This Broccoli Rice Summer Salad is inspired by tabbouleh, a traditional Mediterranean grain and vegetable salad. Featuring a combination of fiber-rich broccoli rice, roasted sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, creamy goat cheese and fresh herbs tossed with a slightly spicy jalapeno hummus dressing, this low-carb rice salad is exceptionally delicious, nutritious, and seriously satisfying!
Featured comment: The flavors are all summer! I made it with a mix of broccoli and cauliflower rice and it was a hit! Cannot wait to make this again!” – Kevin
Update: This recipe was originally published in August 2018. I’ve updated the article below to include more information about this summer rice salad recipe. Plus, there’s now a recipe video showing you just how easy this healthy summer broccoli recipe is to make!
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About this summer rice salad
Summer is the best time to pull out those fresh salad recipes to be enjoyed with friends and family around a barbecue, on picnics, or whenever you need a light and refreshing side dish to your main course. This broccoli rice summer salad lives up to all your expectations for a healthy and mouth-watering summer salad that even the pickiest of eaters will love!
This vibrant summer salad with broccoli ditches the traditional grain and opts for low-carb, gluten-free ingredients such as roasted broccoli rice and corn, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, pepitas, fresh parsley and mint, and jalapeno hummus dressing!
Enjoy this stunning broccoli rice salad as a side dish, main meal with added protein, or filling for sandwiches and wraps! It’s easily customizable to suit all tastes and preferences.
If you’re looking for the autumn counterpart to this summer salad, try this fall wild rice salad next!
Why this broccoli rice salad works
This broccoli rice salad has to be one of my favorite summer rice salads. Here’s why:
- Nutritious! Summer salad with rice combines healthy raw produce, offering a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!
- Versatile! Enjoy your summer salad with broccoli as a side dish or main meal with protein for picnics, potlucks, easy lunches, or weeknight dinners.
- A total of 11 ingredients. This cold broccoli recipe is made with 11 simple ingredients and optional toppings. You probably already have at least half of these ingredients!
- Quick and easy. Make this delicious rice summer salad in just 30 minutes, which can be further reduced if you prepare ahead!
- Stunning to look at! If you need an eye-catching broccoli side dish to jazz up the table, this simple yet elegant corn and broccoli salad is a winner! It has vibrant, fresh ingredients that will brighten up any meal!
Ingredients for rice summer salad
As mentioned, you only need 10 main ingredients to make this beautiful and delicious rice broccoli salad. I’ve listed everything you’ll need to get started:
Broccoli rice salad
- Head of Broccoli – Roughly chopped into rice so that you still get a lovely crunchy texture.
- Substitution: The best substitute for broccoli florets is cauliflower florets. Shaved Brussels sprouts are also a great option.
- Ears of corn – Remove the husks and kernels.
- Substitution: Canned sweet corn kernels (rinsed and drained) or chickpeas.
- Olive oil – Use high-quality olive oil for the best flavor.
- Substitution: Avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
- Sea salt flakes and ground black pepper – Popular savory dish staples!
- Substitution: Kosher salt works great too!
- Flat-leaf parsley – Finely chopped. Keep more aside for serving.
- Substitution: Basil or cilantro.
- Mint leaves – Finely chopped. Keep more aside for serving.
- Grape Tomatoes – Washed, dried, and halved.
- Substitution: Cherry tomatoes are a good substitute.
- Pepitas – chopped.
- Substitution: Use sunflower seeds instead. Pine nuts, slivered almonds, and hemp seeds can also be used.
- Goat cheese – crumbled.
- Substitution: Creamy feta is a great alternative!
- Creamy Jalapeno Hummus Dressing – This consists of jalapenos, garlic, hummus, water, and lemon juice.
- Substitution: Use store-bought hummus as the base for the dressing in this summer broccli recipe.
- Optional add-ins and garnishes – I love topping this broccoli rice recipe with sliced avocado, microgreens, pickled jalapenos, sliced scallions, lemon wedges, crispy chickpeas, and pita wedges!
While this healthy broccoli salad is totally mouth-watering with all of the flavors and contrasting textures, there’s always room for variation. Here are a few ideas for how you can adapt this summer rice salad recipe:
- Rice. Use cauliflower rice, brown rice, white rice, wild rice, or even quinoa or couscous.
- Vegan. Use your favorite vegan goat cheese substitute.
- Crunch: Walnuts, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, or roasted chickpeas would all add extra crunch to this riced broccoli recipe.
- Raw. For a completely raw salad, skip roasting the broccoli and corn. In this instance, pre-cooked canned corn kernels could be used.
- Meaty. Crispy bacon, shredded chicken, BBQ pulled pork, prosciutto, and ham make delicious meaty additions to this broccoli rice recipe.
- Add-ins. Add other vegetables to this salad, such as sweet potatoes or butternut squash.
- Dressing. Consider trying other hummus recipes as the base for the dressing, such as Spicy Avocado Hummus, Taco Spiced Hummus with Chipotle, Easy Tzatziki Hummus, Holiday White Bean Hummus, or Burrata Caprese Basil Hummus!
How to make summer salad with rice
This summery salad with riced broccoli is straight-forward to prepare. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Prep pans: Line 2 large baking sheets with foil and lightly grease with non-stick cooking sprat. Set aside.
- Rice broccoli: Working in batches, add the broccoli florets to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it resembled rice. Then transfer the broccoli rice to 1 of the prepared baking sheets.
- Season: Add the corn kernels to the other baking sheet. Drizzle oil evenly over the veggies and then season with salt and pepper. Toss and spread the rice and vegetables out in an even layer.
- Roast: Transfer both baking sheets to an oven pre-heated to 450-degrees and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked through.
- Make salad dressing: Add all the ingredients for the rice salad dressing to the bowl of a food processor. Then season with salt and pepper. Cover the processor and process until smooth.
- Toss salad: To a large bowl, add the broccoli rice, corn, parsley, mint, and cherry tomatoes. And then toss to combine. Next, pour half of the dressing over the rice salad and toss to combine.
- Garnish and serve: Transfer the tabbouleh summer rice salad to a serving bowl or individual plates and top with crunchy pepitas, crumbled cheese, and fresh herbs. Serving with the remaining dressing on the side and enjoy immediately.
Tips for making the best summer rice salads
- Dressing. You can determine the desired consistency of the hummus dressing by adding more or less water. I recommend starting with 1 ½ tablespoons of water and adding more as required.
- Broccoli rice. The food processor does a great job of turning chunky florets into rice-sized pieces. A box grater or a chef’s knife can also be used, although these alternatives require extra effort.
- Kick of heat. For an extra kick of heat to this rice summer salad, leave the jalapeno ribs intact when making the dressing.
- Charred corn. If you like the look of charred corn in your salad, remove the broccoli once it has roasted in the oven and return the corn, placing the baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven and setting the oven to the broil setting for 2-4 minutes, or until the corn is charred to your liking.
- Prepare ahead. To reduce some of the prep time for this summer rice salad recipe, make the dressing a week in advance and store it in the fridge.
FAQs: frequently asked questions
Are rice salads really that healthy or not?
Make no mistake, rice salads can be very healthy, offering a variety of fresh and nutritious ingredients, such as whole grains, fresh vegetables, herbs, and healthy fats from homemade dressings.
Rice salads are also easily adaptable, allowing you the flexibility to add protein and other ingredients that suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.
Ultimately, what makes any type of rice salad healthy is determined by the ingredients used and how much you eat in one sitting!
How long can you keep rice salad in the fridge?
Tabbouleh rice salad typically lasts in the fridge for several days when stored correctly.
What’s the best rice for a summer rice salad recipe?
Brown rice, white rice, or wild rice are great options for a “rice” salad in the strictest sense.
These days, “rice salad” can also refer to dishes that use cauliflower rice or broccoli rice as the base. These options are great for those who want to enjoy a low-carb dish.
Other options for rice salads could even include quinoa.
Serving summer salad with broccoli rice
Enjoy this summer rice salad as a side dish or a main meal when paired with other add-ins such as meat.
How to serve this broccoli rice salad?
As mentioned, this rice broccoli salad can be served in various ways:
- Keep dinner light by serving this alongside a hearty soup or stew.
- Or try as a side dish to roasted and grilled meats, chicken, and fish.
- It’s also satisfying enough to enjoy bowl-style as a main meal with the protein stirred right in.
- This summer salad with broccoli would also be a lovely starter dish for formal dinners. Try topping it with grilled halloumi for a special occasion.
- As a filling for sandwiches and wraps.
- As part of a party platter alongside toasted pita wedges, hummus, baba ganoush, strips of roasted red pepper, grilled vegetables, a large block of feta cheese, olives, and various proteins.
What to serve with rice salad for summer?
This summer rice salad can be enjoyed with a variety of roasted or grilled meats, crispy pan-fried tofu, pita bread or crusty bread rolls, and other finger foods. The options are endless!
How to store and how long does it keep?
- Broccoli rice summer salad will store for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve it chilled or bring it to room temperature before serving.
- The creamy jalapeno hummus dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Can you freeze rice broccoli salad?
I don’t recommend freezing this summer rice salad as the texture of the salad ingredients will change. Broccoli holds moisture, which could turn the salad soggy once thawed.
This broccoli rice summer salad is both stunning in appearance and a healthy addition to your plate. Loaded with interesting textures and irresistible flavors, it’s sure to be a hit on your summer menu!
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More summer salads!
- Grilled Peach Salad With Burrata
- Thai Mango Salad
- Chopped BLT Salad with Avocado
- Broccoli Grape Salad
The best Tabbouleh rice summer salad with broccoli 👇
Summer Rice Salad with Broccoli
- 2 Large Rimmed Baking Sheets (with aluminum foil for easy clean up)
- 1 Food Processor (for ricing the broccoli and making the dressing)
Summer Rice Salad
- 1 ½ pounds Broccoli Florets – roughly chopped
- 3 large Ears Corn – husks and kernels removed
- 2-3 TBS Olive Oil DIVIDED
- Sea Salt Flakes & Ground Black Pepper - to taste
- ¾ Cup Flat-leaf Parsley – finely chopped, plus more for serving
- ½ Cup Mint Leaves – finely chopped, plus more for serving
- ½ pint Grape Tomatoes – halved
- ½ Cup Pepitas – chopped (substitute: sunflower seeds)
- 1/3 Cup Goat Cheese – crumbled (substitute: feta cheese)
Hummus Salad Dressing
- 1 small Jalapeno – seeded, ribbed & roughly chopped (SEE NOTES)
- 1 small Clove Garlic – smashed & peeled
- ½ Cup Hummus store-bought or homemade
- 1 ½ - 3 TBS COLD Filtered Water (SEE NOTES)
- 2 ½ tsp Lemon Juice
- Optional Mix Ins: Cooked Chickpeas, Sliced Avocado, Sliced Jalapeños, Sliced Scallions, Fresh lemon Zest
- Optional For Serving: Pita Chips
- Preheat oven: Arrange your oven racks to the upper and lower third positions. Then preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees C). Next, line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil for easy clean up and lightly grease the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set the baking sheet pans aside.
- Rice the broccoli: Working in batches, add the broccoli florets to the bowl of a food processor (SEE NOTES). Cover the food processor and pulse until the florets resemble grains of rice. Repeat with remaining florets. Then transfer all the broccoli rice to ONE of the prepared baking sheets. (Tip: Keep the food processor out - you'll need it to make the dressing in step 5.)Add corn to other baking sheet: Dump the corn kernels out onto the other prepared baking sheet.
- Season veggies: Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of oil all over the broccoli, and repeat with the corn. Then season each pan of veggies with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a scant 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss the broccoli rice and spread it out in an even layer in the pan. Then toss the corn kernels and spread them out in a single layer in the pan.(Note: In the video I halved the recipe, so I'm using just one sheet pan.)
- Roast veggies: Transfer both baking sheets to the preheated oven and bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back half way through cooking, for 8-10 minutes, or until the rice and corn are tender. Set aside to cool. (SEE NOTES)
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Add all the ingredients for the dressing to the bowl of a food processor. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Then cover the processor and process until the dressing is super smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Toss rice salad: To a large bowl add the, broccoli rice, roasted corn, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and cherry tomatoes. Toss to combine. Add half of the dressing to the salad and toss again to coat.
- Serve: Transfer the Rice Summer Salad to a serving bowl or to individual plates. Garnish the top of the salad with salty pepitas, crumbled cheese, and extra herbs if using. Serve with lemon wedges, pita chips, and the remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!
- Riced Broccoli: If you don’t have a food processor, you can turn the broccoli into broccoli rice with a box grater, or you can use a chef’s knife to finely chop it. Alternatively, you can save time by purchasing a bag of broccoli rice at the grocery store.
- If you want your corn to have a more charred appearance, cook the broccoli and corn according to the recipe instructions. Then remove the broccoli rice from the oven completely. Move the corn to the top shelf and switch the oven to broil. Broil for 2-4 minutes, or until charred to your liking.
- The amount of water needed for the dressing depends on personal preference. Start with 1 ½ tablespoons of water, and add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
- If you prefer a spicier dressing, leave the ribs of the jalapeno intact.
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