Sunday, May 04, 2014

Brown Rice and Pinto Bean Salad with Poblano and Red Bell Pepper (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Brown Rice and Pinto Bean Salad with Poblano and Red Bell Pepper is a perfect meatless side dish for Cinco de Mayo.

Brown Rice and Pinto Bean Salad with Poblano and Red Bell Pepper found on

I already shared Twenty-Five Healthy Mexican Food Dinners for Cinco de Mayo, but for some reason I still had Mexican food on the brain last week when I cooked with Jake.  Maybe it was just the desire to use up some leftover brown rice and a Poblano chile that was in the fridge, but we had fun experimenting with those ingredients.  We both loved the resulting Brown Rice and Pinto Bean Salad with Poblano and Red Bell Pepper.  I especially like the color the red onion adds in this salad, but if you're not going to be eating it right away I would recommend using green onion instead, because the red onion flavor got stronger after the salad had been in the fridge a few days.  But that didn't stop me from gobbling it up for lunch one day, and this is great for a Meatless Monday lunch or side dish, even on the Mondays when it's not Cinco de Mayo!

There are two spicy ingredients here that I would say are essential to bump up the flavors in this salad.  The first is my favorite Green Tabasco Sauce in the dressing, and the other one is a finely chopped Poblano Chile in the salad.  I love the flavor of raw Poblano Chiles, often called Pasilla Peppers in grocery stores.  Even with both those spicy additions, this was just slightly spicy, and in a good way!

(To find more meatless recipes click the label Meatless Monday or check Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  I also share Meatless Monday ideas from other blogs for Meatless Monday at BlogHer, and have a great Meatless Monday Pinterest board.)

This salad starts with some cooked brown rice, and I used my beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker to cook the rice.  If you can cook the rice ahead so it's been in the fridge when you make the salad, that's even better.

You need 3 cups cooked pinto beans.  I wish I had cooked some dried beans in the slow cooker, but I didn't plan ahead well enough for that so I just rinsed and drained 2 cans of pinto beans.

Whisk together the lime juice, chile powder, Green Tabasco Sauce, Spike Seasoning, and olive oil to make the dressing.

Put the drained beans into a bowl big enough to hold all the salad ingredients and add the dressing, stirring so all the beans are coated with dressing.  Let beans marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

This is what Poblano/Pasilla peppers look like.  They're a large pepper that's only slightly spicy and really delicious.

Once again, wonderful chopping skills by Jake for this salad.  We both agreed that this was a bit too much red onion, so we didn't end up using as much as you see in the photo.

Once all the ingredients are finely chopped, stir the cooled or chilled rice, finely chopped Poblano, finely chopped red bell pepper, and finely chopped red or green onion into the beans/dressing.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.

Brown Rice and Pinto Bean Salad with Poblano and Red Bell Pepper
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn and Jake when there was leftover brown rice and a Poblano Chile in the fridge.)

3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled or chilled
3 cups cooked pinto beans (I used two 15 oz. cans pinto beans.)
1 large Poblano (Pasilla) Chile pepper, chopped into very small pieces
1 large red bell pepper, chopped into very small pieces
1/4 large red onion, chopped into very small pieces (or use green onion, especially if you're not eating all the salad right away)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T fresh lime juice (I used my fresh-frozen lime juice.)
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (Or use another flavorful all-purpose seasoning if you don't have Spike.)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil

Cook enough brown rice to make 3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice.  (If you have leftover brown rice in the fridge or freezer, this is a perfect way to use it.)

I would prefer to use dried beans cooked in the slow cooker for this recipe, because they're so much more flavorful than canned beans.  But if you don't manage to plan ahead that well, put 2 cans pinto beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water (until no more foam appears.)  Let the beans drain well (pat dry with a paper towel if they seem wet.)

Whisk together the lime juice, chile powder, Green Tabasco Sauce, Spike Seasoning, and olive oil to make the dressing.  Put the drained beans into a bowl that's big enough to hold all the ingredients.  Add the dressing and stir to coat all the beans with dressing.  Let beans marinate while you chop other ingredients.

Finely chop the Poblano chile, red bell pepper, and red (or green) onion into pieces about 1/4 inch square.  Stir the cooled brown rice, chopped Poblano, chopped red bell pepper, and chopped onion into the beans/dressing mixture, gently combining until all the ingredients are coated with dressing.  Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

Serve right away or refrigerate until serving.  This will keep well in the fridge for several days, although if you use red onion the onion flavor does get stronger the longer it's stored.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This low-glycemic salad would be Phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet due to the brown rice, but this salad is loaded with healthful ingredients and makes a perfect Phase 2 side dish.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Vegetarian Cinco de Mayo Recipes with Poblano Chiles:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Bell Peppers, and Poblano-Avocado Salsa ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Roasted Poblanos in Cream Sauce ~ Simply Recipes

Pressure Cooker Mexican Beans with Poblano-Avocado Salsa ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Stuffed Poblano Peppers ~ Budget Bytes

Julienned Zucchini Vegan Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Avocado, Tomato, Poblano, and Lime ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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More to Chew On:


  1. I love spice in my foods, so this salad sounds pretty super to me!

  2. Thanks Joanne! I am totally crushing on those Poblano peppers lately.

  3. Mouth watering recipe...I always love the food with less gravy, so this is perfect for me.

  4. sharing this recipe on the Orgran Natural Foods USA and the Candy Tree gluten free licorice pages.

  5. Thanks Karlsdad. I'm hoping you mean a link to the recipe, and not the recipe itself.

  6. Brown rice salads are favorites in our house, and I love the look of this colorful one, Kalyn.

  7. Thanks Dara, we loved it, especially the Green Tabasco Sauce!

  8. I just made this using wheat berries, because I already had them cooked in the fridge. I am totally enjoying fresh, right now! Yummy!! Thank you

  9. Kristi, love the idea of wheatberries in this! Glad you're enjoying it.

  10. Pinned! Cool recipe with lots of fiber and protein, exactly what I'm looking for.
    Something completely different: when I click on the photo, I get directed to the media file, is that intentional?

    1. Thanks Howie, hope you enjoy. The photo is not linked to anything so you should get a page with just the photo when you click it.


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