Retro Brown Rice Salad – vegan

Retro Brown Rice Salad

This is an approximate recreation of the ubiquitous brown rice salad that those of us who were around during the 1980’s may remember. I was a kid at the time and like many kids would occasionally go off for the weekend to stay over at friend’s house.ย My own mum wasn’t terribly adventurous in the kitchen and so with me being the kind of child who was used to a non-challenging ‘fish-fingers, boiled potatoes and peas’ kind of diet, it seemed the weirdest thing when my friend’s mum – who also wore embroidered cheesecloth blouses, woven leather sandals and smelled of patchouli oil – would put such alien foods as “vegetarian sausages” (made from a packet in those days) and “brown rice salad” on my dinner plate.

Of course these days I’d scarf the lot down in a heartbeat but back then such foods seemed thoroughly mysterious! Gladly today ‘Whole Plant Foods’ are no longer such a minority interest; in fact they’re all the rage and recipes for multitudes of different kinds of grain salads filled with of all kinds of super-foods, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables, now litter glossy recipe books and internet cookery sites.

Still, today I felt like I wanted to pay homage to one of my first exposures to a movement that is now happily thoroughly established and still growing strong, but that nevertheless has taken a good few years to attract such mass interest, and which has also endured much derision en route!

I may even dab on a little patchouli oil ๐Ÿ˜‰

Retro Brown Rice Salad

Retro Brown Rice Salad – vegan


  • 1 cup / 6 oz long grain brown rice (I used brown basmati)
  • 1 green or red pepper, medium diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • One stick of celery, finely sliced
  • 1 – 2 oz (a handful) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 – 2 oz (a handful) raisins
  • 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Four firm closed-cap mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 tbsp cider vinegar (or more if youย like it nice and tangy)
  • 4 tbsp sunflower or olive oilย 
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Plenty of salt and black pepper


  1. Cook rice according to packet instructions (mine took 20 mins).
  2. While rice is cooking, lightly toast the chopped hazelnuts in a dry frying pan for a few minutes.
  3. Then make up the dressing from the vinegar, oil, dried herbs, garlic, mustard and salt and pepper. Set to one side.
  4. Just prior to end of the rice’s cooking time, add the diced carrot and allow to cook for three to four minutes just to soften slightly. Then drain and rinse rice and carrot in cold water.ย 
  5. Once cooled, add remaining salad ingredients to rice. Then add the dressing and gently toss to coat everything.
  6. Allow the salad to sit for a short time before serving.

12 thoughts on “Retro Brown Rice Salad – vegan

  1. I prefer the “old style” veggie meals. This cheers me up immensely. My daughter (who is veggie) exists on pasta and quorn. She says (when I say Quorn tastes of nothing and is expensive) “Our generation don’t like taste..thats the whole point!” She will, I pray she will. Thank you for this. I will try it (I have the old brown rice languishing in the cupboard).

  2. I was going to make a rice salad this weekend so I might give this retro version a spin! Love the idea of hazelnuts, brown rice and raisins…

    • Yeah, the nuts and raisins are probably the only really ‘key’ ingredients – at least according to faded memory, and my stash of old veggie cookbooks – most everything else is optional.

  3. I wish my friend’s mum would have served me this dish. It looks amazing! I used to get veggie burger and mashed potato each week, followed my Butterscotch Angel Delight. I’m not complaining though… it must have been a nightmare for mums when their kid’s ‘vegetarian’ friend was coming to play ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Oh my goodness Buterscotch Angel Delight, haven’t had that in a loooooong time. I used to get the ‘purple’ (that’s what we called it, can’t remember what fruit it was supposed to be!) variety when I went to my Nans and instead of a pudding we made thick shakes ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved it at the time, wouldn’t touch the stuff with a bargepole now though ๐Ÿ˜€

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