Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fruity Grain Salad

This dish was inspired by a bulgur salad our friend Kristin brought to Alfred’s birthday brunch party last Sunday. Alfred loved this salad, so I wanted to recreate it for him. I also greatly enjoy grain based salads, but since I cannot eat wheat, bulgur is off my list of options. Part of my objective was to make a version of this salad that I could enjoy too. I often use quinoa or millet in place of glutinous grains, but for this salad I wanted to use up a large amount of leftover cooked brown rice I had sitting in the fridge.

A few buzzes in the food processor and my cooked brown rice looked an awful lot like bulgur! The brown basmati also imparted a lovely nuttiness to this salad. If you want to keep this salad gluten-free but do not have any leftover brown rice in your fridge (and do not want to go through the trouble of cooking some and then chopping it in the food processor), I think quinoa would be a great substitute as would rice-based couscous which some natural foods stores and gluten free grocers carry.

I also took a little creative liberty with the other ingredients in this recipe, mainly trying to use up items I had on hand rather than buying new ones. There are countless options for modifying this salad: use pear in place of apple, use dried apricots, cherries or currants in place of cranberries, use pecans or almonds in place of walnuts, etc. So, I strongly encourage you to alter this recipe to suit the supplies in your cupboard and your taste preferences.

Whatever the particular ingredients, this is another perfect picnic salad – a wonderful excuse to take your food outside and enjoy the lovely spring weather!

Fruity Grain Salad:

3 Cups Cooked Brown Rice or other grain (I used brown basmati)
1/2 Small Onion, Finely Diced
1 Large Stalk Celery, Finely Diced
1 Small Apple, diced (use a sweet variety, I used Fuji)
1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup dried cranberries
1/2 Cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (Kristin used pecans)

3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (a little more if your cooked grains are not salted)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1)If using cooked brown rice: place the rice in a food processor. Pulse until the rice is evenly chopped into small bits resembling bulgur.
2)Combine the chopped rice or your (cooked) grain of choice with the onion, celery, apple, parsley, dried cranberries, and walnuts.
3)In a separate bowl combine the OJ, olive oil, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
4)Drizzle the dressing over the fruit and grain mixture, stir to combine thoroughly.

This salad tastes great right away, but it also keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

By the way, I've included this recipe as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays and Tuesdays at the Table. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I've also included this as part of a monthly gluten free blog carnival - this month Amy of Simply Gluten and Sugar Free is hosting this event. Head over to her blog for lots of other recipes and tips on maintaining a gluten free lifestyle.


  1. Sounds delicious! Love the combination and the dressing sounds wonderful!

  2. I love salads like this with a hint of sweetness.

  3. That looks really good! Healthy, delicious, and pretty--yum. :-)