This delicious brown rice and cashew salad is perfect for any season but is especially popular served at a summer picnic or barbecue. You can use the Instant Pot to make the brown rice, which is much quicker than the stovetop method, giving you more time to play and enjoy the sunshine. This brown rice salad is gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
This brown rice and cashew nut salad is full of crunchy vegetables and is dressed with a delicious concoction of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce with a touch of garlic and a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. It’s well-balanced in nutrients, plant-based protein and loads of fibre, which makes this salad satiating and healthful.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS RICE SALAD
For the cooking part, you will need brown rice, salt, water and a vegetable stock cube. You can also use vegetable stock instead of water and stock cube. Medium-grain or long-grain brown rice is best for this salad and the timings are for uncooked, raw brown rice (not par-boiled).
You can use any kind of crunchy vegetables in this salad but make sure everything is diced into similar sized cubes/shapes. We love lots of colors for both the look and the nutrients you would get. We’ve got carrots, celery, red bell peppers, cucumber and red onions. Herbs like cilantro, parsley or basil can also be added. For used roasted cashew nuts as they have more flavor but regular raw kind is also fine.
BROWN RICE SALAD DRESSING
A magic dressing is what makes this salad so delicious. It’s a balanced combination of Balsamic vinegar and soy sauce (acid + salt), plus honey or maple syrup (for sweetness) and a touch of garlic (a touch of sharpness) that bring all the ingredients together in this wonderful dish. Honestly, we will often make extra dressing to save in a jar in the fridge to use for lunch salads during the week.
USING THE INSTANT POT
Instant Pot is fantastic for cooking grains like brown rice because it’s super easy, quick and you can set it and forget it, so to speak. Plus, it’s handy in the summer when you don’t want to generate too much heat. Having said that, you can use the stovetop to make the rice in this recipe.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BROWN RICE SALAD
This rice salad can be served as a main meal – it’s a good source of protein, carbs and healthy fats in one dish. If you want extra protein, you can serve it with a side of grilled tofu, cheese such as halloumi, feta or bocconcini, or some grilled chicken or shrimp for those eating meat or seafood. It’s also great with a side of greens like a leafy salad or some steamed broccoli. We always make it for a picnic or as a barbecue side salad and it goes well with whatever is smoking on the grill.
It keeps well with the dressing on but to ensure extra freshness, store the salad and the dressing separately until serving.
You can find step-by-step photo instructions for this brown rice and cashew salad under the recipe card below. We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe.
More salads that use the Instant Pot:
- Instant Pot Potato Salad With Eggs & Creamy Dressing
- Creamy Macaroni Salad With Peas & Ham (Instant Pot, Stovetop)
- Quinoa Corn & Crispy Bacon Salad (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
- More Nutritious Salads With The Instant Pot
Learn how to make a delicious brown rice and cashew nut salad with crunchy vegetables and Balsamic vinegar soy dressing. This brown rice salad can be made with the Instant Pot (to cook the rice quickly and lock in all the nutrients) or with on a stovetop. It’s perfect for picnics, barbecues or as a main meal with a side of greens. This recipe is gluten-free friendly, vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Find step-by-step photo instructions below the recipe card.
2 cups uncooked brown rice (medium-grain, see notes)
1 cube of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 cups water
1 cup diced carrots (1 medium)
1 cup diced celery (1 large rib)
1 cup diced red bell pepper (1 medium)
1/2 cup diced cucumber (1/2 medium)
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 cup cashew nuts (roasted, ideally)
For the dressing
1/4 cup soy sauce or Tamari soy sauce for GF
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (for vegan version)
1 tsp grated or minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1/4 tsp black pepper
- Add brown rice, water, vegetable stock cube and salt to the Instant Pot and stir. Scrape down any rice kernels from the sides of the pot. Secure and lock the lid. Select Pressure Cook (Manual on older models) and set it to 25 minutes on HIGH pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, then the 25-minute timer will begin.
- Once the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally. You can also use the quick release after about 10 minutes of NPR. Open the lid and transfer the contents to a sieve. Strain and rinse under cold water and leave to drain.
- In a large pot, bring 8 -10 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 cups of brown rice, vegetable stock cube and salt and cook in boiling water for 30-35 minute. Drain the rice through a sieve, then return back to the empty pot and cover with a lid for 5 minutes (this is called steam/dry method); then fluff the rice with a fork allow to cool.
PREPARE THE SALAD
- While the rice is cooking, dice the vegetables for the salad. Chop 2/3 of the cashew nuts into smaller pieces and reserve the rest whole. Set aside.
- Whisk salad dressing ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Set aside.
- Combine the rice, chopped vegetables and chopped cashew nuts in a large bowl and add in the dressing. Stir through and serve in a large bowl with whole cashew nuts on top. You can also add chopped fresh herbs like mint, basil, cilantro or parsley.
- If making ahead of time, combine all salad ingredients in a bowl but don’t dress until just before serving. Both the salad and dressing will keep well for 1-2 days. Once dressed, the salad can also be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days after.
Pressurizing: 10 minutes | Cooking at HIGH pressure: 22-25 minutes | Release: 15 minutes natural release OR 10 minutes NPR + quick release the remaining pressure | Finish the salad: 5 minutes
Long-grain brown rice will require the same cooking time, while brown Jasmine or brown Basmati rice will 15 minutes instead of 25 minutes. We find that medium-grain or long-grain brown rice is best for this salad recipe.
- Serving Size: 1.5 cup
- Calories: 368
- Sugar: 7.3 g
- Sodium: 520.5 mg
- Fat: 15.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 50.5 g
- Fiber: 3.4 g
- Protein: 7.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: Brown Rice, Rice, Salad, Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Cashews, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Picnic
HOW TO MAKE BROWN RICE SALAD WITH THE INSTANT POT
Here are step-by-step instructions for making the orange chicken in the Instant Pot. We made it in the Instant Pot Duo Classic & Nova 6-quart pressure cooker.
COOKING BROWN RICE IN THE INSTANT POT
Step 1. Add brown rice, water, vegetable stock cube and salt to the Instant Pot and stir.
Step 2. Secure and lock the lid. Select Pressure Cook/Manual and set to 22-25 minutes on HIGH with natural pressure release. You can also release the pressure naturally for 5-10 minutes and then use the quick release.
Step 3. While the rice is cooking, dice the vegetables for the salad. Chop 2/3 of the cashew nuts into smaller pieces and reserve the rest whole. Set aside.
Step 4.Combine salad dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk well with a fork. Set aside.
Step 5. Once the rice is cooked, open the lid and transfer the contents to a sieve. Run it under cold water and strain any excess water. Leave in the sieve for a minute or two to make sure all water is drained.
Step 6. Combine the rice, chopped vegetables and cashew in a large bowl and add in the dressing. Stir through and serve in a large bowl with whole cashew nuts on top. You can also add chopped fresh herbs like mint, basil, cilantro or parsley.
If making ahead of time, combine all salad ingredients in a bowl but don’t dress until just before serving. Both the salad and dressing will keep well for 1-2 days. Once dressed, the salad can also be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days after.