Brown Rice Salad with Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

Brown Rice Salad with Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

Summer lunch ideas are terrific to have on hand. This easy-to-make main course salad, brown rice salad with charred scallion vinaigrette, holds up well and can provide delicious lunches for the week when made in advance. The flavors of rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, and of course, charred scallions, come together quickly for a unique and delicious dressing.

Seasoned Rice Pilaf

One way to season rice pilaf is to add spices. For this recipe, I add cardamom pods and star anise to the pot while the rice is cooking. This adds a hint of aroma and extra flavor. Other spices that go well with rice are cumin, turmeric, and saffron.

How to Soak Rice

If you soak the brown rice overnight, it cooks in half the time. The hardest part about this step is remembering to put it in a bowl with some water! I like to cook brown rice for salads like I do pasta, by boiling a pot of water first, and adding the soaked and drained rice once the water is boiling.The method of adding rice to boiling water yields a rice that is less stuck together, which I prefer for salads. 

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Make a Double Batch of Rice

Make a double batch of the vinaigrette in your high-powered blender (this one’s my favorite) to have on hand to add some “oomph” to other items, such as roasted and steamed vegetables or other salads. This vinaigrette keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator, just be sure to label it so you remember what it is!

Summer Lunch Ideas

This brown rice salad recipe with charred scallion vinaigrette is perfect on its own as a main course salad, or pair it with green vegetable soup or this radish and white bean salad.

summer lunch ideas

Brown Rice Salad with Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

A simple main course salad.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salads
Cuisine: California
Keyword: easy brown rice recipe, main course salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 425kcal


Cook the Rice

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed*
  • 2 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 carrots
  • small handful cilantro leaves
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs, cut in half or quarters


  • Bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add cardamom, star anise, and salt. Boil rice, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until al dente. Drain and discard cardamom pod and star anise. Put rice in a large bowl.

Charred Scallion Vinaigrette

  • Smash and peel garlic. Peel and roughly chop ginger. 
  • Cut apart scallion tops (dark green) from scallion bottoms (white and light green). Put green scallion tops over a hot grill or gas flame on the stove top for 15-20 seconds. Watch them carefully, they will burn like paper! Remove from heat. Set aside white and light green part of scallion. 
  • Combine charred scallion tops, rice vinegar, oils, honey, salt, garlic, and ginger in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Assemble the Salad

  • Shred or cut carrots into julienne. Roughly chop cilantro. Slice white and light green part of scallions. 
  • Pour scallion vinaigrette over still warm cooked brown rice in bowl. Add carrot, cilantro,  and white part of scallions. Toss to combine. Adjust flavor for salt, vinegar, and honey, adding more if needed. Garnish with sesame seeds and eggs.


*The rice is soaked for shorter cooking time. If the rice isn’t soaked, cooking time will be 35-40 minutes.
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summer lunch ideas

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