This cold brown rice salad recipe is easy to make, full of healthy ingredients like kale, cucumber, carrot, broccoli and cashews and can be made in advance for healthy meals all week. Best of all, it’s topped with a creamy peanut sauce that take the whole thing to the next level. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free and high in protein and fibre.
Brown Rice Health Benefits
I talked a lot about the health benefits of various whole grains in my guide to whole grains which covers everything from brown rice, quinoa, farro and barley. In general, whole grains are high in fibre and rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
I always stock brown rice in my pantry since it’s inexpensive, versatile and nutrient-rich. Brown rice is particularly high in selenium and magnesium which are both important for a healthy heart and it also contains a good amount of manganese which plays a role in everything from bone development to blood sugar regulation and immunity. Brown rice is naturally gluten-free and is high in fibre which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of diabetes.
How to Make Peanut Sauce
Homemade peanut sauce is easy to make. My go-to ingredients are natural peanut butter, maple syrup, rice vinegar (I use unseasoned), garlic, ginger, soy sauce and water. To make it, simply add all the ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth and creamy or use an immersion blender to process until smooth. This peanut sauce recipe is a bit sweet, a bit tangy, a bit spicy and nice and creamy.
You can plan around with the amount of water used to make it thicker or thin it out a bit. I liked this recipe with 2 tbsp of pure maple syrup but you could also use coconut sugar or another natural sweetener of choice. Even fresh dates would do the trick.
Make it Spicy Peanut Sauce
I added 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes for some spice. Feel free to add 1/2 tsp or more to suit your preference. Alternatively, you can add 1 tbsp of sriracha sauce or blend in some fresh peppers of choice.
Substitutions for Peanut Butter
You can make the peanut sauce with almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter as an alternative to peanut butter.
Vegan Food Prep Salads
Since this salad is made with kale, it’s a good option for food prep as it won’t get soggy. Kale and swiss chard are good choices for make-ahead salads and they’re sturdier than say spinach or romaine which don’t hold up very well. Some other good salad options for meal prep are:
Mediterranean Farro Salad Bowls // Vegan Roasted Beet Salad with Marinated Chickpeas // Roasted Squash Salad with Marinated Chickpeas // Roasted Potato Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette // Tofu Kale Salad with Coconut Peanut Dressing // High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad // Vegan Broccoli Salad with Raisins
Kale Brown Rice Salad
To make this salad, chop up the veggies and throw them in bowl, cook the rice and mix that in. Top with peanut the sauce and chopped cashews and dig in. It’s also yummy with a spritz of fresh lime juice.
Quick Note for Best Results
I find that serving the sauce poured over individual servings results in a more flavourful salad than mixing it all together. So if you’re making this for food prep, keep the sauce in a separate container and add a needed as you dish out servings. It’s okay if you want to mix it all in however I find the sauce gets a little watered down this way and you get much more flavour by pouring the sauce over each serving.
That being said, if you’re serving the whole salad right away, go ahead and mix it all together, this is more if you’re letting it sit overnight that the sauce gets watered down a bit.
Recipe Nutrition Details
If you make 4 servings out of this recipe, each serving will be 384 calories with 48 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of fat and 13 grams of plant-based protein. It also contains more than your daily allowance of vitamin A and vitamin C, 15% of your daily iron plus magnesium, folate and zinc. For more information on nutrition, check out my vegan nutrition guide and post on vegan protein sources.Print
This cold brown rice salad is flavourful, hearty and full of nutrition. You’ll love the healthy veggies and rice topped off with crunchy cashews and creamy peanut sauce. This recipe holds up well so you can make it for food prep and is vegan, gluten-free and oil-free.
For the Brown Rice Salad
- 1 1/3 cup uncooked brown rice (120 g)
- 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)
- squeeze of fresh lime juice
- a few tbsp chopped cashews or peanuts per serving
For the Peanut Sauce
- Make the Rice. Cook the brown rice according to package directions. When the rice is close to being done, mix in the finely chopped kale and let it sit for few minutes. Make sure you use a pot that’s large enough to allow you to mix the kale in. Alternatively, if you already have cooked rice, you can just mix the kale in with the rest of the veggies. Mixing it with the hot rice just allows the kale to soften up.
- Prepare the Veggies. Chop up all the veggies and cilantro and add to a bowl.
- Blend the Sauce. Make the peanut sauce by blending all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
- Mix the Rice and Veg. Once the rice is cooked and you’ve mixed in the kale, add it to the bowl with the rest of the veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Spritz with a bit of fresh lime juice, if desired. Mix well.
- Serve. Portion out into bowls or containers and top each serving with the peanut sauce and chopped cashews. Alternatively you can add everything to the large bowl and mix with the sauce before serving. Top with additional fresh cilantro and lime if desired.
- Serving Size: 1/4th of recipe
- Calories: 384
- Fat: 17 g
- Carbohydrates: 48 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 13 g