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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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16 comments

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  1. Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook

    I love this idea, especially with those dried cranberries. This could make for a great side dish alternative on Thanksgiving.
    Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook recently posted…CIC: Apples & ChivesMy Profile

    1. Audrey

      Especially with all of the other heavy dishes people tend to serve, this could be a nice lighter dish!

  2. Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm

    I love rice salads and this one is a perfect side for a Fall meal.
    Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm recently posted…Couscous with Apples and Chives for #CrazyIngredientChallengeMy Profile

    1. Audrey

      For some reason I never think to make a rice salad and this was so good.

  3. elaine hodges

    Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party.
    elaine hodges recently posted…Trick or Treat! Check Out These Healthier Halloween TreatsMy Profile

  4. Vickie @Vickie's Kitchen and Garden

    Such a great recipe for this time of year. A great side dish that’s for sure. It’s great to be co-hosting with you at the #HomeMattersParty
    Vickie @Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden recently posted…Free Kindle books for Today10/22/15 Plus Amazon’s Deal of the Day!My Profile

    1. Audrey

      Thanks Vickie, it came out even better than I imagined.

  5. Alayna @AlaynasCreations

    Interesting combination. I like combining fruit with savory/salad dishes.
    Happy to be co-hosting with you again #HomeMattersParty
    Alayna @AlaynasCreations recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #60My Profile

  6. Sahana

    I love the sweet and savory taste together :). This recipe is perfect . #HomeMattersParty
    Sahana recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #60My Profile

    1. Audrey

      Thanks! I like to mix things up in my salads.

  7. Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog

    This looks so yummy! Perfect for this time of year. Thanks for sharing! #HomeMattersParty
    Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #60My Profile

    1. Audrey

      Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Carlee

    What a fresh and bright looking salad!
    Carlee recently posted…Pumpkin Slab Pie – A Guest Post by MiMiMy Profile

  9. Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai

    I’m always lookinf interesting side dishes. This looks yummy! Thanks for sharing and being a wonderful co-host of the #HomeMattersParty – we love having you on the team! 🙂

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai
    Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai recently posted…DIY Earrings – A Kate Spade Inspired Bridesmaids GiftMy Profile

  10. Easy Peasy Life Matters

    Love how unusual and fresh this salad sounds! Yum! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Easy Peasy Life Matters recently posted…Easy Peasy French Onion DipMy Profile

  11. Tiffany

    This looks yummy! Can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing with us at the Merry Monday Link Party! Hope to see you again on Sunday night!
    Tiffany recently posted…Merry Monday Link Party #77My Profile

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