Picnic Recipe: Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries

updated Jan 29, 2020
Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Need a gluten–free, vegetarian recipe to bring to a picnic or bbq this summer? This brown rice salad is full of tasty bits of treasure. It’s also quick to assemble and you can riff off this recipe with items you happen to have in your pantry.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Now that the days are getting longer and practically begging us to get outside for extended periods of relaxation, I’m getting more and more familiar with my quick, healthy, substantial salad repertoire. I love having a fridge stocked with items that resemble the ‘grab and go’ section at Whole Foods. It really does make me feel like super woman when I have a couple of prepared salads on hand, at the ready for impromptu al fresco feasting. Which brings me back to this brown rice salad. It’s simple, delicious and gets better after sitting in the fridge overnight.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

I like my grains tempered with a lot of add–ins. What can I say I’m a maximalist in this area! This salad is rich with buttery walnut chunks, sweet with the fresh apple and dried cherries, then a touch edgy with the piquant chives. You could add cheese to this, but why bother altering the fresh, healthy feeling of this dish? It’s great for gluten free, vegan and vegetarian friends — it’s a grain salad everyone can love.

Brown Rice Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cherries

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    brown rice

  • 3/4 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1

    apple, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup

    dried cherries, roughly chopped

  • 1/3 cup

    walnuts, roughly chopped

  • 1 bunch

    chives, finely chopped

For the dressing:

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon

    agave syrup

  • 1 teaspoon

    yellow miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons

    canola oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    balsamic vinegar

  • 4 tablespoons

    toasted sesame seeds


  1. Cook the brown rice in about two cups of simmering water until tender (See: How to Cook Rice on the Stove Top), or according to package directions. Fluff and cool to room temperature.

  2. Microwave the frozen peas for 1 minute to thaw. Combine the peas, apple, cherries, walnuts, chives, and cooled rice in a large bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Stir the dressing into the rice mix until all the ingredients are coated. Garnish with extra chives and sesame seeds. If you have time, allow rice to rest for at least eight hours or overnight for flavors to come together.

It’s Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by KIMLANKI.

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)