Monday, July 15, 2013

Brown Rice Salad Recipe with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette

Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette
This Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette is an old favorite recipe!

Re-discovering a recipe is always fun, and while I was unpacking from the move I found this old favorite rice salad recipe in a set of binders with recipes I clipped from cooking magazines back in the days before the internet.  The salad was called Roman Rice Salad, but unfortunately I didn't write down where I found it, and I couldn't find anything with that name online.  I made this salad many, many times through the years with white rice, dried basil, and chopped bell pepper, but I loved this updated version with brown rice, fresh chopped basil, and rings of pepper from sweet mini-peppers.   

I took the salad to a party at my friend Mary's house, where it was a side dish to a lovely meal of Greek food, but I'd enjoy this in the summer as a meatless lunch or dinner, so I decided to share it as my Meatless Monday post for this week.  (To see more meatless recipes, use the label Meatless Monday or check Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index. You can also find meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)

I cooked the brown rice in my much beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker, but if you don't have a rice cooker just follow package directions to get 4 cups of cooked brown rice.  (Take the frozen peas out out and let them thaw on the counter while you cook the rice.)

VERY important, as soon as the rice is cooked fluff it in a bowl so it will cool down while you prep the other ingredients.

If I'd been smart I would have bought some pre-sliced olives, but I just drained a can of regular black olives and sliced them in thickish slices.

If you don't have these sweet mini-peppers, just use a red bell pepper, finely chopped, but I did think the pepper slices looked nice in the salad.

Cut off the stem end, pull out the seeds, and then slice the mini-peppers into rings.

Thaw the green peas and let them drain well.

I loved being able to pick the basil from my window-sill herb garden!  If you're using garden basil, give it a good wash in the salad spinner.

I chopped the basil in the bowl attachment of my immersion blender, but you can chop it with a knife if you prefer.

Then I added the vinaigrette to the immersion blender bowl and processed a little more until the basil was finely chopped in the dressing.

Combine the sliced olives, peas, and mini-pepper rings in a bowl and mix with enough dressing to coat all the veggies.

Then gently mix in the rice and grated Parmesan cheese, season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve.  (The salad can also be chilled for a few hours before serving.)  Enjoy!

Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Bell Peppers, Peas, and Basil Vinaigrette
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe adapted from "Roman Rice Salad" found years ago in a cooking magazine, but I couldn't find anything like that online to give proper credit.)

1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice (4 cups cooked brown rice; I used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
1 can (6 oz. drained weight) black olives, thickly sliced (or use pre-sliced olives if you prefer)
6 sweet mini-peppers, sliced (or use 1 red bell pepper, chopped)
12 oz. frozen peas, thawed and drained well
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
2/3 cup purchased or homemade vinaigrette dressing (I used Le Parisien Vinaigrette, which might be hard to find if you're not in Utah.)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Take the green peas out of the freezer and let them thaw on the counter while you cook the brown rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker.  As soon as the rice is done, put it in a large bowl and fluff well with a fork so the rice will cool while you prep other ingredients.

While rice cools, drain the black olives well and slice (or just drain the sliced olives if you're using those.)   Cut off ends of the sweet mini-peppers, pull out seeds, and slice into rings.  Drain the peas well (blot dry with a paper towel if they still seem wet.)

If you're using garden basil, give it a good wash and spin dry with a salad spinner.  Chop the basil, either with a knife or using a food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender.  Add the vinaigrette dressing and process a little more so the basil is finely chopped and well-mixed into the dressing.

In a bowl large enough to hold all the salad, combine the sliced olives, sweet mini-pepper rings, and drained peas.  Mix in enough dressing so all the vegetables are coated with dressing, then gently mix in the brown rice and Parmesan, adding more dressing as needed.  Season salad with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste and serve.  The salad can also be chilled for a few hours before serving.

This is not bad when it sits overnight in the fridge, but it's best freshly made.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Since peas are relatively high in sugar (for a vegetable) and this salad has brown rice, it would probably be best for Phase 3 of the South Beach Diet, or possibly a once-in-a-while treat for Phase 2.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Salad Ideas with Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Rice and Bean Salad ~ Chocolate and Zucchini
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Tahini Dressing ~ David Lebovitz
Brown and Wild Rice Salad with Snow Peas and Peppers ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Wild Rice Salad ~ Simply Recipes  
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
counter customizable free hit


  1. Greek flavors are always welcome in this house! And I love that you used those mini peppers...the rings are so cute!

  2. This would be wonderful to take for a school lunch (which starts back in two and half weeks!)

  3. I love my little Zo rice cooker, and whenever I make brown rice for a recipe, I make the maximum amount my rice cooker can do, because it takes a long time to cook brown rice and it's easy to store leftover rice in the refrigerator or freezer.

  4. Thanks Joanne. I was glad I had the mini-peppers, love them!

    Pam, my condolences, but this would make a great lunch for school.

    Lydia, I do that too, love that rice cooker!

  5. Love how pretty those little peppers look on top Kalyn - I'm always tempted to buy a bag of them when I shop at Costco's.

  6. Jeanette, I love those peppers, and I can usually find some interesting things to do with them. They're also great just plain, as a snack! I bet the kids would like them.

  7. Totally smitten with this recipe!! Never thought of adding brown rice as a base in a salad :)

  8. Thanks Kiran, I am a fan of rice salads but this is my favorite.

  9. You always have such bright and vibrant colors and flavors. I just LOVE rice in salads. Thanks for another KK Must Try.

  10. Thanks Donna. I love rice in salads too.


Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

Comments don't appear on the blog until they're approved by me, so no need to try again if you don't see it! Feel free make your signature a link to your site if you're a blogger, but links posted within the body of the comment will never be published.

Blogging tips