This vegan kale brown rice salad with broccoli and peanut sauce is easy to make and packed with nutrition. Enjoy it fresh or make it in advance for a healthy meal prep option.

Bowl of kale broccoli brown rice salad topped with peanut sauce.


Packed with nutritious ingredients and bursting with flavour, this kale and rice salad is must-try for anyone looking to include more plant-based meals in their diet, without sacrificing taste.

The salad is vegan, oil-free, gluten-free and can be made nut-free if needed. It’s also loaded with healthy ingredients like nutrient-dense kale, brown rice and fresh veggies.

Along with all those micronutrients and plenty of fiber, it also provides a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. All that goodness is brought together by a creamy peanut dressing.

And if you like to meal prep, this salad is great for that too. You can make a batch on Sunday and it enjoy throughout the week.

Let’s go over the recipe highlights, ingredients you’ll need, substitutions and variations, how to the make it and some helpful tips.

Ingredient Notes

Visual of all ingredients for a broccoli, brown rice, and kale salad with peanut sauce. Ingredients are labelled with text overlay.

The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the printable recipe card below.

  • Brown Rice: This can be substituted with long-grain white rice, a wild rice blend or a different grain like quinoa. For a low-carb salad, you could use cauliflower rice.
  • Kale: Any variety of kale works. I like Tuscan (lacinato) kale for salads. You can substitute spinach if you prefer.
  • Cilantro: You can omit this if you’re not a fan. I think fresh basil would be a yummy substitute.
  • Bell Pepper: Any colour works.
  • Peanut Butter: Use natural peanut butter or substitute almond butter for a peanut-free recipe or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free recipe.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar: You can use seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar.
  • Maple Syrup: You can substitute agave syrup or honey. For a sugar-free recipe, you can use sugar-free sweetener such as stevia or monk fruit sweetener.
  • Soy Sauce: Make sure you use gluten-free tamari or a gluten-free recipe, or coconut aminos for a soy-free and gluten-free recipe.

Variations & Additions

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Cook Rice & Add Kale

If you don’t have brown rice on hand, start cooking that now according to package instructions. When the rice is done cooking, stir in the chopped kale to soften.

Quick Tip: Prefer quinoa? That works well here too so feel free to substitute it.

Pot of rice and kale cooking on a hot plate.

Step 2: Cook Broccoli

Chop the broccoli and steam on the stovetop (or other method of choice) for 3-4 minutes. It should be cooked al dente ie. a nice, bright green and still have some crunch to it.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have broccoli on hand, roasted or steamed cauliflower works well too.

Step 3. Chop Veggies & Cilantro

Chop up the rest of the veggies and the cilantro and mix in a large bowl with the steamed broccoli.

Bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, broccoli and cilantro mixed together in a bowl.

Step 4: Make the Dressing

Make the sauce by blending all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have a way to blend the dressing, omit the garlic cloves and fresh ginger and add 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp ground ginger or use the fresh/raw garlic and ginger but grate it to ensure it’s smooth. Whisk everything together until smooth.

Blender pouring peanut sauce into a jar.

Step 5: Mix Salad

Add the cooked brown rice to all the veggies and either toss with the peanut sauce or divide the salad between bowls and drizzle each with sauce.

Hand adding a spoonful of peanut sauce to a kale salad.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this salad in advance?

Absolutely! This salad is great for meal prep and can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Is this salad vegan and gluten-free?

Yes. This salad is both vegan and gluten-free, just be sure to use gluten-free tamari and not soy sauce in the peanut sauce.

What can I use instead of peanut butter?

You can use almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter.

For a completely nut-free dressing, this miso tahini sauce would also work well with this recipe.

Expert Tips

  1. Finely chop the kale. Remove the tough stems and finely chop the kale before adding it to the rice.
  2. Steam broccoli al dente. You don’t want mushy, over cooked broccoli, so make sure you steam it until tender but not over cooked. It should be bright green and still have some bite and crunch when it’s ready.
  3. Make extra sauce. For an extra sauce salad, you can always double the peanut sauce to make sure it really coats the salad. If you have extra you can store it in the fridge for another use such as dip, sauce for tofu or another recipe like this peanut tofu bowl or teriyaki chickpea bowl.
Broccoli, carrot and bell pepper salad with peanut sauce on a plate.

How to Store

  • Let cool before storing if the rice is warm.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
  • This recipe is not suitable for freezing due to the fresh veggies.

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Bowl of kale broccoli brown rice salad topped with peanut sauce.

Kale Peanut Brown Rice Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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This brown rice salad is packed with flavour and nutrition. You’ll love the healthy veggies and rice topped off with crunchy cashews and creamy peanut sauce.


For the Brown Rice Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice (180 g, approx. 2.53 cups cooked)
  • 3 cups packed, finely chopped de-stemmed kale (1 large bunch)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (1/2 a cucumber)
  • 1 heaping cup peeled and grated carrot (2 carrots)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (1 large crown broccoli), lightly steamed
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • fresh lime juice, optional for serving
  • chopped cashews or peanuts, optional for topping

For the Peanut Sauce


  1. Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Use a pot that will be large enough to stir the kale in once the rice is cooked. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the chopped kale so it softens. If you already have cooked rice on hand, just mix the kale with the rest of the veggies. 
  2. Chop and steam the broccoli on the stovetop for 4 minutes or cook al dente using another method of choice.
  3. Chop up the rest of the vegetables and the cilantro and add to a large serving or mixing bowl.
  4. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. If needed, add water 1 tsp at a time to adjust the consistency. The sauce should be thick but pourable.
  5. Add the cooked rice and kale to the bowl with the vegetables and mix to combine.
  6. Top with the dressing and mix. If needed, season with salt and pepper. 
  7. If desired, serve topped with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a few chopped peanuts or cashews


Storing: Let cool if the rice is still warm then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 384
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 13 g

Originally published on February 12, 2013.