Cranberry & Edamame Brown Rice Salad: a one-bowl versatile side dish recipe and delicious holiday dish.
In this blog post we will be making Cranberry & Edamame Brown Rice Salad. This nutritious and hearty rice salad is easy to make, suitable for any time of year, and full of flavor. Read on to learn how to make this recipe, recipe FAQs, serving suggestions, and more.
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There's something about this brown rice salad that makes me think of my mom.
Studded with plenty of "goodies" -- I'm looking at you, edamame, dried cranberries, green onions, and celery -- and rich in flavor while still being nutritious, it's the type of recipe that mom and I used to make while in college.
Though we used fava beans in place of the edamame and wheat berries in place of the brown rice, the experience was much the same. Bright, tangy, nutty, filling, and comforting.
We'd make up a double batch and enjoy it for snacks, light lunches, dinner side dishes, and whenever we were hungry and needing some good energy.
This salad also made its way to the beach a few times those summers. Packed up in the cooler, it was a refreshing and filling, but not heavy snack to enjoy during those warm afternoons on the Long Island south shore.
Since then, I've whipped up interpretations of this salad and served them warm for the holidays, too. The cranberries, nutty beans, and bright dressing complement roasted pork or ham, carrot soufflé, mashed potatoes, and other classic sides like a dream.
It's a recipe you can enjoy throughout the years in all the situations you and your loved ones find yourselves in. I hope you like it as much as we do!
This rice salad recipe is...
It's a one-bowl recipe that's low on fuss, big on flavor, and ready in less than 45 minutes!
- Brown rice - or a brown rice medley, like the one I used from Trader Joe's (photo below)
- Dried cranberries
- Shelled edamame beans
- Feta cheese
- Green onions
- Olive oil - extra virgin olive oil is best
- Red wine vinegar
- Smooth Dijon mustard
- Rice - cooked long grain white rice or a cooked wild rice blend can substitute for the brown rice or brown rice blend. Steamed wheatberries can also work in place of the brown rice.
- Vinegar - red wine vinegar is best for this recipe, but white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar can work as a substitute in a pinch
- Dried fruit - golden raisins can replace the dried cranberries in this recipe
- Edamame beans - fava beans or thawed lima beans can replace the edamame beans, though will provide a slightly different texture to the recipe
- Feta cheese - crumbled goat cheese can work in place of the feta cheese
How to make brown rice salad...
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and shallot until combined.
- Add the brown rice, onions, cranberries, edamame, feta, and celery to the bowl with the vinegar and oil mixture. Gently fold in the rice and vegetables until combined.
- Serve the salad warm or cool covered in the refrigerator until serving.
- Use decent quality olive oil, as the flavor of the oil will come through in the recipe. For a great flavored olive oil with a reasonable price, I recommend Costco's Kirkland brand olive oil. For other options, I recommend checking with small olive oil producers that use only olive oil (no other oil fillers).
- To save on time, use defrosted frozen rice. Let it defrost to room temperature on the counter for 1-2 hours before using, or defrost in the refrigerator until no longer solid but still cool.
- Mince the shallots finely so they can incorporate into the salad dressing the best.
- If serving the recipe cold or working with room temperature or cool rice, let the salad marinate or sit for at least 30 minutes - 1 hour before serving. This will let the flavors develop the best.
To pressure cook brown rice, add 2 cups brown rice and 2 cups water to the pressure cooker. Close the lid and seal the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Natural-release the pressure completely and use the rice as directed. Note: if using parboiled brown rice, like in the Trader Joe's brown rice blend, only pressure cook the rice for 6 minutes.
To cook brown rice on the stovetop, fill a large sauce pan ¾ of the way with warm water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the rice for the time directed on the rice package, stirring periodically, or until the rice is cooked through and tender. Drain the rice through a fine mesh sieve and use as directed.
This rice salad can be served warm or cold. To serve it warm, make the recipe with hot or warm rice. The warm rice will absorb the flavors of the dressing quickly and it's a comforting dish. To make a cold rice salad (so satisfying and refreshing!), just make the recipe with room temperature or cool rice.
Yes, you can certainly make this recipe ahead of time. Just make the salad according to the recipe directions, cover, and refrigerate up to 12 hours before serving.
- Gluten-free - this recipe is naturally gluten-free
- Processed sugar-free - make this recipe processed sugar-free by using dried cranberries made with apple juice, or another fruit sweetener
- Vegan/dairy-free - you can easily make this recipe vegan or dairy-free by using a vegan feta cheese or omitting it entirely
Leftover rice salad keeps covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It does not freeze well.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Silicone spatula
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Saucepan or pressure cooker
Other side dish & salad recipes:
- Brussels Sprouts Slaw
- Braised Cabbage and Bacon
- Broccoli Slaw Recipe
- Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad
- Mashed Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad Recipe
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes
- Mushroom Farro Risotto
- Instant Pot Risotto
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!