This Apple & Brown Rice Salad has everyone going back for seconds! The tangy dressing, apples & veggies make this a great side for any meal!
Why We Love Cold Rice Salad
- Apple & Brown Rice Salad is one of my go-to summer side dish recipes. It’s crazy easy to make and tastes great with everything!
- I totally take a shortcut and use instant brown rice so that everything’s ready in about 20 minutes. Or if I have leftover brown rice from dinner the night before, I’ll make this salad to use it up.
- The bright, tangy dressing goes perfectly with the tart apples, and crunchy celery and bell peppers. Everyone will be asking you for the recipe.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Brown Rice Salad
BROWN RICE: You have to have rice to make a rice salad. I use brown rice for this recipe, but you could 100% use white rice if you prefer (or just have leftovers hanging out in the fridge).
PRODUCE: Grab some Granny Smith apples, celery, red bell peppers, green onions, and parsley. It’s important to get Granny Smith apples and not another variety. Their tart flavor really makes this salad. You can use orange or yellow bell peppers if you like. I’d say skip green ones so you have some nice pops of color in the salad.
DRESSING: We’re making a super basic lemon vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and lemon juice. I highly recommend freshly squeezed juice, but bottled is fine if that’s what you have on hand.
How to Make Rice SaladJump to Recipe
STEP 1 Add the cooked brown rice, apple, bell peppers, green onions, and parsley in a serving bowl. Gently stir everything together.
STEP 2 In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. (You can also do this in a mason jar, cover it, and shake.) Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until everything is evenly coated.
STEP 3 Season the rice salad with salt and pepper to taste. You can serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. If you chill it to serve later, give the salad a stir before serving.
Tips & Tricks
- This rice salad goes amazing with parmesan crusted salmon, grilled chicken, and other seafood. It’s also great for cookouts and potlucks when you want a light, bright side to balance out heavier meats.
- I use instant brown rice to keep the cooking time for this recipe down. Regular brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly or make a batch ahead of time.
- My family prefers this salad at room temperature or slightly chilled. If I’ve had it in the fridge for a while, I’ll leave the salad out on the counter to warm up a bit before serving it with dinner.
Rice Salad Recipe FAQ
Can you make rice salad the day before?
You can absolutely make rice salad ahead of time.
- Option 1) Assemble the entire salad and pop it into an airtight container and chill it in the fridge. Stir before serving.
- Option 2) Cook the rice and store it covered in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat stir in the other ingredients and dressing.
Cooking the rice is what takes the most time, apart from chopping the veggies and apples… which you can absolutely prep ahead of time too. Just toss the diced apples in a little lemon juice to help prevent browning.
Are rice salads really that healthy or not?
Generally speaking, yes. Rice salads are fairly healthy, especially when they’re made with brown rice. Especially in comparison to say potato salad with its creamy mayo-based dressing. However, it really all comes down to the ingredients, dressing used, and if you’re counting your carbs or not.
How long can you keep rice salad in the fridge?
This salad will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You’ll want to stir it before serving to redistribute the dressing. The lemon in the dressing will help keep the apples from browning, but that same acid will start to break down the rice after a few days.
I will say that instant rice tends to break down faster than regular brown rice. Something to keep in mind if you think you’ll have lots of leftovers.
Other Recipes You May Like
Apple & Brown Rice Salad
- 6 cups cooked brown rice (see note)
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 2 granny smith apples cored and diced
- 2 red bell peppers seeded and diced
- 3 green onions thinly sliced (green parts only)
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the cooked rice, apples, celery, bell peppers, green onions, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. (You can also shake up the dressing in a mason jar.) Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Season the rice salad with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled. If you chill the salad fore later, give it a stir before serving.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.