This bell pepper and brown rice salad is an easy side dish to serve alongside chicken, pork, lamb or fish, not to mention, it’s full of flavour! Brown rice and mixed bell peppers are combined with parsley, pumpkin seeds and creamy feta, as well as an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. Even better? It’s ready in less than half an hour! This cold rice salad recipe is perfect for Summer, serve it at your next BBQ!
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- Ingredients and Substitutions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to store rice salad
- Can you freeze rice salad?
- Is this rice salad vegan?
- Is cold rice salad safe to eat?
- Which bell peppers are sweet?
- Why You Should Make Bell Pepper and Brown Rice Salad with Feta
- You May Also Like…
- How to Make Bell Pepper and Brown Rice Salad with Feta
I think we can all probably agree that one of the greatest things about Summertime is being able to bring out the BBQ. There’s something special about cooking food outdoors, with friends and family gathered around and the sun shining. The food doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact often, the more simple the better. Instead, it is the love that goes into preparing and cooking BBQ food, as well as the atmosphere of everyone sitting around a table digging into different dishes, sharing jokes, pouring drinks and making memories, that makes a Summer BBQ a magical experience.
And BOOM, back to reality. It’s lockdown and I still have to keep 2 meters away from everyone I love. Making a quick brew at a friends house is a near impossibility, never mind a well-orchestrated BBQ garden party. Sigh 🥺
Thankfully during lockdown, I have spent most of my time daydreaming about food, crafting new recipes and cooking like there’s no tomorrow. I am poised and ready to re-enter the world and feed my friends and family like they have been starving since the beginning of March.
This is where this little recipe comes in! This bell pepper and brown rice salad with feta is the ideal BBQ side dish to pretty much anything you can throw on the grill. Think steak, spicy chicken, pork chops, fish (salmon in particular), cheese (you know I’m talking about halloumi) and veggies like sweetcorn and mushrooms.
To make this easy bell pepper rice salad recipe, we’re combining brown rice with a rainbow combination of bell peppers. Not only does more colour mean more nutrition but it also looks super pretty and that counts! Alongside that, we’ve got crunchy pumpkin seeds, a big handful of fresh parsley and everyone’s favourite, creamy feta cheese😋 Combine all that goodness with an olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano dressing and we’re onto a winner!
The real beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. Cook the rice. Chop the veggies. Make the dressing. Throw it all together. Job done. This brown rice salad is served cold and, on top of that, it stores really well. You can make it in advance, store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat, and in the meantime, you can focus on all the good stuff you are throwing on the BBQ. Or that ice-cold G&T that tastes particularly sweet as you sit in the sunshine with your feet up. I know where I’d be… 👀🍹
The feta in this rice salad recipe actually packs quite a nutritional punch. Not only is it a good source of protein, needed for muscle growth and tissue repair, it also provides us with riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12.
Riboflavin helps release energy from food and also keep the nervous system, skin and eyes healthy. We need vitamin B6 to help the body form haemoglobin and to use and store energy from food. Meanwhile, vitamin B12 helps form red blood cells and DNA as well as being important in the development and function of the brain and nerve cells.
Feta cheese can also contain probiotics – friendly bacteria that promote good gut health and immune health.
Feta can also be high in saturated fat and sodium. Consuming large amounts of saturated fat may increase the risk of developing heart disease while consuming sodium (which is needed in the body for many different functions) in large amounts can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Foods like feta are best consumed in moderation.
Vitamin C is the most abundant nutrient in this recipe thanks to the bell peppers. Bell peppers are one of the richest dietary sources of Vitamin C which we need for healing wounds and making collagen. It is also a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radicals.
Parsley also contains a small amount of vitamin C, but it is its vitamin K content that is most notable. Just two tablespoons of parsley delivers more vitamin K than you need in a day! Vitamin K is important for normal blood clotting and wound healing. It is also needed for healthy bones.
Rice is a good source of carbohydrates, which provides us with energy in the form of glucose. We’ve used brown rice in this recipe which provides us with more fibre and nutrients in comparison to white rice. Fibre is important for our digestive health and can help reduce the risk of constipation.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Brown Rice – I’ve opted for brown rice in this recipe for its nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture. Brown rice also ups the nutrient content a little in comparison to white rice, however, you could use white rice if you prefer. Basmati rice in particular has a nice flavour and retains its structure well once cooked.
Bell Peppers – The flavour you get from bell peppers varies depending on which colour you use. Red peppers are sweeter, green peppers are more bitter and yellow and orange fall somewhere in between. I like to use a mix of different colours for a balance of the different flavours, but use whichever colours you like best or have access to!
Shallots – Shallots are milder than other onions while still providing some sweetness and a little sharpness. Should you need to substitute, try spring onions, which work great in salads.
Feta – Feta is a delicious, brined sheep’s milk cheese that adds creaminess to dishes as well as a salty, tangy flavour. If you need a substitute for feta goats cheese has a similar tangy flavour, although try to find crumbly goat’s cheese to match its texture. Cottage cheese has a milder flavour but can match the texture when you drain off the excess liquid. Make sure to taste for seasoning as you may need some extra salt if you don’t use feta.
Parsley – Parsley has a fresh almost peppery taste that contrasts wonderfully with the richer elements of this dish like the feta. I’ve used flat-leaf parsley, but you could also use curly leaf parsley if that’s what you have. Chervil also works well if you need a substitute or you can omit it.
Pumpkin Seeds – Pumpkin seeds provide a delicate nutty flavour while also adding a nice crunch to this brown rice salad. You could substitute pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds or pine nuts should you need to.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil adds a rich flavour to this dressing although you could use regular olive oil if you want a milder flavour. Avocado oil and walnut oil are good substitutes for olive oil in salad dressings if you need to swap.
Red Wine Vinegar – Red wine vinegar is both sweet and tart add combines well with the other ingredients in this rice salad recipe. Substitute red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar or (my personal fave) sherry vinegar.
Dried Oregano – Dried oregano adds a wonderful floral note to this dish and uplifts the whole thing. You could substitute dry oregano for fresh (1 teaspoon of dried = 1 tablespoon fresh) or use dried basil for similar floral notes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to store rice salad
Transfer the prepared rice salad to a Tupperware container within one hour of making it. Store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Can you freeze rice salad?
Not really. Because the rice salad contains lots of fresh ingredients freezing those fresh ingredients will make them soft and mushy when they thaw.
Is this rice salad vegan?
As this rice salad is made with feta it is not vegan. However, you can omit the feta cheese or replace it with a vegan substitute.
Is cold rice salad safe to eat?
It is safe to eat cold rice, but it is important to store it correctly to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. These spores can survive even after being cooked at high temperatures and can multiply if left at room temperature for long periods of time.
Therefore, it’s important to put any leftovers into air-tight containers and refrigerate them within one hour of cooking the rice. If you have left the rice at room temperature for more than two hours it is probably safer to throw it away.
Which bell peppers are sweet?
Red peppers are the sweetest type of bell pepper, with orange and yellow following afterwards. Green peppers tend to be more bitter.
Why You Should Make Bell Pepper and Brown Rice Salad with Feta
- This cold rice salad can be on the table in less than half an hour! Even quicker if you swap brown rice for white rice, as brown rice takes longer to cook.
- Ingredients like rice, olive oil, vinegar, pumpkin seeds and seasonings are things you likely already have in your cupboard. All you need to do is grab a few fresh bits and you are good to go.
- This brown rice salad goes with all sorts of dishes! Think chicken, pork, lamb and beef as well as oily fish like salmon and mackerel. It’s a great side dish for a BBQ!
- Because the veggies we’ve used are pretty hardy, leftovers will last for a few days and still taste super good! Plus it gives those flavours a little longer to develop, so if anything, it tastes better the next day 😏
- This rice salad is easy to make! While the rice cooks all you need to do is chop your ingredients and mix the dressing. Mix it all together and it’s ready!
You May Also Like…
- Lentil and Courgette Salad with Chimichurri Dressing
- Roasted Pepper & Aubergine Bake with Feta & Harissa
- One-Pot Chicken and Rice
- Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables with Mixed Grains and Feta
- Cowboy Rice Salad from Recipe Tin Eats
How to Make Bell Pepper and Brown Rice Salad with Feta
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This bell pepper and brown rice salad recipe is the perfect Summer side dish! Ideal for BBQ’s and cookouts, it goes well with meat, fish and grilled veggies.
- 250 grams wholegrain rice
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 shallots, diced
- 20 grams parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 150 grams feta
For the dressing
- Chop your peppers, shallots and parsley. Crumble the feta.
- Cook your rice as per packet instructions. Drain and leave to cool slightly.
- Prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Combine the rice, vegetables, parsley, feta and pumpkin seeds in the bowl with the dressing. Toss everything together until it is coated with dressing. Serve and enjoy!
Keywords: rice salad, rice salad recipe, easy rice salad, pepper rice salad, healthy rice salad, cold rice salad, brown rice salad, bell pepper rice salad