Take a trip out to the wild west with this SouthWestern COWBOY RICE SALAD! Based on the famous Cowboy Caviar, this brown rice salad is filled with bright, zesty flavours, plenty of juicy veggies, nutty brown rice and drizzled with a fabulous SouthWestern lime dressing!
Hands up everyone who over indulged over Easter! Yes, my hand is raised high – no surprises there. ? It wasn’t even so much chocolate as it was everything else. I’m a savoury gal all the way, though my problem is that even if I don’t crave homemade baked goods, if it is within sight / smelling distance, I drift towards it like on autopilot.
Oh, that happens to you too? ? Funny that!
SO! After a long weekend of Easter feasting, I thought it suitable to share something that’s a little cleansing for the soul!
Enter – this COWBOY RICE SALAD.
The words “rice” and “salad” do not come naturally for people of Asian background. Rice is to Asians what bread is to Western countries. Growing up, we rarely had bread. In fact, when I visit relatives in Japan, the only reason they would buy bread is for us, thinking that we’ve been so westernised that we must have our bread fix, that rice is not enough!
For clarity, that’s not true. But I always find it funny that they purchase bread just for us!
So rice as a salad? Hmm. I don’t think that even exists in Japan. And I can’t think of a single rice salad from any Asian country – anyone care to enlighten me???
This is the first rice salad I’ve shared here on RecipeTin Eats. So I wanted to start off with a bang – and this Cowboy Rice Salad is a ripper! It’s a rice salad version of Cowboy Caviar, a Midwestern salsa/salad made famous by my friend Meggan from Culinary Hill ( <— bookmark for all things Midwestern!!). Made with tomatoes, capsicum / bell peppers, red onion, corn, beans and coriander/cilantro, Cowboy Caviar is dressed with a fairly sweet vinaigrette then served as a salad or salsa for scooping up with corn chips.
And you know what? The very first thought that popped into my head when I made it was that it would be purrrrrfect to adapt to a rice salad. And it is!
While the salad ingredients are largely the same – except, of course, the addition of rice (*head smack!*) – I opted for a lime dressing which is a bit lighter and has that citrus zing to it.
And I add a touch of spices to the dressing to really drive home that SouthWestern flavour. And to give myself the best possible Cowgirl experience. ??? Because we can all dream. ?Of living in the wild, wild west? – Nagi xx
PS I like making this with brown rice because I think the slight nutty flavour is fabulous for salads. But this works just as well with white rice.
A Southwestern rice salad filled with bright zesty flavours and tossed with a lime dressing. Made with brown rice for extra flavour, and a hint of spice flavour in the dressing to drive home the SouthWestern flavours! Serves 8 - 10 as a side, 4 - 6 as a main. Recipe video below!
- 1 ½ cups brown rice (Note 1)
- 2 ¾ cups water
- 1/3 cup lime juice, plus more to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- ½ tsp chipotle powder (sub with smoked paprika + cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Black Pepper
- 1 red capsicum/bell pepper, diced
- 1 green capsicum/bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 x 400g / 14 oz corn kernels, drained
- 1 x 400g / 14 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tomatoes, watery seeds removed then diced
- 1 cup coriander/cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (Note 2)
Place rice and water into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Place lid on. When water starts simmering, turn down to low and simmer for 15 minutes until water has evaporated and rice is firm / tender cooked. Remove saucepan (lid on) from stove, stand for 10 minutes, fluff with fork. Cool to room temperature (transfer to large bowl and refrigerate to speed up process).
Place Dressing ingredients in a jar, shake. Taste test, adjust to your taste.
Place Salad ingredients and rice in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Toss, then serve. Fantastic served straight away and even the next day!
1. I like making this with brown rice because I like the slight nutty flavour, I think it adds more interest to the salad. However, it's super terrific made with white rice too. If using white rice (normal, not jasmine/basmati or other fragrant white rice), it's best to use long grain rice. Next best is medium grain. Short grain and sushi rice will be a too sticky for this rice salad, in my opinion.
If using WHITE RICE, use 2 1/4 cups of water for 1 1/2 cups of uncooked white rice. While many BROWN RICE packets say to use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice, I find that it doesn't apply when scaling up. So for me, I use less than double - so for 1 1/2 cups of rice, I use 2 3/4 cups of water instead of 3 cups.
2. Coriander/cilantro is a pretty staple herb for a Southwestern salad! However, if you do not like / have it but are busting to make this salad (I don't blame you), I think the best sub is either 1 1/2 cups of finely sliced shallots / scallions or 3/4 cup finely chopped chives. Different flavour, but still a nice burst of freshness to replace the coriander. Parsley will also be a suitable substitute (3/4 cup chopped) however I don't think it adds flavour as much as the other subs I suggested.
3. Storage: Keeps for 3 days in the fridge.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Cowboy Rice Salad recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
Look who the Easter Bunny remembered to visit…. Don’t worry! They’re dog friendly Easter eggs, they aren’t made of chocolate!!