Brown Rice Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

Quinoa Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

Quinoa Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

No, I'm not confused…..we made this salad with quinoa in school but I've decided I like it better with brown rice. Quinoa is indeed the trendy grain these days and with good reason. It is a source of perfect protein, is a whole grain, cooks quickly, and with it's mild flavor, it is very versatile.  Even with all those good things, I am not a fan.  For some reason when I eat it, I am never satisfied and am hungry only a couple of hours later. I like brown rice better.   It is substantial and comforting, I like the nutty flavor and it is also a whole grain. So this salad can be made with whichever you chose.  Brown rice takes twice as long to cook so you'll have to plan ahead.  You could also make this with wheatberries or even orzo pasta. Orzo is not a whole grain so it would not be quite as nutritious.  I also think cubes of avocado would be an excellent addition. 


I think this would be perfect as a side dish at Thanksgiving. With dried cranberries and pecans it has a nice festive Fall flavor.  You can serve it chilled so you can make it ahead and it is one less thing to worry about on that busy Thursday morning.  It actually gets better as it sits.  I like it at room temperature so if you're not pressed for time, make it just an hour or two before you eat it.  Let me know if you put it on your menu!  

Sunshine dog with avocado at Good Dog Houston

Sunshine dog with avocado at Good Dog Houston

On another note, I have been thinking alot about making the most of each day, the Buddhist tenet of living in the present.  I had a great weekend but strayed a bit from my usual health routines.  I didn't have my morning lemon water, nor my green drink.  I ate two servings of cake from Three Brothers Bakery.  (Nancy Kline I thought of you with each bite!)  I think Beau (our dog) got more exercise than I did.   I ate a big tofu dog from Good Dog Houston. Now I know of course that moderation is key and  that life is no fun without indulgences.  So I loved it all and never thought twice about it.  And then it was Monday and I had the gift of starting again.  I love the quote below from Buddha.  Each day you get a fresh start and a chance to do your best….make wrongs right... make good choices… say what you should have said... do the right thing….do the thing that scares you….walk a dog….hug a friend….let someone in on the freeway….feel the sadness…learn the lesson….laugh out loud.  It's all there for the living each and every day.  Dragging along the past is just undue burden and serves no one. What we do today is really what matters. Yesterday is gone. Last week is gone.  Tomorrow is just a vision.  All we really have is today,  right now.  As I make my choices, and deal with stuggles I am going to try to remember this.  So today I had my lemon water. I got up early before school to practice yoga.   I had a meeting at school where I kept positive and constructive.  I ate greens twice, had only one square of chocolate, and one bite of the cupcakes our Chef demonstrated for us. I paid for the new battery my car needed and didn't worry that I was just out of the warranty coverage. I had a good day.  But if today isn't so great, just think, when you wake up tomorrow, you get another chance!

each day Buddha quote.jpg

So philosophy aside, here is your recipe!  Still no comments. I am wondering if I will ever have them.  I'll try to get the new options set up this week. In the meantime, talk to me on facebook! 

Brown Rice or Quinoa Salad with Pecans and Cranberries

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 50

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 cups water or stock
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • big handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper


Bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Stir in the brown rice. Cover and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes or until tender. (If using quinoa, cook about 20 minutes.)

While the rice is cooking, prep all the rest of your ingredients including toasting your nuts is they are raw. (350 degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until fragrant. Be careful, they burn quickly!)

In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together. Use a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature. (You can use leftover rice if you like to speed this up.) Mix in the green onions, pecans, parsley, celery, and cranberries. Pour dressing over top and mix well. Taste for seasoing and adjust as needed. Serve at room temperature or chilled. The longer it sits the better it tastes!

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