This sweet and savory rice salad with cranberries and walnuts recipe is perfect as a side dish, snack, or healthy, filling meal. It’s full of protein, fiber, and nutrients.
The rice is hearty, the raisins and cranberries are tart and chewy, the walnuts are smoky and crunchy, and the green onions give it a mild oniony flavor along with a pop of freshness.
Your favorite bottled vinaigrette mixed with a touch of honey adds just the right amount of moisture and sweetness and brings the whole dish together. We use our favorite bottled, organic red wine vinaigrette, but you can also make your own. See our recipe for easy red wine vinaigrette below.
A basic red wine vinaigrette recipe is great to have around. You can use it in green salads, cold pasta salads, bean salads, or even drizzled over sub sandwiches. It’s also easily customizable. Try adding parmesan, honey, red pepper, or fresh herbs for a twist.
This salad comes together in less than 10 minutes thanks to using pre-cooked brown rice. Most grocery stores these days sell it pre-cooked, and it’s very convenient!
If your store doesn’t have pre-cooked rice, just cook up your favorite brand according to the directions on the package, and let it cool before making the salad. If you make the salad while the rice is still hot, it will soak up significantly more dressing.
If you don’t have walnuts, pecans, pepitas, or slivered almonds would all be great substitutes. Always be sure to toast your nuts first. It intensifies their flavor and adds a mellow smokiness.
Sweet and Savory Rice Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries & raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 1 green onion (sliced)
- 1/3 cup red wine vinaigrette
- 1 - 2 teaspoons honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 small garlic clove (minced)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Add the rice, green onions, raisins, cranberries, and walnuts to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Push the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, and pour the dressing and honey into the bottom.
- Use the same spoon to mix the two together, and then stir dressing into the salad.
- Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. You can also add more dressing, if desired.
- Serve at room temperature.
Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake vigorously until it's emulsified.
- Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
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