Cook's Illustrated Southwestern Brown Rice Salad from Our Best Bites--super quick, easy, healthy, and delicious!I’ve decided that the way I survive summer in Louisiana is to disappear for a good chunk of July. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that we just got back from a vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii that was magical and adventurous and filled with delicious, delicious food. But this post isn’t about the food we ate there (trust me, there are plenty of those on the way). This was about coming home to the delightful slow suffocation of summer in the deep South after being awake for a good, solid day and a half. And being hot and hungry and tired and dying for something that didn’t come from a diner or an airport or a fast food restaurant along the road.

This salad did the trick. It’s served cold, it’s loaded with feel-good awesomeness like brown rice, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and creamy avocado. It’s flavorful but not overpowering, something that you could serve as a side dish or for a light lunch. I’ve talked SO many times about how lunch is the hardest meal for me. I hate it. If I were a Kardashian, I would totally have a lunch person whose sole job would be to take care of my lunch every day (and it wouldn’t be my kids’ uneaten food.)

To make the dressing, you’ll need extra-virgin olive oil, honey, the juice and zest of a lime, ground cumin, and some garlic.

ricesalad1Combine the ingredients in a small bowl…

America's Test Kitchen's Southwestern brown rice salad from Our Best Bites--healthy and Delicious!and whisk together until smooth and combined. Set aside (the dressing can be made and refrigerated up to 48 hours before serving).

In a large bowl, combine the rice from this recipe (the exact amount), a chopped jalapeno (seeded or partially seeded if you’re worried about heat; every time I’ve made this, I’ve completely seeded the jalapeno and the salad hasn’t been hot at all), a diced avocado, and 10 ounces of grape tomatoes, halved.

America's Test Kitchen's Southwestern brown rice salad from Our Best Bites--healthy and Delicious!Set aside.

Chop 5-6 green onions and a handful of cilantro…

America's Test Kitchen's Southwestern brown rice salad from Our Best Bites--healthy and Delicious!and toss to combine. Add to the rice mixture and toss (gently–you don’t want to mangle the avocados or de-juice all the tomatoes). Add the dressing and toss again. Season with salt to taste (or allow people to season their own salads). Refrigerate any leftovers immediately. Makes 6-8 servings.

America's Test Kitchen's Southwestern brown rice salad from Our Best Bites--healthy and Delicious!

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Southwestern Brown Rice Salad

  • Author: Cook's Illustrated
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6-8


A light salad, served cold, made with rice and traditional southwest flavors.


1 recipe of this brown rice, cooked and cooled to room temperature (about 3  3/4 cups cooked brown rice)
2  1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
zest of 1 lime
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
10 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (seeded if you want; I pretty much always want)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
57 green onions, chopped


In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, and cumin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the rice, tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeno. Add the cilantro and green onions and toss. Drizzle with the dressing, salt to taste, and serve immediately (or refrigerate…this will be good until the avocados start getting iffy, so about a day.)


  1. This salad recipe looks absolutely fabulous. Question: I am not a fan of avocado. What else would you recommend to put in place of avocados in this recipe?

  2. Well, that was yummy! Thanks for a very versatile and tasty recipe. I think the vinaigrette was what made it really shine. This is also a great meal for kids to make (I just cooked the rice and minced the garlic — my 8-year-old did the rest).

  3. Question: do you know how many cups of cooked rice the brown rice recipe makes? I love brown rice, but hate heating up my kitchen (I live in AZ) so I make brown rice in bulk and freeze it in 4-cup freezer bags. I’m just wondering how much prepared rice to use. Thanks.

  4. We just got back from a week long vacation too, and this was exactly what we needed. The flavors are so, so good. The brown rice took more like 30-35 minutes though, and is still slightly under cooked.

  5. I must have grown some really angry jalapenos this year because I only put one small completely-seeded jalapeno in the salad and it’s knockin’ my socks off! I just added some cucumber to see if that will cool it off a bit. At any rate, it’s delicioso!

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