clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Summer rice salad with pesto and tomatoes in a beige bowl on a blue napkin.

Summer Rice Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American/Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


Think of this summer rice salad as an alternative to pasta salad – or a very lazy risotto.



For the Salad

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice (substitution ideas below)
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • One 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 generous handfuls arugula
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice

For the Pesto (optional, see note below)

  • 3 packed cups basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews (see note below)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice with 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover tightly with a lid, and simmer on low heat until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes (do not stir during cooking). Then turn the heat off and let stand covered (without stirring) for another 10 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are juicy and collapsed, about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto. In a food processor (see below for blender instructions), combine the basil with 1/3 cup cashews and 1 garlic clove. Pulse until everything is broken down. Then add 2 teaspoons miso, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. With the motor running, gradually stream in 1/3 cup olive oil and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  4. Transfer the rice to a large bowl and add the beans, arugula, tomatoes, pesto, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.


  • You can substitute with white basmati rice, regular long-grain brown rice, or farro.
  • For a shortcut, use store-bought pesto.
  • If you have a nut allergy, sub with sunflower seeds.
  • To make pesto in a blender: instead of pureeing in 2 steps, combine all the pesto ingredients at once and blend together.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
  • Calories: 370
  • Fat: 18.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.2 g
  • Fiber: 5.6 g
  • Protein: 9.6 g