Warm Autumnal Rice and Veg Salad

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Both my husband and I work at home, which means that most of the time I’m making breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Since going gluten free, my lunch choices are largely leftovers and salads, as sandwiches don’t taste quite like I remember (I’m still working on that bread recipe…). Because we are fortunate enough to belong to a CSA, and because we live in California where we can do these things year-round, I have a fridge that’s well stocked with all kinds of wonderful produce all throughout the year.

My box last week still had zucchinis and tomatoes, as well as apples, butternut squash, onions, garlic, arugula, yellow carrots, Swiss chard, red lettuce, persimmons, tangerines. It’s an amazing variety and lends us to make impromptu meals with what we have on hand. These are the best kinds of meals, because they are largly simple, always healthy and use the very best seasonal produce Southern California has to offer (like this salad).

I love warm salads. They are filling and hearty and make a complete meal in and of themselves. Here, I used yellow carrots and lipstick peppers (mild red bell peppers), but zucchini, eggplant or mushrooms would be equally delicious. The brown rice gives it a toothsome quality, and the arugula gives it some bite.

Warm Autumnal Rice and Veg Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This salad comes together quickly and can be on the table in about 10 minutes. As a time-saver, I often make use of frozen, cooked brown rice that can be found in boxes in the freezer section of many grocers.
Serves: serves 2-3
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 yellow (or orange) carrots, cut into 1-inch slices on the bias
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 bag of pre-cooked brown rice (usually sold in the freezer section in boxes that contain 3 bags)
  • 1 bunch of arugula
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 3 minutes or until beginning to color slightly. Add carrots and bell peppers and saute for about 5-8 minutes more or until crisp tender. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile heat rice in the microwave according to package directions. Make dressing--whisk honey, Dijon and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Slowly drizzle in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and whisk until completely incorporated. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Assemble the salad--Toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and spread on a medium platter. Toss rice with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and spoon on top of arugula. Toss vegetables with the remaining dressing and spoon over the rice and the arugula. Top with basil leaves and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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  1. Wow, I’ll be right over! Looks absolutely delish!! 🙂 Beautiful pictures 🙂

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