Every-Season Brown Rice Salad

June 11, 2018  

Serves 4


For the basic salad

3 cups cooked and slightly cooled brown rice or other grain (quinoa, wheat berries, or wild rice)
1 cup cooked diced chicken (chickpeas or baked tofu would be a nice alternative)
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Seasonal Ingredients

In Spring add

1 cup fresh peas, quickly blanched in boiling water (or raw, if you like)
1 large or several baby carrots, peeled and either diced or thinly sliced
4 to 6 large asparagus spears, lightly steamed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small bunch fresh chives, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

In Summer add

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
Kernels from 1 to 2 ears of corn, quickly blanched in boiling water (or raw, if you like)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped

In Fall add

1 apples, frim pears, or Asian pears, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 mild fresh chile, such as Anaheim or poblano, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 shallot, minced

In Winter add

2 cups diced butternut squash, tossed in olive oil and roasted until tender at 375° (about 25 minutes)
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned well and very thinly sliced

For the dressing

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; more as needed
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Few dashes of hot sauce; more as needed
3 tablespoons olive oil; more as needed


Put the brown rice, chicken, nuts, and parsley in a large serving bowl.

Add your seasonal ingredients and toss to mix well.

Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, a few twists of pepper, some hot sauce, and the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let the salad rest for a least 15 minutes before serving, and adjust the seasoning, lemon juice, hot sauce, or olive oil at the last minute.