemon
- 3-4 Tbs Lemon Juice, adjust to taste
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt + more to taste
- Combine the brown rice and water in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir once, put the lid on and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Let rice sit uncovered for 5 minutes, stir again, then spread it out on to a parchment lined sheet pan to cool in the freezer for at least 1/2 hour. The rice can be made one day ahead and chilled overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Toast the pecans for 13-14 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly darker. Set aside to cool. Chop into small pieces.
- Combine the rice, pecans, bell pepper, olives, onion, spinach, feta and parsley. Set aside.
- To make the dressing, squeeze the lemon juice and zest into a bowl, whisk in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
- For best flavor, chill for at least 1/2 an hour then serve. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days.