Southwest Rice Salad Recipe


A healthy salad doesn’t mean the dish has to be all greens and nothing else! Southwest Rice Salad is an incredible dish that’s a complete feast for the eyes and your stomach. It incorporates rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, and onions all in one tasty bowl. Sounds delicious, right? Check out the great recipe below!

Southwestern Rice Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cups long-grain rice (white rice or brown rice)
  • 1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (12 oz) white corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Southwest Rice Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

How to Make Southwestern Rice Salad

Southwest Rice Salad is an absolutely delicious recipe that you can eat for lunch or dinner as it’s already a complete meal. Best of all, it’s gluten-free. Check out the instructions on how to make this recipe:

Prep time: 20 minutes

  1. Cook your white or brown rice over the stove or using a rice cooker. Once it is done, let the cooked rice sit for 5 minutes. Then, rinse the rice with cold water, drain, and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium. Add the bell pepper, red onion, and minced garlic. Sauté until crisp-tender, or about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir often so that the garlic doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the cooked garlic, onion, and bell pepper to the rice. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro to the rice mixture.
  5. Put the olive oil, lime juice, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Use a wire whisk or fork to mix the dressing. Mix well to ensure that the oil and juice are fully combined. Taste to see if it’s up to your preferences. Add more salt or pepper if you wish.
  6. Transfer the rice salad mixture to a large serving bowl.
  7. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture.
  8. Serve immediately.

Southwestern Rice Salad Recipe Tips

  • This Southwestern Rice Salad Recipe indicates using long-grain rice. Brown rice or white rice work the best, but you may also use wild rice if you wish. 
  • Letting the rice cool is important. Only add in the remaining ingredients of the dish once it has cooled off a bit, otherwise, you risk cooking up all the veggies or turning them soggy.
  • While this recipe uses green pepper, you may use any kind of bell pepper that you prefer.
  • If black beans are not to your liking, you may use kidney beans instead.
  • Any kind of corn is perfect for this salad. White corn, sweet corn, frozen corn, or freshly cooked, all work well.
  • You may also incorporate other veggies into this dish. Sliced avocado, green onions, and Romaine lettuce are the best options to toss into this salad.
  • You can add other ingredients to this rice salad to level it up further. Toss in some grilled chicken, tofu, sour cream, jalapeno, tortilla chips, and the like.
  • Some people do not like the taste of cilantro. You can remove it from the recipe completely or serve it on the side.
  • Add in some creamy avocado to elevate the textures and increase the nutrients in the dish. 
  • Southwest Brown Rice Salad is also an excellent side dish to other recipes. Serve it with some tasty chicken, grilled shrimp, beef, and pork.
  • This Southwest Rice Salad can be made 1 to 2 days in advance. It can be served either cold or at room temp.
  • Aside from serving the Southwest Brown Rice Salad immediately, you can also chill it for a couple of hours before bringing it to the table.
  • If you have extra dressing left over, you can use it as a condiment for sandwiches, burgers, roasted baked potatoes, and other dishes. 
  • Add some heat to the salad dressing by mixing in some hot sauce or salsa.
  • Want to increase the taste and creaminess of this recipe? Mix in some cheese!

Final Note

This Southwest Rice Salad is not only great as a side dish, but it can absolutely be a main dish too. It’s healthy and delicious, the perfect lunch or dinner that all your family members will love. Not to mention, it’s easy to make too and it’s gluten-free! 

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