Brown Rice Waldorf Salad

May 6th, 2011 at 11:11 am

Meet my new favorite salad.

I had one of those days a few weeks ago where my kitchen was stocked with little more than a bit of cooked brown rice, an apple, a handful of walnuts hiding in the bottom of a jar in the freezer with some peas, and some limp vegetables in the crisper. I didn’t intend on making a waldorf salad, but that’s what evolved. It’s a new staple in my recipe repitoire.

You’ll typically find walnuts, apples, and celery in waldorf salads, but those are about the only common denominators. Over the years, chefs across the country have strayed from tradition and taken liberties with the dish to include grilled chicken, fish, peas, shallots, and various fresh herbs. With the addition of brown rice and the omition of mayo in the dressing, my version is very loosely based on the original waldorf concept.

Food history buffs, you might find Wikipedia’s waldorf salad overview interesting. I enjoy reading up on the origination of popular dishes. The waldorf salad has many fun historical nuggets in it’s lineage.

With May in full swing, seasonal recipes have been speckling my favorite blogs like spring raindrops. Here are a few that have my mouth watering:


Brown Rice Waldorf Salad

Serves 4

2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice

1 medium sweet apple, such as a Gala or Fuji, peeled and chopped small

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 stalk celery, peeled and finely chopped

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


Combine rice through celery in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Toss with the salad to coat, then taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve.

To make ahead: refrigerate the salad, covered, for up to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.


  1. Hallie, I love this salad. This is the type of rice that my kids would totally gobble up! I love your dressing for it too!! I am so glad to have finally met you last weekend! I just wish it had not gone by so fast so we could have had more time together! By the way, every time I come by your blog, I feel happy. The colors and the freshness of it are just perfect!
    Thanks for the link love for my potatoes, too!

  2. Mmmm. I’m making this without the peas. (Peas and I just don’t get along. Too many “you can’t leave the table til…” memories.) Beautiful picture!

  3. Yum, looks like a great salad Hallie. We always have leftover basmati and too often I have to throw it out. Now I have another simple recipe to try! Thanks. One can never have enough salad dressing recipes and I bet it would taste delish on a green salad too! Hope you’re having great weekend!

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I'm Hallie Klecker, a professional recipe developer, author, and passionate gluten-free foodie. As a certified holistic nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire others to live a balanced, nourished life through eating well and living pure—one bite at a time. Learn more.