February 07, 2023

vegan basil pesto salad

This Basil Pesto Rice Salad recipe is a delicious and healthy dish that's perfect for lunch or dinner. The combination of tender brown rice and red quinoa provides a nutty and satisfying base for the crisp and refreshing rocket salad. The sliced cucumber and lightly grilled vegan harmless chicken add a crunchy texture, while the chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds add a satisfying crunch.


Basil Pesto Dressing:

  • 1 cup Fresh Basil
  • ¾ cup Cashews
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch Salt + Pepper to flavour


  • 250g Rocket
  • ⅓ Cucumber
  • ¼ cup Walnuts
  • ¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 200g Harmless Chicken (+ 2 Tbsp Oil for grilling)


  • 1 cup Brown Rice
  • ¼ cup Red Quinoa
  • 2 ½ cups Water (rice cooker)



  1. Rinse the brown rice and red quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Place the rinsed rice and quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 ½ cups of water.
  3. Turn on the rice cooker and let it cook until it signals that the rice is done.
  4. Serve the rice and quinoa as a side dish with the rocket salad and basil pesto dressing. 
  5. Now prepare the Basil Pesto Dressing; rinse and chop the fresh basil leaves.
  6. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, cashews, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  7. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  10. While the Brown rice and quinoa is cooking, prepare the salad: rinse and dry the rocket leaves and place them in a large bowl.
  11. Add the sliced cucumber, chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and lightly grilled vegan harmless chicken.
  12. Toss to combine.
  13. Serve with the basil pesto dressing and enjoy!

Preparing the lightly grilled Harmless Chicken:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush the vegan harmless chicken pieces with oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill.
  3. Place the vegan harmless chicken on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred and crispy.
  4. Brush with a little bit more oil if needed.
  5. Remove from the grill and let cool for a few minutes before adding to the rocket salad mixture.

Note: If you do not have access to a grill, you can also bake the vegan harmless chicken in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 15-20 minutes or until crispy, or pan-fry them in a pan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.