Red Rice, Cherry, Baby Spinach, and Hazelnut Salad

Red Rice, Cherry, Baby Spinach, and Hazelnut Salad // FoodNouveau.com

If I had to choose one summer salad to serve for the rest of my life, this red rice, cherry, baby spinach, and hazelnut salad would be it. It’s colorful, fresh, and filled with textures. It combines salty and sweet just right. It’s hearty enough to be served as a light lunch, but it’s also the perfect side to grilled flank steak (the leftover dressing makes a lovely sauce for the steak, too!). It’s elegant enough to serve to company, but quick enough to make on a weeknight. Simply put, you need to make it. Now.

Makes 6 servings (as a side dish).

Whole-Grain Rice, Baby Spinach, Walnuts, and Cherry Salad

This colorful summer salad is hearty, fresh, and filled with textures, and combines salty and sweet just right. Great on its own or served with red meat.

15 minPrep Time

15 minTotal Time

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3½ cups [875 ml] red rice, cooked, reheated to warm if made in advance (see note)
4 handfuls baby spinach
¾ cup [180 ml] hazelnuts, toasted and peeled (see note--you can substitute walnuts)
1½ cups [375 ml] cherries, halved and pitted
½ cup [125 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup [60 ml] white balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar
Fresh basil leaves
Goat's cheese, crumbled, to taste


In a large bowl, combine the warm rice, spinach, and most of the hazelnuts. Toss until the spinach wilts a bit.

Make the cherry vinaigrette: In the jar of a blender, add a third of the cherries along with the olive oil, white balsamic or white wine vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon [2.5 ml] fleur de sel. Blend until smooth. (You can also make the vinaigrette using a stick blender.) Add a generous splash of the dressing to the salad.

Stir the remaining cherries into the rice. Taste and add more fleur de sel, if needed. Turn the salad onto a large serving dish and garnish with the remaining hazelnuts. Add fresh basil leaves and goat's cheese, to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe Credit: Adapted from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day.


Red rice is a great choice for this salad because it's a healthy whole grain choice and it has a lovely nutty taste that is just the perfect backbone to this dish. You can substitute brown rice.

How to Toast and Peel Hazelnuts: Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray covered with parchment or aluminum paper, and bake at 350°F [170°C] for 15 minutes, giving the tray a good shake every five minutes. When the hazelnuts’ skin is shiny and crackled, remove from the oven and transfer to a clean dish towel. Close the towel up into a bundle and rub the hazelnuts against one another vigorously to remove the skin. Open the towel and pickup the peeled hazelnuts. Some bits of skin will remain but that’s ok! Keep the peeled hazelnuts in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.



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