Bright, zesty, and full of flavour, this Cowboy Rice Salad will transport you to the wild, wild west!
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4.95 from 20 votes

Cowboy Rice Salad

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!
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Western
Servings: 8
Author: Nagi


  • 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.
4. This rice salad is my rice salad version of this famous Cowboy Caviar by Culinary Hill!