Vegan Fall Rice & Pear Salad

best vegan salad recipe, heart healthy fall salad recipe, easy vegan salad

As someone who lives the #forksoverknives life, I always get a little anxious when invited to a dinner party at someone’s home. I don’t mind not eating if there aren’t any vegetarian-friendly options (I’m more than happy to drink my calories), but I also don’t want to be awkwardly rude with an empty plate while everyone feasts. For this reason, I have always asked to bring a salad. And I always return home with an empty salad bowl and the highest of praises from herbivores and omnivores alike. Now, my vegan salads are requested as soon as I RSVP yes!

This salad is a great side dish, but also hearty enough to be a complete meal. It’s complex, robust and captures the essence of the fall harvest. I take extra precaution to get no sugar added products (like fresh cranberries instead of craisins!) so I can add organic sugar that I trust as I see fit. This is a relatively low sugar dish, but packs a kiss of sweetness. Because I make this recipe for parties, I use kale, as it withholds long car rides and sitting out on a dinner table better than it’s lettuce cousins. It is also the only salad base that can stand the test of time for leftovers (although there never is any). I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I have this season!

Autumn Harvest Rice + Pear Salad

vegan, gluten-free, heart-healthy

I N G R E D I E N T S >>>>

RICE:

  1. 2 1/4 Cups Brown Rice
  2. 1 container Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (I use Pacific)
  3. 1 Cup White Onion, Chopped
  4. 1/2 Cup Mushrooms, chopped (I use whatevers on sale, but crimini give a nice flavor)
  5. 1 Sweet Potato or Yam, Chopped
  6. 1/3 cup cranberries
  7. 1 tsp Cane Sugar (I use Florida Crystals – sugar helps to sweeten the cranberries)
  8. 2 Garlic Cloves
  9. 1/2 tsp Grated Ginger
  10. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  11. 1/2 tsp Pepper
  12. 2-3 Sage Leaves, Chopped

optional add-ins: chopped dates go great in this dish!

DRESSING:

  1. 2 tbsp Tahini
  2. 3 Oz No Sugar Added Black Cherry Juice (can sub for Pomegranate or Cranberry)
  3. 2 Pears, Cubed
  4. 1 tsp Cane Sugar (I use Florida Crystals)
  5. 1/2 Lime, Juiced
  6. 1/2 tsp Ginger
  7. 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  8. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  10. If needed, 1/2 tsp sesame oil

TOPPINGS & BASE:

  1. 2 Bushels of Kale (I use black kale + green kale), chopped
  2. 1/3 Cup Almonds, chopped (Walnuts or Pecans also work!)
  3. Balsamic Glaze

optional add-ins: for a vegetarian twist, add cubed sharp cheddar

D I R E C T I O N S >>>

  1. Combine all ingredients for “RICE” in a one pot rice cooker and press brown rice. (If you don’t have a rice cooker, everything can be cooked stovetop. Rice in a pot, everything else in skillet).
  2. When rice is done cooking transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  3. Mix all dressing ingredients, including cubed pears, in a mason jar and shake vigorously until mixed. If it isn’t mixing well, add 1/2 tsp of sesame oil (or olive oil).
  4. Place kale in large salad bowl, mix in rice and almonds, top with balsamic glaze and enjoy!

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