Kale Peanut Brown Rice Salad
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.
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.
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
- This sesame dressing, cilantro lime dressing, spicy peanut sauce, coconut peanut sauce, miso tahini dressing or almond satay sauce also work well on this salad as alternative dressings.
- Add crispy tofu, Sriracha tofu or marinated tempeh for protein.
- Chickpeas, black beans or edamame make a good addition for extra plant-based protein and fiber.
- Roasted sweet potato would make a delicious addition.
- Roasted cauliflower or steamed cauliflower would make a good addition or alternative to broccoli.
- Shredded purple or green cabbage or chopped snow peas would be a good addition for crunch and nutrition.
- Toasted sesame seeds, chopped cashews or peanuts are good sprinkled over top for crunch and a nutty flavour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Finely chop the kale. Remove the tough stems and finely chop the kale before adding it to the rice.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Kale Peanut Brown Rice Salad
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
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. 2.5–3 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
- 5 tbsp (75 g) natural peanut butter
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 2 tbsp water, plus more if needed to adjust consistency
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger root
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or up to 1 tbsp sriracha or sambal oelek, optional
- 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.
- Chop and steam the broccoli on the stovetop for 4 minutes or cook al dente using another method of choice.
- Chop up the rest of the vegetables and the cilantro and add to a large serving or mixing bowl.
- 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.
- Add the cooked rice and kale to the bowl with the vegetables and mix to combine.
- Top with the dressing and mix. If needed, season with salt and pepper.
- 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
Keywords: asian brown rice salad, peanut rice salad
Originally published on February 12, 2013.
Fantastic! Best plant based meal I have ever made.
Next time I’ll add some sliced snap peas for a serving of legumes,
I forgot the peanut garnish. Next time!
I have made this several times for my weekly lunch food prep. So tasty and filling! Thank you for the awesome recipes!
You’re very welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
This recipe was AMAZING. The sauce was to die for and it all saved super well in the fridge for the week!!!
So happy to hear that, Bethany! Thanks for the review!
My whole family loved this meal. I took all the salad ingredients and turned it into more of a bowl situation 😊. Added some seasoned baked tofu and used some of the peanut sauce to dress and massage the kale. I find I can get my family to eat more kale this way! The peanut sauce is delicious!!! Thank you 🌱 💚
So glad, Christy! I tend to do this more as a bowl too. Sounds ground with added tofu! Thanks so much for the review.
Could you use Cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar in place of rice vinegar in the peanut sauce?
OMG! The perfect combo of delicious foods. That dressing……????? This will definitely make the meal prep rotation.
I hope you enjoy it!
Made it today, substituted carrots with water chestnuts for crunch. Overall , an interesting dish! Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it! Love the water chestnut idea!
This salad looks amazing! Loaded with so much goodness! Will be making this soon!
How did you know I was craving peanut sauce? This salad looks so comforting but healthy – I love it!
Because I’m always craving peanut sauce? So I assume everyone else is too. 😉 This salad is exactly comforting but healthy!
This salad looks absolutely delicious! I can literally taste all that flavor from here. I am loving all that kale + all those veggies. That peanut sauce sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try this out 🙂
Yes! It’s so good with the peanut sauce. I almost want to double the sauce recipe to make it extra, EXTRA creamy. I’d still feel good about it with all that kale in there. 😉 Let me know if you make it!