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Recipe for red rice salad with roasted beets, sun-dried tomatoes, cherries and nuts {vegan, gluten-free}


Professional caterers and food stylists tell us that every platter needs something green, leaves or herbs or green doilies, if such things exist, to "pop" the colors of the food. This red rice salad pops all by itself, and I'm not talking only about the dazzling colors of the beets, sun-dried tomatoes and cherries (red! red! red!). In a sea of heavy holiday dishes, this vegan salad with tangy dried cherries -- plus your own slow-roasted tomatoes in place of sun-dried ones, if you made them last summer -- pops with just enough tartness to balance a table of rich potatoes and puddings. Red rice is neither easy to come by, nor inexpensive; you can find it online if not in your local gourmet shop. It's well worth the hunt, as the nutty and decidedly un-mushy texture of the rice makes it great for salads. If you can't find it, substitute red quinoa. With the nuts, this dish satisfies as a hearty vegan main course.


Red rice salad with roasted beets, sun-dried tomatoes, cherries and nuts

From the pantry, you'll need: slow-roasted tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, pecans, onions, garlic, fresh herbs.

Adapted from an original recipe from The Gourmet Outlet in New Bedford, Massachusetts, this recipe serves 8-10, and can be doubled easily for a big party.


1/2 lb red rice
3 oz sun-dried (or slow-roasted) tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for cooking
1 oz pine nuts
1 oz pecans
1 oz unsalted cashews
2 oz dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
1-1/2 lbs beets, roasted and diced (or use pre-cooked beets from the produce section of your supermarket or Trader Joe's)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, pine nuts, pecans, cashews, dried cherries, and beets.

In a small frying pan, sauté the onion in a teaspoon of olive oil, until the onion is soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and rosemary, and cook for 20 seconds, until fragrant. Add this mixture to the beets and nuts, and stir in the red rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Wild rice salad
Tomato, beet and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Spinach salad with glazed beets and blue cheese
Honey-roasted beets with orange and thyme
Pasta with roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts and shrimp (or no shrimp)

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Red rice salad with boiled eggs and macadamias, from 101 Cookbooks
Red rice salad with mint and shallot vinaigrette, from White on Rice Couple
Red rice and paneer pilaf, from eCurry
Tuna and red rice salad, from Eat This
Red rice with almonds, herbs and braised leeks, from Stephencooks

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love the sweetness of this salad with beets and cherries.

Rupert, I love it, too, and it looks so pretty on the table.

I love all the red in this salad - haven't made red rice before but I think it's worth seeking out for this gorgeous festive looking salad. Lucky you to have some slow roasted tomatoes from the summer still.

Jeanette, red rice has a bit of heft to it, like brown rice does. It's what makes this salad great as a main dish for vegetarians or vegans, too.

I love beets and this is a great way of having it. I seldom serve it this way so nice to change things around. Have a fantastic Holiday Season! Shulie

Shulie, happy holidays to you, too. I hope you'll enjoy this rice and beet salad.

Just finished my red rice. After reading your recipe, I need to replenish. Must make slow roasted tomatoes next year when my garden is producing. Happy holidays.

Norma, every August I try to make a few batches of slow-roasted tomatoes. I pack them in small ziploc bags and freeze them to last the whole winter. Good-quality sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, will be fine in this recipe, but of course I always prefer my own!


great recipe. i could not find red rice, i'll have to order some. i used Trader Joes' wild rice. i did roast the beets though. such a delicious recipe. Loved by all at our dinner table.

thanks and happy new year


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