Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is an old favorite, and even though I rarely eat rice, I’d make this for a special occasion.

PIN Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette!

Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette finished salad in bowl with serving plates

One summer recipe I’ve made over and over is Basil Vinaigrette, and there are endless ways to use this tasty dressing. While I was unpacking from the move I found this old favorite recipe for Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette in a set of binders with recipes I’d clipped from cooking magazines *many* years ago. 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’ve made this salad many, many times through the years and 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 this will be a hit any time you serve it for a side dish!

Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette process shots collage

How to Make Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. If you don’t have Basil Vinaigrette, make that first. 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.
  2. I chopped the basil in the bowl attachment of my immersion blender, but you can chop it with a knife if you prefer.
  3. Then I added the vinaigrette to the immersion blender bowl and processed a little more until the basil was finely chopped in the dressing.
  4. I cooked the brown rice in my much beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker (affiliate link) but if you don’t have a rice cooker just follow package directions to get 4 cups of cooked brown rice. I always use Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice (affiliate link).
  5. Take the frozen peas out out and let them thaw on the counter while you cook the rice.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. When green peas are thawed, let them drain well. Peas are high in carbs, so use less peas if you prefer.
  10. Combine the sliced olives, peas, and mini-pepper rings in a bowl and mix with enough dressing to coat all the veggies.
  11. 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. 

Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette thumbnail image of finished salad in bowl

More Ideas with Basil Vinaigrette:

Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks
Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese
Barely-Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette
Artichoke Antipasto Salad
Tomato, Hearts of Palm, Olive, and Feta Salad
Grilled Halibu with Basil Vinaigrette

Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette finished salad in bowl with serving plates
Yield: 8 servings

Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

This Brown Rice Salad with Basil Vinaigrette could be a tasty meatless salad.


Salad Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice (see notes)
  • one 6 oz. can black olives, drained and thickly sliced
  • 6 sweet mini-peppers, sliced (see notes)
  • 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 (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil


  1. Take the green peas out of the freezer and let them thaw on the counter.
  2. Cook the brown rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker.
  3. While rice cooks, make the dressing. If you’re using garden basil, give it a good wash and spin dry with a salad spinner.
  4. Chop the basil, either with a knife or using a food processor or the bowl attachment of an immersion blender.
  5. Add the vinaigrette dressing and process a little more so the basil is finely chopped and well-mixed into the dressing.
  6. 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.
  7. While rice cools, drain the black olives well and slice (or just drain the sliced olives if you’re using those.)
  8. Cut off ends of the sweet mini-peppers, pull out seeds, and slice into rings.
  9. Drain the peas well (blot dry with a paper towel if they still seem wet.)
  10.  In a bowl large enough to hold all the salad, combine the sliced olives, sweet mini-pepper rings, and drained peas.
  11. Mix in enough dressing so all the vegetables are coated with dressing.
  12.  Then gently mix in the brown rice and Parmesan, adding more dressing as needed.
  13.  Season salad with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste and serve.
  14.  The salad can also be chilled for a few hours before serving.


I used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice (affiliate link) for this salad. You need 4 cups cooked brown rice. If you don't have or use mini pepers use 1 red bell pepper, chopped. I used Le Parisien Vinaigrette, which might be hard to find if you’re not in Utah, but any creamy low-sugar vinaigrette will work.

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

Recipe adapted from “Roman Rice Salad” found years ago in a cooking magazine.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 609mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Since peas are relatively high in sugar (for a vegetable) and the salad also has brown rice, it wouldn’t be suitable for low-carb diets, and it’s probably be best for Phase 3 of the original South Beach Diet, or a once-in-a-while treat for Phase 2. If you want a lower-carb salad, use less peas and rice and more olives, peppers, and Parmesan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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