Southwestern Bean and Rice Salad

Those of you who follow the facebook page for this site know that I scored five rotisserie chickens on sale this past week, although I was so embarrassed to be a nine-month pregnant woman pushing a shopping cart of five chickens that I made my husband do it and I walked a few steps behind. I'm not sure why I was worried the chickens would make people think I was weird but buying seven jumbo bags of Twizzlers for my husband a few days earlier didn't bother me. (My husband is in a Twizzler food rut. Have you ever had a family member do this? It's like the only thing he wants to eat is Twizzlers. And Fruity Pebbles.) 

I shredded all the chickens to freeze so that I could make easy meals like quesadillas and chicken salad when the baby comes. Yes, all of you experienced mothers are probably smiling and shaking your heads because in reality I bet that chicken will stay in the freezer while we eat cereal and frozen pizzas (and probably Twizzlers, too) as I trudge around like a zombie. Still, a girl can dream, and in my dreams I'm still showering and functioning like a regular person and my baby will sleep on a cloud with a halo around her head.

Not all the chicken ended up in the freezer, because I saved out a few cups of the shredded chicken to make this salad. Its one of my favorites and makes a large batch that keeps us eating it for days. It's also easy and fast to make, which doesn't hurt either. It has a mild Southwestern flavor from the cumin, chili powder and lime juice that goes well with just about any taco or burrito type meal. A lot of the time I just eat it on its own as a lunch or put it on some lettuce for a dinner salad. It's also a great potluck dish since it makes such a large batch and tastes great at room temperature. Just be prepared to share the recipe if you do bring it to a potluck because it's a definite crowd pleaser. 

Southwestern Bean and Rice Salad


  • 5 cups cooked rice, warm or at room temp
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 T packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 pickled jalapeno rounds (sold in glass jars near the taco sauce)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin


  1. Combined the rice, beans, chicken, corn and onions in a large bowl.
  2. In a blender, combined the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Prep Time: 10 min Serves: 8-10

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from melskitchencafe.com

18 Click For Comments:

This looks so yummy! Perfect side dish

This is a perfect salad side dish! Love the ingredients you used and your beautiful photos, Nicole! Thanks for sharing.

You should come hang out with me once Baby is born so that you can convince my baby (who will still have another 5 weeks in the womb) to come out with a similar halo and let mommy continue to live life as she always does (i.e. scouring the net looking for amazing foodie recipes like this!)

This is like a cold Spanish rice. Very well done!

I think freezing the chicken is great planning for when the baby comes. This is my third time having a baby and I can tell you from experience that having a well-stocked pantry and freezer is one of the best things you can do to prepare (oh, and buy lots and lots of diapers).

Since I started reading and cooking your blog recipes I have gained 5 pounds! You are good!
Have you ever done a blog entry about your photography? I would love to see how you do it, food setup, lighting and get the color perfect in the camera? I'm thinking window light? Really beautiful pictures! Magazine quality
Any tips?

Will do! Baby will be so well behaved that I'll be able to drive there with no problems. :)

Thank you for the compliments on food and photos. I've never done a photography entry because I still feel like a hack when I'm taking pictures. I should do a post so you can laugh because it's just my food sitting on a table with a big piece of white cardboard to bounce light back from the window. Not very professional at all. For me, a lot of what makes them go from "okay" to "better" is adjusting levels in a photography program. I do recommend the book, Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S Young. She also has a blog where she shows some of her behind the scenes of how she gets her pictures that is very helpful. I prefer her to some of the other food blog photography books because she's a professional photographer and I really like her style.

Yummy, this looks great. I had no idea that you were that far along...you're seriously about to give birth! Good luck with everything, but at least the chicken will make sure you don't go hungry :) And this salad looks awesome!

Sounds great! I think that is a really smart idea to shred the chicken! I bet you'll use it up... but fruity pebbles does sound pretty good...

mmmm...twizzlers :)  Oh and this looks great, too ;)

Haha, my food rut item is usually Kit-Kats.  Obsessed!  I love the combination of flavors in your salad, I'm always down for anything Mexican or southwest inspired :)

Love your posts!  They always  make me smile.  This recipe looks fantastic.  I cannot wait to try it out.

This looks super yummy! Heres praying that your baby and my future baby are the perfect little angels we dream about :)

I love your blog! I think the pictures are all fantastic! I love Twizzlers too! I look for any excuse to eat them! They are my food rut item, and my food love item:)!  Thanks for great posts!

Nicole this looks RIGHT up my alley. YUM!

Ok, funny story...a lady who follows my blog sent me a link to your cheesecake chocolate chip cookie bars and told me I had to make them. Of course I came to check them out and then started looking through your other recipes; the whole time thinking, "Man, they have some great recipes on here" (and bookmarking many along the way). Plus, your photography is fantastic. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I saw this salad! I love this salad...and because I was so impressed by your blog, I was incredibly flattered to know you liked this recipe and posted it! Anyway, basically I'm saying you both are lovely and funny and I think your blog is great and I'm glad I found you and wonder why it's taken this long. That's all. :)

 No, I'm the one who is flattered. Yours is one of my favorite blogs and I'm often directing friends and family members there. I've always loved that your recipes are realistic to make for a family, but delicious and from scratch. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you can find some recipes you will enjoy as much as I've enjoyed yours. Also, congratulations on your little baby girl!

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