Vegan Rice Salad with Pecans and Apple
I love this autumnal vegan rice salad- it’s so simple to make and is great hot or cold. It’s filled with flavours of citrus, pecan nuts and dill!
Why I love this vegan rice salad
Meal prep becomes essential to me as darker and colder days begin to draw in. In search of comfort, I’m tempted towards not-so-healthy meals and snacks, especially when I’m busy, or honestly – just really can’t be bothered.
Whenever I have a bit of time on my hands or a burst of productive energy, getting in the kitchen is all the more important. I’ll be either cooking a batch of something to portion into the freezer, or prepping lunches for the week ahead.
This recipe is one of my favourites. It relies on very little cooking, so once the rice is done it’s mostly a case of throwing things together in a bowl!
Brown rice vs white rice
Brown rice is always my first choice when it comes to cold rice salad, for 3 reasons:
- Taste- I love the nutty, warm flavour that brown rice brings to so many dishes, which is why I’ll generally choose it over white rice. Whilst I find white rice is great if I just want a bit of carby satisfaction, brown rice really brings some flavour to the plate. If you’ve never tried it, I really encourage you to give it a go in this easy vegan salad.
- Texture- the second reason why I love brown rice is for its texture. There are certainly times when a starchy white rice is most appropriate. Dishes like sticky rice, sushi or risotto are really suited to white rice, especially those with shorter grains. But when it comes to vegan rice salads or side dishes, brown rice really holds its own with a firmer, chewier texture. Look for long grain varieties and be careful not to overcook for perfect, fluffy brown rice.
- Health- not to forget the health benefits of brown rice! White rice has been processed to remove the bran and the germ, whereas brown rice contains both, making it a whole grain.
The benefit of this? Brown rice is filled with vitamins and minerals, most notably magnesium and manganese, both important for skin, bone and teeth health. It is also much higher in protein and fibre, which will help to keep you fuller for longer and to stop excessive snacking between meals. This is why I like to choose a brown rice salad for lunch.
How to make this vegan rice salad
As I mentioned above, making this easy vegan salad really couldn’t be easier. Cook your rice according to the pack instructions, whether you choose to use white or brown rice. Once it’s cooled, add it to a large mixing bowl. Chop your pecans, avocado, apple and dill, and add them to the bowl.
Squeeze the juice from the orange and lemons. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, dill, mustard, and orange and lemon juice. Stir it well until it’s all combined, or if you’d rather, use an immersion or small blender.
Add the dressing to the rice mixture, give it a really good toss, and you’re done!
Can I substitute any of the ingredients?
I’m not going to lie, Remi and I are pretty obsessed with dill. It’s one of our favourite herbs, and we’re always looking for dishes to put it in. So on this occasion, I would say dill is kind of essential. It goes so well with citrus and mustard flavours, so if you aren’t normally a fan, I would urge you to give it a go just this one time.
If you aren’t a pecan fan, however, there’s nothing to say you can’t swap these out for another nut. Try toasted walnuts or a cashews, or even a mix of your favourite nuts.
If you don’t like strong fruity flavours in savoury food, pear has a slightly subtler flavour than apple. It also goes super well in this vegan rice salad, so you could definitely swap this out.
How to serve vegan rice salad
This easy vegan salad makes a good 4 portions for lunch-time meal prep. I like to spoon it on top of a good handful of spinach or crunchy leaves. If you decide you want it warm, spinach is a good option as it will wilt as you heat it through.
For a more filling dinner, try roasting some cubes of squash or tofu and popping them on top of the heated salad. It’s also a good side dish or buffet option that everyone can enjoy. I love the versatility of this easy salad!
Can I prepare vegan rice salad in advance?
Yes, of course! This is awesome for meal prep, as it’s easy to cook, tastes amazing, and keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge. As I said above, it’s great cold, but if you want to heat it up the microwave is the best option. Make sure it’s covered so it doesn’t dry out. The rice is safe to eat reheated, as long as it’s piping hot through.
Need some more ideas for meal-prep?
If you have some leftover apples, I love throwing together these easy apple parfaits for breakfast for before work. If you fancy something with Japanese flavours for lunch, this tofu katsu salad works a treat. Or for snacks, these miso roasted chickpeas are super crunchy and savoury, making them great for snacking throughout the day.
Vegan Rice Salad with Pecans and Apple
- 600 g cooked rice* brown or white
- pecans roughly chopped
- 1 avocado cubed
- 1 apple cubed
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh dill
For the dressing
- 1 orange juiced
- ½ lemon juiced
- 4 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- In a large bowl, mix together the rice, chopped pecans, avocado, apple, and dill.
- Squeeze the juice from the orange and lemons. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, dill, mustard, and orange and lemon juice. Stir it well until it’s all combined, or if you’d rather, use an immersion or small blender.
- Add the dressing to the large bowl with the rice mixture, and toss well to combine.
- Serve hot or cold, over a bed of spinach, or with roasted squash or tofu.
Made this recipe?
I’d love to know how you got on- let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
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