Brown Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

This brown rice salad is a healthy salad with brown rice, a mix of peppers (sweet & spicy), nuts and herbs, tossed with a Lime Dressing. #grains #brownrice #salad #recipe @mjskitchen

This weekend we had a wonderful meatless meals that was totally unexpected. I had made this Brown Rice Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette and was planning on serving it with chicken.  Then Bobby walked in with a bunch of green tomatoes from our garden so I couldn’t I resist making a batch of fried green tomatoes. To heck with the chicken. What a great meal that this salad with the fried green tomatoes made!

This brown rice salad is crunchy, nutty, tangy, sweet and spicy.  It includes a mix of colorful peppers – sweet red and yellow bells and spicy roasted green chile.  Toasted almonds add some real crunch, and fresh parsley and mint give it a nice herbiness.  The lime dressing adds acid and a bit of tang. Because it can be served at room temperature or chilled, this salad is great for potlucks, parties, or picnics.  It also keeps well, so leftovers are a treat.

For the brown rice, I used organic short grain. It’s nutty, tasty, and quite nutritious.  Brown rice in general is higher in B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron and fiber than white rice and taste so much better.  The only problem with it is that it takes 45 minutes to cook…until now.  I’ve now got it down to 30 minutes, thanks to help from Cook’s Illustrated. (See “How to Cook Brown Rice in 30 minutes” below.)

This brown rice salad is a healthy salad with brown rice, a mix of peppers (sweet & spicy), nuts and herbs, tossed with a Lime Dressing. #grains #brownrice #salad #recipe @mjskitchen


Brown Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Yields: 4 – 5 cups
Prep and Cook time: less than 45 minutes


~3 cups cooked short grain brown rice
¼ cup roasted green chile, diced
¼ of a large yellow or orange sweet pepper, diced
¼ of a large red sweet pepper, diced
~¼ cup sweet onion, diced
10 large green olives, diced
¼ cup chopped almonds, lightly toasted
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. minced fresh mint

Salad Dressing Ingredients

Juice from ½ lime
3 tsp. olive brine
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
2 dashes salt


  1. While the brown rice is cooking, chopped the vegetables and herbs, toast the almonds, and transfer to a large salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.  Set aside.
  3. Once the rice is cooked and drained, add to the vegetables and herbs. Toss to combine.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.  Taste, adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or chilled.



This brown rice salad is a healthy salad with brown rice, a mix of peppers (sweet & spicy), nuts and herbs, tossed with a Lime Dressing.

Kitchen Notes

The Peppers – You can use just about any peppers you want.  Just choose a combination of sweet peppers and a spicy one.  Also use a mix of raw and roasted to provide different textures.

Onion – If you don’t use sweet onion, you might want to cut back on the onion as it can be overpowering.  And if you don’t like onion, then just leave it out.

Almonds – The almonds could be substituted with toasted pecans or pine nuts (pinon).

Parsley and Mint – We love this combination with this salad. However, cilantro could also be used as well as a touch of tarragon.  You can let the entree’ help you decide which herb(s) to use, but the parsley/mint combo goes with just about anything.

Serve this Brown Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette as a side to just about any meat entree’ – steaks, burgers, pork chops, or chicken.  It also works with another vegetarian dish like those fried green tomatoes, a caprese or a swiss chard quiche.


How to Cook Brown Rice in 30 minutes

Inside one of the 2016 Cook’s Illustrateds, America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) tested cooking brown rice like one cooks pasta – in boiling water. I saw this as a revolutionary new way to cook brown rice so I had to give it a try.  It worked! The rice cooked in 35 minutes instead of 45! The result was a beautiful batch of rice, with individual grains, no stickiness or gumminess. Brown rice cooked just the way we like it.

I did play around with the ATK method and was able to get the same results using considerably less water which cut another 5 minutes off the time.  I found it best to cook without a lid, keeping the water boiling like you would pasta.  So if you love brown rice, but don’t cook it much because it takes too long, you really need to give this method a try. 

Boiling brown rice like pasta, shortens the cooking time to 30 minutes #brown #rice @mjskitchen


How to Cook Brown Rice in 30 minutes

Yields 3 cups cooked rice
Prep and cook time:  less than 45 minutes


4 cups water
1 heaping tsp. broth base (low salt) (I use Better Than Boullion)
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice, rinsed


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a 4 quart sauce pan. Add the broth base and stir to dissolve.
  2. Add the rice, stir, and bring back to a low boil. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Keep an eye on the water to make sure it doesn’t boil over, but keep it boiling.
  4. Cook for 30 minutes, test for doneness. If done, drain* and enjoy.
  5. If not done to your taste, cook for 5 more minutes at the most. Drain.

*You can use some of the water for other purposes.  For example, if I use brown rice for Braised Orange Ginger Chicken, I’ll use some of the rice water in place of tap water.


Cooking brown rice like you cook pasta keeps the grains moving while cooking.  This yields a batch of rice with separate, individual grains that is perfect for salads and fried rice dishes.  It’s also good for rice bowls or stir fries as long as you plan to eat with a fork instead of chopsticks.

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57 Responses to “Brown Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette”

  1. Adina December 3, 2015 at 1:52 am #

    Hi MJ. I really did make this salad and totally loved it. Thanks for sharing!

    • mj December 4, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

      Thanks so much Adina!

  2. Anna @ shenANNAgans November 25, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    We’ve had kilos and kilos of brown rice in the cupboard for ages, when I whipped your salad recipe up last weekend, I was met with a little disgruntlement, then they tried it. WINNING recipe, got me a bunch of high fives. Thanks MJ. 🙂

    • mj November 28, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

      Thanks so much for the Feedback Anna!!!! I’m SO GLAD that you and your family liked this salad! You made my day!!

  3. The Duo Dishes November 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    Love parsley and mint together as well. Very refreshing. No reason not to dress up brown rice. It’s as good as any grain when it comes to a salad.

    • mj November 15, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      I’m with you on the parsley and mint! Mint is actually underutilized as a savory component sometimes. Thanks!

  4. Adina November 11, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    Exactly what I was looking for, I was planning to make a rice salad tomorrow. I have never used olive brine in anything before, I am really curious about that. 🙂

    • mj November 11, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

      Oh thanks so much Adina! I do hope you get a chance to make it. Once you taste a little olive brine in the vinaigrette, you’ll be adding it to everything. I even add it to mayo when I make it. So good!

  5. Amy (Savory Moments) November 9, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    This salad looks so bright and tasty and the lime vinaigrette sounds perfect!

    • mj November 9, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      Thanks Amy!

  6. Sissi November 9, 2015 at 6:24 am #

    I must have made hundreds of rice salads in recent years since it’s been my husband’s favourite office lunch for some time! Apart from that I also have it regularly, but there are so many new things I’ve learnt from your version!
    The roasted chile and lime vinaigrette sound both fantastic! I wonder why I’ve never tried lime juice (even though I do prepare lemon vinaigrettes!). And olive brine sounds amazing! I’ll use at least one of your tips very very soon. Thank you once more for such excellent ideas!
    (Alas I’m one of those people who are not big fans of brown rice… I digest it very badly, so have an excuse to avoid it 😉 On the other hand, I really love buckwheat (aka buckwheat groats) and eat them quite often instead of white plain rice (not because they are healthy but because they are delicious!), so I’m sure they would perfectly fit your beautiful salad instead of rice!)

    • mj November 9, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! I’ve always been tempted to try buckwheat groats and you’ve given me the inspiration now to do so. Sorry to read about the brown rice issues. It’s always interesting what our body decide to like and dislike. Over the past few years my body has decided to rebel against dairy products. It’s frustrating since I’ve always been a huge milk drinker and cheese eater.

      In reference to the lime and olive brine – I use lime like most people use lemon, although I love them both. Olive brine – oh how I love olive brine! I add it to soups, vinaigrettes, mayo, rice, vegetables, sauce of all types. And the list goes on and on and on. 🙂

  7. Raymund November 9, 2015 at 1:08 am #

    Looks like a perfect candidate to pair with some barbecued ribs, Mmmmm!

    • mj November 9, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      Mmmmm…this would be good pair with BBQ!

  8. November 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, this rice looks amazing and I am so ready to try this!

    • mj November 9, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks Kristy!

  9. Tamara November 8, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    I’m saving this to Evernote – where I put recipes I don’t want to lose! I love salads made with brown rice, and this has some favorite (and healthy) ingredients. We frequently ditch the “meat” in favor of a meatless dish, and I know this was spectacular!

    • mj November 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Tamara! Over the past few years I’ve been trying to substitute some of the meat with eat with high protein vegetable dishes. Brown rice is one of those ingredients that I’ve been using more and more.

  10. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen November 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    I’ve never tried making rice into a salad before. Rice here is always partnered with a viand of some sort.

    • mj November 7, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

      I know that you use rice in a totally different way, but I like playing around with different ways to use it. Since brown rice is my go-to nutritional grain, it gets used a lot. 🙂

  11. Carol at Wild Goose Mama November 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    What a Wild and Wonderful Salad. Something awesomely different.

    • mj November 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      Thanks Carol!

  12. Liz November 6, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    MJ, your rice salad looks divine. I’d love your meal—who needs chicken? I’d love to make this with all sorts of starches—from rice to Israeli couscous to farro! YUM!

    • mj November 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      You got that right. 🙂 I’ll eat fried green tomatoes over chicken any day. Oh yeh -this would be good with all sorts of grains. Thanks!

  13. Hotly Spiced November 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    I didn’t know there was a fast-forward way of cooking brown rice! What a lovely brown rice salad. Love the sound of the lime dressing xx

    • mj November 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      I didn’t know either until a few months ago and as a result, we’re eating a lot more brown rice. 🙂 Thanks Charlie!

  14. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz November 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh what a great tip on cooking rice faster, must work for other rices too? Great filling salad too. Good time to stock up on party recipes for pot-lucks

    • mj November 5, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! Well, I know it works for short grain brown rice and a wild rice blend, but I’m still experimenting on other rice. ATK says that it doesn’t work for white rice, so I won’t even try and there’s really no need since it cooks so fast anyway. This is a great dish for a pot luck!

  15. Shashi at RunninSrilankan November 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    Don’t think I’ve ever cooked brown rice by dropping it into boiling water – I so gotta try this method! And MJ, your salad is gorgeous! Love the mix of flavors and textures – the toasted almonds are a nice touch!

    • mj November 5, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      Thanks Shashi! The almonds do add a lot to this salad. Please do try this method of cooking brown rice. It really works!

  16. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 5, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    I think you’ve convinced me to give brown rice another try. The time is one thing but frankly it’s the density (heaviness) and gummy/pasty texture that really puts me off. I’ve gotten used to using millet and quinoa as my primary grains in dishes like this — lighter and not as adhesive ;-). But I’m willing to try again and looking forward to experimenting with your technique including the addition of bouillon which reminds me of my mom and appeals to me for a hit of flavor. Lovely little vinaigrette MJ – the olive brine combined with the lime juice sounds heavenly. What a great little dish. Thank you.

    • mj November 5, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

      Oh Kelly…you do need to give it another try. Cooking short grain brown rice like pasta yields a batch that is far from gummy and pasty. I haven’t tried this method with long grain, but I’ll be trying it soon just to see if the results are the same. I still haven’t tried millet, but I’ve made about 3 quinoa dishes and have to admit that neither of us are big fans. We still prefer rice. In reference to the use of bouillon in the water, you know I’m probably your mom’s age or older. 🙂 My mom always used the little cubes but I find them too salty. I love adding the base to rice water. It really adds a lot to the flavor of the rice. We’ve been known to cook rice in bouillon and then eat the rice right out of the pot. I use olive brine quite a bit in vinaigrette and to add a little acid to dishes. Better than tossing it down the drain. 🙂

      • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 15, 2015 at 9:37 am #

        thanks Mj! I took note of the brand of broth base you used in this recipe but you’re absolutely right, my Mom did use the bouillon cubes 😉

  17. Zsuzsa November 5, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    Peach Lady what a great idea! It’s the time that keeps me from cooking brown rice. It often goes rancid and I have throw it away. Plus my husband likes it a bit softer… ugh, so it is a tall order. Yes a glass lid, brilliant! Thank you for sharing.
    PS nice salad 🙂

    • mj November 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

      Thanks Zsuzsa! I think it’s common for people to not cook brown rice because of the time. Plus you do have to love the nutty texture of it. I have found that long grain brown rice is less so, so maybe the husband might like it.

  18. Ramona W November 4, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    What a great salad!! I love all the fresh flavors you have here that make the brown rice just pop! 🙂 I like to use brown rice basmati… it tends not to get too gummy like some other brown rices I have cooked, but I like your cooking tip. I will have to give it a try. 🙂

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

      Thanks so much Ramona! We’ve always preferred the short grain over the long grain because of that.

  19. Debra Eliotseats November 4, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    I am going to have a slew of green tomatoes soon too that will need to be pickled or fried. Would love to serve them with this salad.

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      It’s crazy how we all wait to the very end to pick those green tomatoes. One year I might grow a plant just for the green ones. 🙂

  20. Abbe @ This is How I Cook November 4, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    Anything with fried green tomatoes, please! Love this salad with all the herby, sweet goodness. And now you might have converted me to brown rice!

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

      Thanks Abbe! I know what you mean – anything or nothing with fried green tomatoes. 🙂

  21. Deb|EastofEdenCooking November 4, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    I am very fond of brown rice. I adore the texture, health benefits of the whole grain and it is filling! As a citrus fan, the lime dressing has my attention too! A wonderful salad MJ!

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

      Thanks Deb! I’m with you on the brown rice. So much better than White.

  22. Judy @Savoring Today November 4, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    Like you, I take what I learn from ATK and bend it to fit my needs. When we eat rice, it is whole grain which does take longer — until now. 🙂 Also, I’ve learned to make a double batch and freeze it, then it takes even less time when I need some. Your salad is a beautiful confetti of color and flavors!

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

      Thanks so much Judy! Like your idea of the double batch and freezing it. Have never though about freezing rice.

  23. Nads November 4, 2015 at 5:43 am #

    I love rice salads, especially brown rice salads. I have not used roasted peppers yet but will now. I also like the lime vinaigrette. I normally use lemon. Lime seems to give things an extra zing. Good idea on the rice cooking too! Pork loins are on sale so I see this in the future with a nice lean pork loin chop.

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Nads! I tend to use lime more than lemon because of that zing and it really works nice in this salad. Let me know how you like it. It’s going to go great with the pork chops!

  24. Bam's Kitchen November 4, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    I bet roasting your chilies first makes them taste really good. Love this quick and easy side dish and it is teenager friendly too!

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

      It definitely does! And yes, this is a teenager friendly salad – maybe a little too healthy, but definitely friendly. 🙂 Thanks Bobbi for sharing!

  25. Vick Bensinger November 4, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    I’ve never tried this method for cooking brown rice before. I make a rice salad as well using a blend of rice that I think I’ll try cooking this way. Great tip. I’ve read 2 rice tips in one week. The other was to cook in coconut oil and refrigerate overnight. Apparently it rids the rice of starch. Who knew!

    Nice recipe!

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

      Cook in coconut oil – interesting! I’ll have to look that one up and give it a try.

  26. Katerina November 4, 2015 at 1:27 am #

    I love lime even more than lemon! Its flavor is more discrete and this rice salad I bet it tasted deliciously!

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

      I’m with you Katerina – lime over lemon. 🙂 Thanks!

  27. Angie@Angie's Recipes November 3, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    I must try your method to cook brown rice next time. The salad looks super yum, MJ.

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

      Thanks Angie! Once you see how well this works, you’ll never hesitate to cook brown rice again. 🙂

  28. John/Kitchen Riffs November 3, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    What a great tip for cooking brown rice! I usually don’t use it because of the time factor, but this is a game changer. Lovely recipe — really loaded with flavor. Love the lime and almonds. Good stuff — thanks.

    • mj November 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

      Thanks John! Yes, I just had to share this method of cooking brown rice. I’m making brown rice more often now as a result of it.

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