Fluffy basmati rice tossed with crisp apples, fresh veggies, roasted peanuts and hulled pumpkin seeds – dressed in a simple, honey and apple cider vinegar vinaigrette. This fall rice salad uses simple ingredients to create big flavours in every crunchy bite! Serve up as a side salad or bulk out this recipe with extra protein like grilled chicken or tofu to make for a more filling main dish. | Gluten Free + Vegetarian
Taking advantage of apple season with this super crunchy, super colorful and super delicious fall rice salad today!
What’s to love about about it? Good question! This salad is:
- simple, yet filling
- crunchy and vibrant
- easy to make
- wholesome and nutritious
So with all that in mind, let’s get cooking!
How to Make this Fall Rice Salad
Altogether this salad is fairly easy to make. This recipe follows same rules and method used in my Mediterranean Bean and Rice Salad to make this autumn rice salad.
The veggies might take a bit of time to prepare depending on how fast you can chop and grate, but it’s generally not a difficult task.
Step One – Prep the Rice
The water to rice ratio is 1 cup dry long grain rice (white basmati) to 1 1/2 cups of water. This is sweet spot for cooking rice this is light and fluffy as opposed to soft and mushy. Throw it in a pot, add a pinch of rice then heat to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the temperature to maintain a gentle simmer, then cover with a fitted lid and set a timer for 12 minutes. After the timer goes off, remove the lid from the pan then set it aside to cool while you finish prepping the salad ingredients.
- Rinse your rice before cooking to remove excess starch (more starch = stickier rice).
- Don’t stir after you put the lid on to avoid it getting soft and mushy.
Salad Prep & Ingredients
While the rice is cooking, start working on the salad and vinaigrette. The salad preparation really just comes down to washing, chopping and grating whatever fruit and veggies you need. The vinaigrette comes together quickly and easily in a matter of minutes.
- Leafy greens – Grab a couple bags of mixed salad greens or use baby spinach.
- Apples – I recommend a sharp, crisp apple like granny smith, golden delicious, pink lady and/or fuji apples, but you’re free to use your favorite here instead.
- Carrot – Grate with a box grater by hand of food processor with a grating attachment to speed things up.
- Celery – One large stalk, diced into small pieces will add a lovely crunch in every bite.
- Parsley – Adds a little freshness which goes a long way here.
- Peanuts & Pepitas – Peanuts should ideally be roasted (they taste better and are easier to digest!), but the pepitas are totally fine raw. That being said, roasted pepitas would be great here!
Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette
The vinaigrette is made with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Ingredient-wise it’s pretty basic, but the overall flavor is punchy and bright.
Simple combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl or jar and whisk vigorously until combined. As always, taste and season as you see fit.
Bring it all together
Add the cooked rice to a large mixing bowl and add the apple, carrot, celery, parsley, peanuts and pepitas. Toss together, then mix in the greens.
Finally, pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss once more to fully coat the salad and that’s it!
Fall Rice Salad Substitutions and Additions
- Make this salad vegan by swapping out the honey for maple syrup.
- Instead of apple cider vinegar, feel free to use lemon juice, white whine vinegar, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar.
- Add a teaspoon of dijon mustard to make a honey mustard vinaigrette.
- Use brown rice or wild rice in place of the white rice. Just make sure to adjust to the cook time and water ration for whatever rice you want to use instead.
- Instead of peanuts/pepitas you can use other nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts and pecans.
One last note – with the except of the leafy greens, this salad keeps well for a few days. If you plan on making this as a meal prep recipe, I recommend you wait to mix the leafy greens in until just before serving.
And that’s it! A little bit of everything mixed together in one large salad bowl. Serve as a healthy side dish to a fuller meal or enjoy a large portion all on its own.
- 1 cup dry basmati white rice (200 g)
- 1 1/2 cup water (360 ml)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (45 ml)
- 2 tablespoons honey (40 g)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 6 cups salad greens (200 g)
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 apples, cored and diced (look for a sharp, crisp apple)
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (measure after chopping)
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- Add the rice, water and pinch of salt to a small pot over a high heat. Set the heat to high and bring the rice to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down medium or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Add a fitted lid and let cook about 10-12 minutes until the liquids have mostly evaporated.
- Keep the lid on, but remove the rice from the heat. Set aside for about 5 minutes then remove the lid and fluff up the rice.
- Make the Vinaigrette: Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small cup or jar and whisk until well combined. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed. Set aside.
- Prepare the remaining salad ingredients as needed: wash the salad greens, grate the carrots, dice the apple and celery, and chop the parsley.
- Combine: Once the rice has been cooked and slightly cooled, add it to a large salad bowl along with the salad greens, apple, carrot, celery, peanuts, pepitas and parsley. Toss to combine.
- Add dressing: Pour the vinaigrette over the the salad and toss again until everything is well coated in dressing. Taste the salad and season as you see fit and enjoy.
- Leftovers: Store leftovers covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Make it vegan: use maple syrup instead of honey in the vinaigrette.
- What type of apple to use? I recommend a sharp, crisp apple like granny smith, golden delicious, pink lady and/or fuji apples, but you're free to use your favorite here instead.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Substitute: Use lemon juice, white whine vinegar, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar instead.
- Peanuts/Pepitas Substitute: Feel free to swap out the nuts/seeds for other nuts/seeds like almonds, walnuts and/or pecans.
More Falls Salads You Might Enjoy
- Honey Mustard Quinoa Apple Salad With Crispy Shallots
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples & Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Roasted Broccoli Salad With Feta And Pine Nuts
- Kale Apple Salad With Maple Toasted Nut + Seed Clusters
- Autumn Cobb Salad
- Spicy Kale And Chipotle Chickpea And Roasted Butternut Squash Salad