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!

Two plates of vegan rice salad

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. 

Mixing vegan rice salad

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.
Bowl with brown rice
  • 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. 
Vegan rice salad on plate
  • 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. 

ingredients for vegan rice salad

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.

Vegan rice salad 2

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?

Vegan rice salad 2

Vegan Rice Salad with Pecans and Apple

Chloe from Forkful of Plants
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Servings 4
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, pecans and dill.
5 from 12 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

*600g cooked rice is approximately 3 cups cooked, or 1 cup/200g uncoooked

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24 thoughts on “Vegan Rice Salad with Pecans and Apple”

  • 5 stars
    I am taking this salad with me. It’s super healthy with ingredients that I love.

    • I’m so glad you like it!

  • 5 stars
    I love brown rice and this salad sounds amazing!

    • Thanks Sree, it really is delicious, I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  • 5 stars
    I love this vegan rice salad! Its full of all my favorite flavors!

    • I’m so glad you like it Sue!

  • 5 stars
    I love brown rice too and the avocado and apple in this salad sound amazing together!

    • They make a really good pair, super nutritious too 🙂

  • 5 stars
    This looks so delicious, can’t wait to try it over the weekend! I’ll try to figure out a keto version!

    • Thanks Lindsay, let me know how you get on!

  • Catherine says:

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness this looks so incredible! Can’t wait to try. 🙂

    • Thanks Cathering, I hope you enjoy it!

  • 5 stars
    Love rice used in salads, the citrus fruits and apple add great flavour to this dish.

    • Doesn’t it just make them all the more filling? Glad you liked the flavours 🙂

  • Sondra Barker says:

    5 stars
    Yum! This looks so good!

    • Thanks Sondra, it tastes as good as it looks!

  • Michele peterson says:

    5 stars
    The perfect crowd-pleasing side for the holidays

    • Thanks Michele, so pleased you liked it!

    • Thank you, I love the combination of citrus and dill too! 🙂

  • 5 stars
    This was delicious. Added to my favorite salad list!

    • I’m so glad you liked it!

    • Agreed, I find the combination of pecans and apples so festive!

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