Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese

This Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese may sound a bit unusual, but it’s fantastic. I really wanted to make it with Rainier cherries, but I don’t think they’re quite in season yet. You could make this with any kind of cherry, but I opted for dried cherries. I can’t wait to make this again with fresh Rainiers! I made this salad twice, tweaking the recipe just a bit each time. Just small changes made it a different salad, but I loved both versions. Using a precooked pouch of brown rice makes this a cinch to get on the table. Perfect for when you’re busy and don’t want to fire up the stove, but want something homemade.

Warm Brown Rice Chickpea Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese

So, how’s it taste?

The first time I made this, I skipped the precooked brown rice in a pouch and made my own. I somehow ended up with tons of bags of brown rice in my pantry and wanted to use it up. Brown rice takes what feels like forever to cook! So it wasn’t as quick of a meal to put together, though it did give me time to prep the other ingredients. It turned out really well except that I didn’t let my rice cool enough and the goat cheese melted. It made my dish look a pale white color, which wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t care because it tasted amazing. I loved the different textures and flavors. Sweet from the dried cherries, tangy from the vinegar and goat cheese. Fantastic! Another tweak I made was to reduce the amount of olive oil to one tablespoon. Three just seemed like way too much to me and I was right. That also cut out a fair amount of calories, which makes me happy!

The second time I made this, I used the pouch. I couldn’t find brown rice, so I grabbed brown rice and quinoa. I didn’t notice until I got home that it was garlic flavored. I forged on and it turned out pretty well. The garlic was a bit much, but not bad. I also skipped the step of soaking and chopping the dried cherries and just threw them in. Cranberries would work here, too. I left out the oil completely in this batch. It tasted great, but the tang of the vinegar was amped up. I liked it, but you may want to add the oil in last, a little at a time to see how much you’d prefer. The next day it was a bit dry without any oil. The leftovers are outstanding otherwise. Can’t wait to make it with fresh cherries!

Blog Update

I reorganized So, How’s It Taste a bit recently. The old So, How’s It Going and So, How’s It Look sections weren’t working out the way I’d hoped, so those categories (and tabs at the top of site) are gone. Instead you’ll find a new sections in my main navigation. Here’s where I’ll be posting on non food-related topics like fitness, DIY, Stitch Fix reviews, my cute dog Sydney, and Life in general. I’ll be adding more sections later such as blogging tips, photography, and travel. I hope this makes it easier for you to navigate around the blog.

In the process of reorganizing, I accidentally deleted the groups for my emails. Argh! So everyone was placed in the “send only food posts” category. If you’d like to receive emails when a new post is published from any category, simply return to the signup form and enter the email address you used to sign up. You’ll get instructions for updating your email preference. Select the option “Send me all posts! (includes non food-related posts)” and you’ll be set!

Yield: 4 servings

Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese


1 (8.8 oz.) pouch precooked brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's) (or 1 cup uncooked brown rice cooked according to package directions)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (I would add 1 tbsp. at time until it's to your liking)
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
32 cherries, pitted and quartered*
1 (15 oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

*If you can't find fresh cherries, add 2 tablespoons boiling water to 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries (or cranberries). Let stand 10 minutes; drain and chop.


1. Heat rice according to package directions. Place rice in a medium bowl. Stir in onions and next 7 ingredients (through chickpeas). Sprinkle evenly with goat cheese.

per serving: 359 calories, 16.8g fat, 10g protein, 43g carbs, 5g fiber