Simple Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

This Simple Brown Rice Salad is an absolute standby for any August barbecue, picnic or informal gathering. It’s easy and lazy – are you noticing a theme with my recipes of late? I’m hoping that most of these ingredients are already in your fridge so that if you are suddenly called upon to bring something to a large gathering you can bust this out with nary a stressful thought.

bowl of rice salad ingredients with lemon squeezer, vinaigrette and tomatoes in background

This simple brown rice salad can be played around with to your heart’s content depending on what ingredients you have in your fridge and barely needs me to structure it with a recipe but sometimes when inspiration fails you a little nudge in the right direction is needed.

bowl of rice salad ingredients with lemon squeezer, vinaigrette and tomatoes in background

The ingredients are made up of basic salad drawer stuff like celery, bell pepper, red onion, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. I have included flaked almonds for crunch but any nuts or seeds will do and I have used parsley and dill but again, if you have basil and coriander then go for it. However, the dill does work especially well and I think is a completely under used herb.

close up of simple brown rice salad ingredients

You can afford to cheat a bit with the pesto vinaigrette. I usually have a jar of homemade pesto knocking around my fridge but if all you have is Tesco own brand then use that – no judgment, after all you are making a salad and that is what should be celebrated, not that you have been given a slight helping hand with the dressing. Any type of pesto will do – green or red or coriander, whatever you have to hand. However, if you are using shop-bought pesto then the flavour might not be as punchy so have a taste and add more into your vinaigrette if needed.

close up of simple brown rice salad with a fork

The great thing about this simple brown rice salad is that it will pretty much go with anything else that’s on the table and it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days so can be prepared ahead of time. I am really thankful to have this rice salad recipe in my back pocket this summer and hope you will be too.

close up of simple brown rice salad with a fork

Print Recipe
Simple Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
This Simple Brown Rice Salad with pesto vinaigrette is an easy recipe for any August barbecue, potluck, picnic or informal gathering.
bowl of rice salad ingredients with lemon squeezer, vinaigrette and tomatoes in background
Course salad
Cuisine British
Keyword rice salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
4 as a lunch or several people as part of a buffet table
Ingredients
  • 175 g brown rice
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 yellow pepper diced
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber de-seeded, diced
  • 150 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 40 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 large handfuls parsley finely chopped
  • 1 medium handful dill finely chopped
pesto vinaigrette:
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • juice of ½ small lemon
  • 4 tablespoons pesto (any kind, homemade or shop bought – whatever you have in your fridge)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Course salad
Cuisine British
Keyword rice salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
4 as a lunch or several people as part of a buffet table
Ingredients
  • 175 g brown rice
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 yellow pepper diced
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber de-seeded, diced
  • 150 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 40 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 large handfuls parsley finely chopped
  • 1 medium handful dill finely chopped
pesto vinaigrette:
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • juice of ½ small lemon
  • 4 tablespoons pesto (any kind, homemade or shop bought – whatever you have in your fridge)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
bowl of rice salad ingredients with lemon squeezer, vinaigrette and tomatoes in background
Instructions
  1. Cook the brown rice according to the packet instructions then leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl and add to the rice once cool.
  3. To make the vinaigrette, whisk the Dijon and lemon along with some salt and pepper in a small bowl until thickened.
  4. Whisk in the pesto then drizzle in the olive oil whisking all the time until the dressing has come together.
  5. Pour over the rice salad, mixing in well.
  6. Store the salad in the fridge until needed.

If you like this recipe you may like…

Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad

Coronation Chicken Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad

This Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad is one of the recipes I make the most often. It comes with me to every picnic or gathering where I am required to bring food. I never grow tired of it as it’s light, fresh and full of flavour thanks to the curried roasted chicken thighs which are simply out of this world. The wild and basmati rice make it a complete meal where little else is required.

Coronation Chicken Salad

This post is a week late which pretty much sums up the kind of life I’m living right now. If I appear to be on time for anything then it’s probably because my watch has stopped meaning something else for me to add to the never ending to do list.

curried chicken thighs in a roasting dish

a bowl of salad dressing with a spoon in iit

I can’t complain though because it’s been a fantastic week, full of cake, balloons, party hats and bubbles. Yes, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday at the weekend but in the Hartley household there was another more meaningful birthday this week as Cole turned a full 1 year old. With that I break down into floods of nostalgic tears for little newborn tootsies, tightly curled fingers, sleepy little yawns and without question the endless days where I held onto him contentedly on the sofa, surrounded by cushions, digestive biscuits and binge watching my Gilmore Girls DVDs.

Coronation Chicken Salad

So I haven’t watched a DVD since 2015 and these days Cole pretty much refuses to be held at all, shooting off my lap or out of the pram or out of the car seat as he practices using his wobbly little legs, inching closer and closer to walking. My life mostly involves careening about the house rescuing him from whatever danger he seems to be courting next. I also had to buy him his first pair of shoes as well this week to protect his feet which were getting filthy from London terrain. So it’s milestone after milestone and I’m struggling to keep up.

Coronation Chicken Salad

We celebrated his birthday by taking a hoard of North London mummies and babies to London Zoo along with a giant picnic and we had such an excellent day, even if he did nap through most of the animals. It was a truly British summer day and I made this Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad for us all to share. Actually it was a lazy choice of salad as it’s the one I bring to every large picnic gathering and I’ve been meaning to blog about for ages. It’s easy to make, so delicious and good with or without the rice to bulk it out. Even though it’s a mildly spiced coronation chicken, meaning that it’s suitable for adults and babies alike, it is certainly not lacking in flavour due to the freshly ground spices and tangy with lime and yoghurt to make up the dressing along with the usual mayo.

So happy birthday to Her Royal Highness but more importantly to My Royal Highness. It’s been an amazing, non-stop, emotional rollercoaster of a year but one I really don’t want to disembark from.

Print Recipe
Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad
This Coronation Chicken Wild Rice Salad is a light fresh and modern take on a classic recipe.
Coronation Chicken Salad
Course salad
Cuisine British
Keyword chicken, salad
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
Curry Paste:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Salad
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 300 ml natural yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 225 g wholegrain basmati and wild rice mix cooked according to packet instructions, then cooled
  • 8 dried apricots finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli seeds removed and finely sliced
  • two large handfuls of mixed baby leaves
  • large handful of coriander leaves
  • 50 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds black or white
Course salad
Cuisine British
Keyword chicken, salad
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
8-10 people
Ingredients
Curry Paste:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
Salad
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 300 ml natural yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 225 g wholegrain basmati and wild rice mix cooked according to packet instructions, then cooled
  • 8 dried apricots finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli seeds removed and finely sliced
  • two large handfuls of mixed baby leaves
  • large handful of coriander leaves
  • 50 g flaked almonds toasted
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds black or white
Coronation Chicken Salad
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
  2. First make the curry paste by grinding together the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom seeds until fine using a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Tip into a large bowl and add the turmeric, ginger, garlic powder, salt and mix well. Remove 1 tablespoon of the spices and set aside in a small bowl for later.
  3. Stir the coconut oil into the rest of the spice mix until a thick paste has been formed.
  4. Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs until they are evenly covered. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and scatter over the sesame seeds, place back into the oven, turn the heat up to 220°C and roast for a further 15 minutes. Remove and leave the chicken until cool enough to handle then shred the meat and crisp skin from the bones. Place in a bowl whilst you prepare the dressing.
  5. To make the dressing whisk together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lime juice and almond butter with the reserved tablespoon of the spice mix.
  6. Mix the chicken, the cooked rice, the chopped apricots, spring onions and chilli in with dressing until completely covered.
  7. Toss the baby leaves and coriander leaves together in a large bowl then add in the coronation chicken, mixing lightly so the leaves don’t get too heavy with the dressing.
  8. To serve, scatter over the flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

If you like this recipe you may like…

Simple Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette

bowl of rice salad ingredients with lemon squeezer, vinaigrette and tomatoes in background

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Turmeric Tahini Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing