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+ servings

Brown Rice Salad

photo by Lynne Calamia
With the right seasonings and a little bacon, brown rice transforms from a plain grain into a savory side dish that's perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Note: When you do break your salad out of the chill chest, you'll find it pleasantly chewy but not hard the way refrigerated long-grain (think Chinese takeout) rice would be. That's because as the starch in rice cools, amylose and water come together, creating a structure resembling a crystal, which is why it's hard as a rock. The process of starch retrogradation is reserved when the rice is reheated. When more amylopectin is around, its highly branched, tumbleweed character prevents the molecular alignment necessary for retrogradation to take place, which is why I turn to medium-grain rices for any and all rice applications that are served cold.
This recipe first appeared in Season 8 of Good Eats.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

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Baked Brown Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Brown Rice Salad

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Procedure

Baked Brown Rice

  • Heat oven to 375ºF.
  • Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
  • Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, remove the foil and fluff the rice with a fork. Set aside.

Brown Rice Salad

  • In a 10-inch saute pan set over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat out of the pan.
  • Add the red onion to the pan and cook until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the vinegar, chicken broth, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir to combine. Add the bacon back to the pan along with the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the dill. Allow to cool slightly before serving.