There’s a new salad in town, and I’ve been making it a lot. Like ‘three times a week a lot.’ It’s downright swoon-worthy for so many reasons, not the least of which is how beautiful it is! Feast your eyes on the Roasted Carrot and Brown Rice Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette and Spicy Pepitas!
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The Roasted Carrot and Brown Rice Salad: Gourmet But So Easy!
This salad has it all. If you’ve read my “How to Make an Amazing Salad” post you’ll notice I followed my own ‘salad making tips’ by giving this salad texture, color, flavor and warmth! I use tender baby greens, warm roasted carrots and brown rice, then add some spicy pepitas for a little kick!
The Pepitas: Make Them Yourself or Buy Them!
It’s fall y’all. I just had to toss some pumpkin seeds in this recipe! These aren’t ordinary pumpkin seeds though. They are drizzled in lime, tossed in cayenne, chili and other spices then roasted in the oven. You can make your own following the recipe below or if you are lucky enough to live near a store that sells spicy pepitas you can buy them. They are also available online (<—Amazon affiliate link)
This stunning salad is tossed in a simple white balsamic dressing. It’s ‘barely there’ but makes all the difference by ramping up the flavor of each ingredient. I will offer my two favorite white balsamic vinegars, you can choose which best fits your budget. My first pick is always Prelibato White Balsamic vinegar from Italy. You may get lucky and find it in a store, but I almost always have to buy online. Second choice, O California White Balsamic. (<—Amazon link) I find this one in many stores and it’s a little easier on the wallet.
Put It All Together:
Savory, sweet, and spicy with a blend of textures, this salad is a must make! It’s perfect for every occasion or no occasion at all. Add rotisserie chicken to make it a complete meal or serve alongside my Citrus and Herb Roast Chicken or Steak Au Poivre.
The Recipe: Roasted Carrot and Brown Rice Salad!
What you need: a good knife, a great sea salt, and parchment paper (to cover cookie sheet). You will also need white balsamic vinegar. My first pick is always Prelibato White Balsamic vinegar from Italy. You may get lucky and find it in a store, but I almost always have to buy online. Second choice, O California White Balsamic.
This salad has texture, flavor, and is visually stunning. A favorite salad any time of year!
- 1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile or chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup brown basmati rice cooked to package instructions
- 8 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal (1/8" thick)
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups baby greens
- handful spicy pepitas (store bought or recipe included here)
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives (optional as garnish)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic
- 2 teaspoons honey
- pinch sea salt and a few turns freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place oven rack in center position
Place all ingredients together in a bowl, toss and then spread on a cookie sheet. Bake, shaking pan once or twice, until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes
Remove from oven and turn heat up to 400 degrees and move oven rack to the upper third position. Set pumpkin seeds aside to cool
Start cooking rice to package instructions
After slicing carrots, place on a parchment covered cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, toss
Place carrots in oven and roast until carrots are soft and edges are browned. (usually between 30-40 minutes. While carrots and rice cook, make salad dressing.
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside
When rice and carrots are cooked allow a little time for them to cool. They can be warm, but not hot.
Place greens on platter, drizzle with desired amount of salad dressing and toss. Top with rice, carrots and pepitas, toss again. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with chives (if using) Serve
Save extra pepitas in a sealed container and use as desired
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