Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad – Eating Bird Food

A simple mediterranean brown rice salad loaded with cherry tomatoes, red onion, fresh parsley and feta cheese all tossed in a homemade red wine vinaigrette.

I first shared this mediterranean brown rice salad over on Instagram a few weeks ago and have been obsessed with it ever since, so I knew I needed to get the recipe up on the blog ASAP!

When it comes to grain salads, I usually stick to quinoa or farro, but after making this salad with brown rice it might just be my new favorite. It’s jam-packed with freshness and flavor thanks to the juicy cherry tomatoes, tangy feta cheese, fresh parsley and zesty red wine vinaigrette dressing that brings it all together. It’s seriously so good. I can’t wait for you to try it!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Nutritious and delicious: This salad is a powerhouse of whole grains, fresh veggies and protein-rich feta cheese, offering a nutritious meal without skimping on taste.
  • Versatile: It can be served as a standalone meal for lunch, a hearty side dish for dinner or a flavorful addition to a summer BBQ or potluck spread.
  • Easy to prepare: Once the rice is cooked, this salad comes together in no time. Even if you’re starting from scratch, it’s still a breeze to make.
  • Meal-prep friendly: This salad holds up well in the fridge, making it ideal for meal prepping for the week ahead.
Ingredients measured out to make Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad: parsley, cherry tomatoes, feta, red onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar, brown rice, maple syrup, lemon juice and dijon.

Ingredients Needed

  • brown rice – this whole grain is the base of our Mediterranean salad, turning it into a satisfying meal that will keep you full and energized. It brings a nutty flavor and is packed with fiber and essential nutrients. For a shortcut, you can buy frozen brown rice, which cooks up in less than 10 minutes!
  • cherry tomatoes – adds a fresh, juicy sweetness to the salad. Grape tomatoes will work as well.
  • feta cheese – adds a creamy, tangy element that perfectly complements the earthiness of the brown rice and the freshness of the tomatoes.
  • red onion – a little bit of finely diced red onion goes a long way in adding crunch and a punch of flavor that ties the salad together.
  • parsley – I loved adding fresh herbs to my salads! The fresh parsley provides a fresh, aromatic, note and a pop of green color.
  • dressing – we’re bringing everything together with a homemade red wine vinaigrette made by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, dijon mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Collage of four photos showing the steps to make Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad: whisking a red wine vinegar dressing and then tossing rice with parsley, feta and veggies.

How to Make

Whisk the dressing: Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, dijon mustard, sea salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until combined.

Combine ingredients: In a separate large bowl, mix together cooked brown rice, chopped cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, diced red onion and chopped parsley.

Serve: Pour the dressing over the salad and stir well to combine. Enjoy!

A small bowl of Mediterranean brown rice salad near a larger bowl with the same salad.

Customize Your Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad

One of the great things about this recipe is how customizable it is. Feel free to get creative and make it your own! Here are some suggestions:

  • Swap the grains: Quinoa, couscous, orzo or farro would all be great substitutes for the brown rice.
  • Use different veggies: Add more of Mediterranean flare with ingredients like diced cucumber, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives or marinated artichokes. Or just swap the veggies with whatever you have on hand. Bell peppers, broccoli, baby spinach, arugula or cucumbers would all be delicious in this salad.
  • Add protein: Want to add more protein? Try grilled chicken, salmon, chickpeas, or even some pan-seared tofu. You could try my apple cider vinegar chicken, grilled chicken, air fryer chickpeas or honey lemon garlic salmon for a delicious protein addition!
  • Swap the cheese: Not a fan of feta? Substitute it with goat cheese or even a dairy-free cheese option if you need this salad to be vegan.
  • Add nuts/seeds: For an extra crunch, consider adding some chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts or sunflower seeds.
  • Dressing: I love the simplicity of the red wine vinaigrette used for this recipe, but you can totally switch it up! This salad would also be delicious with my tahini saucegreek salad dressingitalian dressing, lemon vinaigrette or apple cider vinaigrette dressing.
Mediterranean brown rice salad in a large white mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

Mediterranean Diet Benefits

The Mediterranean diet, much like this brown rice salad, is known for being good for your heart. The use of olive oil and other plant-based foods helps reduce heart disease risk. This diet is also packed with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, making it high in fiber for better digestion and blood sugar control.

Plus, the fresh veggies and fruits used add antioxidants, which are great for combating harmful free radicals. This diet also favors lean proteins and whole grains over red meat, resulting in a lower intake of saturated fats.

So, this salad is more than just a tasty meal. It also offers the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean lifestyle!

Mediterranean brown rice salad in a bowl with a metal serving spoon.

How to Store Leftovers

This mediterranean brown rice salad stores well so is great for meal prep! Simply transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 4-5 days.

When you’re ready to enjoy, give the salad a good stir to redistribute the dressing, which may have settled (or store the dressing separately). If the salad has been in the fridge for a few days, you might want to brighten it up with an extra squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil.

This salad is meant to be served chilled, making it an ideal make-ahead option for quick, nutritious lunches or dinners.

Be sure to check out my full collection of salad recipes on EBF!

  • Add all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.

  • In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, pour dressing over and stir to combine.

  • Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Serving: 1/6 recipe | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Source link