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Sicily-Inspired Brown Rice Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sicily-Inspired Brown Rice Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Chewy sun-dried tomatoes and briny olives, a hit of citrus from sweet oranges and a tangy lemon vinaigrette, make for a balanced salad with brown rice.


I love the yin and yan of this combination. Sweet, chewy sun-dried tomatoes, crisp-tender asparagus and briny kalamata olives — plus a double hit of citrus. First with sweet orange segments, and next with a tangy lemon vinaigrette.

There’s even brown rice for a hearty chew! This mix has staying power, too! It will last several days in the refrigerator without wilting or looking tired — which is a real boon if you’re responsible for packing lunches all week.

To change it up each day, you could add a little leftover chicken or pork from the previous nights dinner — or even a hard-boiled egg. Garbanzo beans would be good too! Just keep the arugula separate from the salad until you’re ready to dig in.


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Lisa Lotts
5 from 1 vote
Course Salad
Cuisine Sicilian-Inspired
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound asparagus spears cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil well drained
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives pitted, quartered
  • 2 oranges peeled and supremed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 6 ounces baby arugula

For lemon vinaigrette

  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water (4-5 cups) add salt and bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat to a vigorous simmer for 25-30 minutes, until rice is "al dente". Strain rice through a sieve and return it to the saucepan. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and let the rice cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, make an ice bath by adding ice and water to a medium bowl, set aside. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly tender and bright green. With a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to the ice bath to stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color. Drain the asparagus on paper towels.
  • In a large bowl combine the blanched asparagus, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and orange segments. Add cooled rice and toss to combine. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine the lemon zest and juice, garlic, dijon mustard, olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine. When emulsified add 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing to the rice salad and toss well. If it needs more dressing, add it 1 tablespoon at a time, so that it's lightly coated.
  • Just before serving, add the basil and toss to combine. Serve on a bed of arugula.


If you're packing this for lunch, keep the arugula separate from the salad until you're ready to eat, so it doesn't wilt.


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