This Harvest Brown Rice Salad, with Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries, has an earthy feel that’s reminiscent of the harvest. You might almost forget it’s winter!
Even though I test new recipes every week, it still hits me. I’m in a food rut. Again. Yes, I guess it happens to everyone.
This general uninspired feeling struck last weekend when a gluten-free friend was coming to dinner. Pull out the standard gluten free biscuits I thought. Yup, same-ol’, same-ol’.
But wait—how about a Harvest Brown Rice Salad? With Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries even! A couple experiments later, I had… the hit of the party!
Now, part of my reason for wanting to showcase the rice was that I was entertaining the actual rice grower, among a larger group of farmer friends. And he is, in fact, the first person to grow domestic rice in Wisconsin! Almost a local celebrity!
I did worry that a Harvest Brown Rice Salad might be a bit of a stretch. Rice salads aren’t a dish that’s super common—you’re more likely to see pasta as a salad starch. And when you do see rice salads, they often use wild rice. But brown rice has a beautiful nutty quality and is a lot more economical. And it’s absolutely delicious!
The add-ins of sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and hickory nuts (or pecans) are a sweet compliment to the nuttiness in this Harvest Brown Rice Salad. And the whole dish together has an earthy feel that reminds you of the goodness of the harvest. You might almost forget it’s winter.
I topped the salad with my own vinaigrette, but if you’re in a hurry, a good commercial dressing is totally fine. (Just make sure it is gluten free if that’s what you are going for.) And if you’re really in a hurry, you can even find pre-cooked rice. Just don’t tell anyone you heard that here 🙂
I served this salad cold, but my husband decided to heat it up the next day and liked it that way too. So… serve cold or warm.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or part balsamic vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 cooked, diced sweet potatoes
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 small bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pecans or hickory nuts
- Blend dressing ingredients in a blender or shaker, or whisk together.
- Combine salad ingredients except the nuts.
- Right before serving add nuts and dressing to the salad, then toss together until well combined. (see note)
- Even though I add the dressing and nuts at the end, to minimize absorption & stay crisp, the leftovers are still delicious!!
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