Mexican-inspired spicy rice salad recipe

Mexican-inspired spicy rice salad recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Grain salad
  • Rice salad

I wanted a healthy but tasty lunch, so came up with this Mexican-inspired two-part salad. One part is hot, one part cold, and they come together at lunchtime to make a healthy but incredibly tasty and satisfying meal!

Midlothian, Scotland, UK

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 3

  • Hot layer
  • 1/2 to 2/3 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • 1 (400g) tin kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 packet Uncle Ben's® microwave 'Spicy Mexican' rice
  • Cool layer
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 romaine or little gem lettuce
  • 2 to 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 handful pistachios
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 ripe mango, chopped
  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • spicy dressing, to taste
  • 1 handful grated cheese, such as mozzarella or mild Cheddar

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:21min ›Ready in:36min

  1. First we'll prepare the hot layer. Preheat your oven to 190 C / Gas 5 and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
  2. Put the broccoli and red pepper into a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, add freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste, and mix well.
  3. Wash your corn on the cob and remove any silk strands. Dry lightly, then wrap the corn in aluminium foil.
  4. Put the red pepper strips only on one-half of the foil-lined baking tray. Place into the oven with the foil-wrapped corn for 12 minutes, turning the corn and stirring the red pepper strips halfway through.
  5. After 12 minutes, add the broccoli to the tray, spreading out into one layer, and cook for 9 minutes, stirring halfway. If you prefer your veg more well done, cook for an extra 3 to 5 minutes. You can also remove the corn from the foil at the end to get some char on the kernels if you prefer!
  6. Remove all the veg from the oven and allow the red pepper strips and broccoli to cool. After the corn has cooled to touch, use a knife to strip the kernels from the cob. If you prefer, cut the red pepper strips into smaller pieces once cool.
  7. In the same bowl as before (or a slightly larger one), mix the broccoli, corn kernels and red pepper strips. Add the beans, and Uncle Ben's Mexican rice, and mix well. Use your hands to break up the rice so it's evenly mixed!
  8. Divide the 'hot' layer into 3 portions to microwave when you want to eat lunch!
  9. Now we'll make the cool layer. Tear your lettuce into a mixing bowl, and add the tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and mango. Toss in the pumpkin seeds and pistachios.
  10. Drizzle with a very small amount of olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Divide the 'cool' layer into three portions to take along with your 'hot' portions!
  11. When ready to eat, heat up your 'hot' layer in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on microwave power), mixing halfway. Drizzle with your spicy dressing. Then add a small layer of cheese. Spoon the 'cool' layer on top of this, and dig in!


Obviously, change up these ingredients however you like! Try different seeds, different sauces, and different beans. For the dressing, try harissa, harissa with dukka, Sriracha or a thick hot sauce if you like it spicy!

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Mexican Rice Salad

This Mexican Rice Salad is delicious to serve as a salad or dip for a Mexican Fiesta party!

Friends, I did something this past weekend that I’ve never done before. I missed a party! Having RSVP’d while I was in Italy, I knew the date of the party, and what to bring, but missed one important piece to the text message. The party was from 1-5 pm I read 5 pm! So, yes, my husband and I missed the party (a larger party). I apologized to our gracious friend, and asked if we’d ever be invited again. LOL. Of course she said that would be a possibility :)

I had made a giant Mexican Rice Salad, and was so excited to bring this dish. Since then, we’ve been eating it every day, and probably will for a week. HA!

I’m glad we can be honest with our friends when we make mistakes. I’ve been very blessed to developed some incredibly deep and authentic relationships over the years. I really appreciate some of my older (sturdy) friendships in life … like childhood friends, and friends I went through my single years (20’s) with. Healthy friendships require commitment, honesty, and and effort. Forgiveness is important, too, especially if the friendship doesn’t turn out the way you thought it should. Here’s one thing that I have learned: If someone is easily offended by you, or not happy for you, or in your corner like a good friend should be, then they probably are not a good friend. It’s okay to occasionally evaluate our friendships and where we are headed in life. Life is short!

Must Try Vegetarian Mexican Inspired Foods

1. Chipotle Chopped Salad

Rabbit food this is not. Try our satisfying vegetarian salad boasting big chunks of creamy avocado, corn and black beans, showered with crumbled queso fresco and crushed tortilla chips, and tossed with a velvety dressing of sour cream, cider vinegar, chipotle and cumin.

2. Cheesy Cornbread Casserole

We’re calling brunch the most important meal of the day with this Mexican inspired dish. Especially if it stars this savory vegetarian Mexican casserole, starring layers of cubed cornbread baked with eggs, tomatoes, chilies and cheese.

3. Mac and Queso

This comfort food favorite gets a south of the border spin. We have a feeling this ooey, gooey, Mexican seasoning and green chili-studded mac will become a dinner table favorite, as well as a tailgate and pot luck go-to.

4. Portobello Fajitas

Can you hear that sizzle yet? That’s the sound of our vegetarian fajitas - strips of meaty portobello mushrooms sautéed with sweet onions and bell peppers. And bonus. This crazy-good filling can be served over rice, or bundled into over-sized tortillas and loaded with toppings to make a vegetarian burrito.

5. Vegan Butternut Squash Tacos al Pastor

Put a modern spin on Taco Tuesday with vegetarian tacos, featuring nutty chunks of roasted butternut squash. An ingenious, meat-free spin on the Mexican street food favorite, al pastor, the squash "meat" gets seasoned with a slew of spices and paired with fresh pineapple and crunchy cabbage. Serve on warm corn tortillas.

6. Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

You may just find this vegetarian taco recipe winning over meat eaters. That’s because it features tropical jackfruit, which has a deceptively meat-like texture that’s often compared to pulled pork. We’ve also infused this dish with over-the-top flavor at every opportunity, by marinating the jackfruit in coconut sugar, lime juice, paprika and cinnamon, grilling it, and drizzling Cider Pepper Syrup on top.

7. Easy Cheesy Vegetable Quesadillas

Bursting with flavor and perfect for sharing, this onion, pepper, zucchini, and mushroom-stuffed vegetarian quesadilla makes awesome party food. But you’ll probably find yourself craving it for breakfast, lunch, or as a midnight snack as well.

8. 7 Layer Fiesta Dip

Grab a chip and take a dip! This crowd-pleaser couldn’t be easier to prepare, and is sure to be a hit at parties. It starts with a layer of pureed pinto beans, salsa and cilantro, which gets topped with an edible rainbow of sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, cheese, olives, and crispy fried onion rings.

9. Ancho Tortilla Soup

Winter calls for a hearty, comforting and nourishing soup supper. And vegetarian tortilla soup ticks all the boxes. Simply swap in vegetable stock when making the ancho chili and cumin-fueled broth. Instead of shredded chicken or turkey, fold in tender cubes of tofu, creamy white beans, or sweet roasted veggies.

10. Black Bean Enchiladas

Where’s the beef? We’re showcasing protein-rich black beans instead in these vegetarian enchiladas, simmered in a spicy tomato sauce and finished with sharp Cheddar cheese.

11. Hot Chocolate "Cup" Cakes

Dessert? Always. These fudgey, intensely chocolatey cakes are spiked with smoky ancho chili powder and Saigon cinnamon making each bite more decadent than the last. Best of all? You bake this treat in a mug. So convenient . so cute!

12. Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Talk about a hot potato! We're totally sweet on these meat-free stuffed spuds, bursting with black beans, spiced with zesty seasonings, and finished with your favorite toppings, such as chopped avocado, sour cream, and shredded cheese.


  • Pineapple - fresh pineapple is best if you can get it. If not canned chunks will work as well.
  • Watermelon - seedless watermelon
  • Mango - A nice ripe mango can be found pretty much year-round. There are several varieties and growing seasons that are exported here. To check for ripeness you can go by how they feel. If gently squeezed they will be slightly soft and often have a fruity aroma.
  • Papaya - These may be slightly harder to find. If you can't get them just add a little more of your other fruits to make up for them.
  • Grapes - I like to use both green and red seedless grapes. You can use what you like best.
  • Lime - Fresh lime and lime zest give this Mexican fruit salad its freshness.
  • Chili lime seasoning - This gives a little spice and tons of flavor.

Reader Interactions


Quinoa tacos are a staple in our house now!! Sooo good!

Just started trying vegan. Can not wait to try these recipes.we LOVE Mexican food. What would be 2 of anyone’s top 2 favorites to start with. I really want the first few dishes to go well so my family will want to go vegan all the time.

Support @ Minimalist Baker says

Hi Kay, in the right hand side bar you can find our Fan Favorites ebook. Hope that helps!

I am not much on cooking but one of your recipes recommended using curry. I gave it a try and it really changed the taste of my vegetables and made them much more enjoyable. I also used it on my sweet potato. Yum

Support @ Minimalist Baker says

So glad to hear this, Dinees! Happy cooking!

This looks incredibly delicious. Yum!

Support @ Minimalist Baker says

If you give any of the recipes a try, we hope you enjoy them! :D

can you please let me know what garlic chilli sauce is? do you have a recipe as i can not but it in a bottle

Support @ Minimalist Baker says

Omg where have you been all my life!? Ive been trying my best to find new vegan dishes that i like. Im not vegan currently. Its really hard for me to make the transition because i have so many food issues. And the one thing that has seemed to work is making everything taste like mexican food. And you made 14 all in one spot! Yay!

I absolutely love you recipes! Where do you buy most of your ingredients?

Crockpot Mexican-Inspired Barbacoa Beef

This Crockpot Mexican-Inspired Spicy Barbacoa Beef is the perfect meat to make a big batch of at the beginning of the week to then serve in all kinds of ways for easy meals throughout the week.

The beef is deliciously flavored and cooked until perfectly tender! And not to mention, so simple to make with very few ingredients. Simply sear the beef, saute the onions, then add everything to your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or 4-6 on high, but I always recommend slow and low if your schedule allows it to really let all the flavors meld together even more beautifully.

Once the beef is cooked, you can add it to pretty much any meal at any time — breakfast, lunch or dinner! I’ll stuff it in some bell peppers and bake, use in lettuce wraps, make tacos or tostadas, top it on some salad as your protein, make burrito bowls, stuff it in mini bell peppers to make healthy “nachos”… the possibilities are really endless! For a more exciting breakfast option, we will even top our scrambled eggs with it on their own or in breakfast tacos.

So make this week’s meals easier and get a big batch of this Crockpot Spicy Barbacoa Beef cooking so you can easily use it to spice up your everyday meals!

And if you don’t have time for the crockpot, you can also try my Instant Pot version!

About the Recipe

This quinoa salad finds its flavors in the Southwest. No cactus, no coyotes and we left the chunky turquoise at the gift shop. Elements of this salad remind me of one I’ve had once or twice before from the Whole Foods salad bar. My version delivers plenty of zippy flavor with some earthy depth thanks to the grill.

Grilling the corn while still on the cob sweetens even the earliest picked cobs. Normally I’ll soak the cobs while still in their husks but this day I simply went for it and tossed them straight on the grates, then husked them when cooled. If you’d like to see a bit more char on your corn, simply roast them sans husk.

I used both plain and red protein-packed quinoa for some visual texture and added black beans for even more protein and southwest flavor. Contrasting the spunky onion flavor is a jar of DeLallo Pepperazzi™ peppers I keep stocked in my pantry. They’re pickled and a little sweet, and a little spicy, and man, I love to snack on them whole but in this salad, I’ve chopped them up for a sweet flair. If you’d like, you can substitute chopped fresh sweet peppers for the pickled version.

I’ve given ingredient measurements for the cilantro and queso, but in my opinion, you can’t have too much of either so add more to fit your pleasure. If however, you’re simply not a cilantro lover, sub in leafy flat leaf Italian parsley or tarragon would add good flavor too.

The 4 ingredient dressing is what brings this salad all together with the tang of lime sweetened with honey. A dash or more of the reserved pickled pepper juice adds even more sweetness if you’d like.

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram or Twitter with #foodiecrusheats.

Our Best Authentic Mexican and Mexican-Inspired Recipes

Matt Taylor-Gross

From tacos to tamales, it’s hard not to love authentic Mexican cuisine. Sure, we love a good Tex-Mex recipe as well, but let’s be clear: it’s a totally different beast from the authentic Mexican food found south of the border.

Mexican Cooking Techniques

Mexican cuisine draws on indigenous staples like chile peppers and corn. Turn the latter into homemade masa, which can be used as a base for the best masa recipes, namely, excellent tortillas. And while tortillas can be found across the canon of Mexican cooking as the starch du jour, a drive through the country reveals that bread too has a place: the behemoth Mexican sandwiches, cemita poblana with fried cutlet, roast pork torta ahogada reminiscent of a French dips, and griddled pambazo, are ubiquitous throughout Mexico.

Looking for comfort food? Mexican comfort dishes are among some of the best Mexican recipes—think hearty stews, cheesy enchiladas, and zesty soups. Mexican food is never short on flavor, but just to make sure, almost every Mexican dish comes with a side of serious sauce, from rich moles to pico de gallo and various salsas. If the spice gets to you, reach for the closest Mexican drink, like a cooling agua fresca.

Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just in the mood for classic Mexican recipes, we’ve rounded up our 80 favorite authentic Mexican recipes here.

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The horchata originally came to Mexico via the Spaniards, who called it Agua or horchata de chufa and made it with tiger nuts.

Horchata de Melón (Cantaloupe Seed Drink)

Cantaloupe seeds, usually discarded, make a refreshing drink when ground with water. Cubes of cantaloupe are a great garnish.

Horchata de Moras (Berry-Rice Drink)

We recommend using any fruit that's in season for this sweet, vibrantly-colored, non-traditional horchata—the riper and juicier the better.

Apricot-Rice Drink (Horchata de Chabacano)

When apricots are in season, use them to make this velvety-rich version of horchata. You can also substitute peaches or nectarines—when it's not stone fruit season, the fresh-frozen variety work just as well.



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I really like this. I just skip the red bell peppers, though, and make all of them poblano (I like spicy). I also roast the corn, and I use brown rice instead of white (trying to be healthier!) All in all, it's an easy and tasty dish.

I made this recipe over and over last summer while the poblanos were coming in from my garden. I tweaked it a bit every time until arriving at the proportions that were most pleasing to me: doubled the chicken, poblanos and red bell peppers, halved the rice (brown basmati), and reversed the proportion of oil and lime juice in the dressing. Sometimes we ate it over a bed of mixed greens, sometimes in romaine lettuce hearts. Yum!

This is a great weeknight dish or crowd-pleaser meal. It comes together very quickly and yields more like 8 servings, so there is plenty for mexican-inspired leftovers the following day (burritos, anyone?). I baked the chicken (at 375 for about 30 minutes) since I am without access to a grill, and I used 16 oz. of frozen corn so there was no shucking necessary. These ingredients take very well to grilling, but the dish was delicious even baked. I will use more chipotle next time as well as some crushed chili peppers for some heat.

This dish was very good. It wasn't very "salady". Also, the dressing numbers don't add up - following the recipe nets you less than 1 cup of dressing, yet the directions call for you to use 1/2 cup of dressing on two occasions, plus have remaining dressing to add "to taste", so I don't know what's up with that. Anyway - very good! Serve with guacamole and chips.

I've been making this dish for about 4 years and it's awesome- my suggestion is to double the dressing recipe. This way there is plenty to use as marinade and to really coat the meat once it has been cooked and sliced up. You have to use corn on the cob to get that charred flavor from the grill, although Trader Joes does now sell frozen bagged corn that has been grilled so it has all that grilled flavor and color.

Served this at a baby shower of about 70 people, everyone loved it! I served it as an appetizer stuffed in individual endive leaves and it was a huge hit. You must use fresh corn and a good quality rice (I use Jasmine, my favorite), no instant rice. and dont skimp on the adobo, what a kick!

Made this for my family and everyone loved it. I didn't feel like using corn on the cob so used frozen corn which worked just fine. Delicious and refreshing. Served with fresh fruit. It was gobbled up by all.

Excellent flavor. I used less rice and still thought it provided too much bland filler. I'll probably eliminate it entirely on the next go around. With sweet corn and peppers so delicious,abundant and cheap this time of year, why not ditch the rice entirely and savor the grilled vegs themselves? Still a great recipe to tweak.

This recipe is a keeper! The grilled vegetables were delicious (I expecially loved the flavor of the grilled corn!). I halved the recipe for my husband and I, and he is looking forward to finishing it for lunch tomorrow. This will be a dish we make often.

The grilled corn was delicious, but I was disappointed in the salad itself. Even with adding additional lime juice, the flavor was not what I anticpated when I read the other reviews. I used a different brand of chipolte peppers than I normally used so did not get much of the smokey flavor that I like - maybe that was part of the problem. I would still like to find a southwestern style salad--any suggestions. Also, this made way more than six serving, so you may wish to cut down on the recipe, especially the amount of rice.

Great recipe. I usually don't include the chicken, but rather add other vegetables such as asparagus, peppers etc. Comes out wonderfull. Lately I make it with Basmati Rice. It adds a nutty flavor to the disk

This is a great recipe. I roast the vegetables and use a whole roasted chicken from the grocery store to make it easier. Very good.

This was great. It has been added to our favorite recipes and we will make it again. I wouldn't change anything.

My husband and I liked this. I halved the recipe and we had more than enough for the two of us. It is quick and simple to make.

I made this exactly according to the recipe and it was very very good - it has just enough "warmth" to make it interesting, but not too spicy hot. I stuck the rice and the grilled vegetables and chicken in the refrigerator to cool off before slicing and this sped preparation considerably. I don't know why buying pre-roasted chicken would make it any faster, since it takes the same amount of time to grill the vegetables as it does to grill the chicken. Note: This makes a *lot* of salad, I had to use my largest mixing bowl to assemble it. It served four and more than half was left over, so next time I might halve the recipe or use less rice.

Excellent. I'm the leftovers cold for lunch today.

This recipe sounded so good except for one thing!I do not like rice, so I used pasta instead, (drained and rinsed well). I also decided to add a little bit more of the lime juice and I used 3 poblano chilies. WONDERFUL DISH!

I made this as a side-dish and it was a hit at the party. Tasty and flavourful. I will definitely make it again.

VERY good as written. Next time I'll add more lime juice and chipotles to the dressing. Will also include more poblano chilies and red bell peppers. I'll definitely repeat this recipe.

Made this dish last night for the first time and will definitely make again. Roasted the peppers whole, then peeled and cut into strips. Also, grilled the chicken breasts on the bone and left skin on while cooking, which made for moister meat. Garnished with sliced tomatoes and avocados. Very Good!

I made this recipe without the cilantro as I didn't have any on hand. Also I had to substitute lemon juice for the lime juice. My husband said it was "really good." We ate it as a main course, and found it delicious and filling.

Wonderful side salad for a Bar-B-Q or a main dish. It was a big hit at a party I had.

Excellent! Fresh, light and wonderful for a backyard barbecue with friends. Serve with a lime margharita (July 2001) and a lime mousse cheesecake (July 2000) for dessert.

Mexican-Inspired Desserts

Classic Mexican desserts like flan and quick and easy treats like Mexican brownies are a sweet way to finish your fiesta.

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

©Lisa Shin Photography, Inc.

Photo By: Lisa Shin ©Lisa Shin Photography, Inc.

Mexican Crullers (Churros)

Tres Leche Cake

Alton Brown's version of a three-milk cake (evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half) has received rave reviews for its moist cake and delicious whipped topping.

Tyler Florence keeps his Mexican flan recipe traditional and authentic, flavoring it with vanilla bean, cinnamon and lemon.

Tres Leches Cake

Marcela Valladolid's easy cake is super-moist thanks to sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream that soak through the cake overnight.

Aaron Sanchez's Mexican Brownies

Aaron's brownies get their kick from Mexican cinnamon and pequen chili powder. If you can't find pequen, just use cayenne pepper.

👩🏻&zwj🍳 Tamara Talks - About Mexican Food

Having spent all but 5 of my 57 years in border states, and currently living ON the border, Mexican culture has always been a part of my life. I would like to take a moment to dispel the notion that Mexican food is not healthy.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that much of my focus as a food blogger is on Mexican/Latin American flavors, and the cuisine is rich, varied, and can be very healthy. I feel the need to address a few raised eyebrows, too. I occasionally post recipes for cocktails, and I certainly enjoy them. 😀 "All things in moderation" is the motto at Andersen casa. We occasionally eat bacon and desserts too. 😉

In curating this collection, I went through 203 recipe links submitted by my food blogging colleagues. whew! I knew I needed to edit. I received dozens of amazing tacos recipes which I opted to save for another post, and opted to bring you recipes for a party menu - festive beverages, appetizers, mains, sides, and two frozen and fabulous desserts. It's time to get planning your Cinco de Mayo party!


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