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Black Bean, Corn, and Salsa Rice Salad

rice salad with black beans and corn in a black bento box

Black bean, corn, and salsa rice salad is one of my favorite vegan meal prep recipes because it’s so versatile and easy to make. It starts out with some familiar friends: black beans, brown rice, frozen corn, and store-bought salsa. And then it gets a burst of flavor from a handful green onions and fresh cilantro. I also sneak in some hidden goodness in the form of very finely chopped baby spinach. I put a a few handfuls in the food processor and pulse until it’s majorly shrunken down in size. Then I stir the spinach into the rice mixture and it’s practically undetectable…making this recipe perfect for anyone who wants to eat more greens but hates eating salad!

vegan work from home lunches

Another secret ingredient? Chipotle seasoned mixed nuts. Just finely chop and mix them through the salad for an added layer or flavor and a good source of both plant protein and healthy fats.

How to Serve: This Black Bean, Corn, and Salsa Rice Salad is delicious served warm or cold. It’s great on it’s own, as a side dish, or when used as the rice in a burrito or taco salad. In other words, it’s super versatile and meal prep friendly! I really think you are going to like this one!

vegan meal prep rice salad

INGREDIENTS

Black Beans help turn this simple recipe into a substantial meal. They’re packed with plant protein, fiber, and iron, and they add a nice heartiness to this dish. Sub kidney beans, pinto beans, or green or brown lentils if desired.

Corn is important in this recipe because the natural sweetness helps to balance the more savory flavors in this dish. And since the chopped tomatoes and salsa taste a bit acidic, it’s nice to round out that sharpness with a touch of sweetness. If you’re meal prepping this recipe, you can throw the frozen corn straight into the bowl without thawing and it will be ready to serve come lunchtime.

Fresh herbs like cilantro and green onions really make this salad sing! I think they’re key ingredients but if you don’t like cilantro, feel free to leave it out. And if you don’t have green onions, diced red onion works well instead.

Mixed Nuts: This recipe works well with both plain roasted nuts or a seasoned version like Chipotle. If you’re using plain roasted nuts you can add in 1/2 tsp of taco seasoning before pulsing in the food porcessor if desired, but I my favorite option is to use a chipotle or bbq seasoned snack mix because it adds so much flavor to this dish. I use the Choptole BBQ Paleo Snack Mix from Thrive Market for this and it’s delicious! 

rice salad ingredients
black bean, corn, and salsa rice salad recipe
rice salad with black beans and corn in a black bento box

Black Bean, Corn, and Salsa Rice Salad

Nicole Vranjican
Meal prep friendly Black Bean, Corn, and Salsa Rice Salad is a great WFH lunch option, side dish, or stuffing for homemade burritos! Flavored with fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, salsa, and cilantro, this recipe is super flavorful and delicious whether it's served warm or cold.
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Rice

  • 1 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/2 veggie stock cube (optional)

Add-Ins

  • 1 cup corn Frozen or canned
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped mixed nuts Plain, salted, or chiptole seasoned. See notes below
  • 3/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 3 pinches kosher salt
  • 5-6 grinds fresh black pepper

Instructions
 

Cook the Rice

  • Cook the rice according to the package directions. If desired, subsitute low sodium veggie broth instead of water while steaming or add 1/2 of a veggie stock cube to the water as the rice cooks.

Prep the Veggies

  • While the rice cooks, chop the tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro and set aside.
  • In a food processor – or you can do this by hand with a knife – finely chop the spinach until it resembles chopped parsely. Set that aside too and repeat this process with the mixed roasted nuts.
    Pulse until the nut mixture is finely chopped and resembles quinoa.

Mix

  • Allow the rice to cool slightly, then fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to combine.
    Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve

  • Serve warm or cold with some extra salsa, sliced avocado, and a dollop of vegan sour cream on top.
    This is also delicious as a side dish or to use as the rice in a burrito or taco salad. Enjoy!

Notes

Mixed Nuts: This recipe works well with both plain roasted nuts or a seasoned version like Chipotle. If you’re using plain roasted nuts you can add in 1/2 tsp of taco seasoning before pulsing in the food porcessor if desired, but I my favorite option is to use a chipotle or bbq seasoned snack mix because it adds so much flavor to this dish. I use the Choptole BBQ Paleo Snack Mix from Thrive Market for this and it’s delicious! 
 
If you’re mixing the salad while the rice is still a little warm, it will absorb more of the salsa so you may want to add some more to taste or serve with extra salsa on the side. Remember, you’ll want the rice to cool a bit before mixing in the remaining ingredients so that it doesn’t wilt the spinach or herbs too much. 
Keyword black bean and corn rice salad recipe, meal prep rice salad, rice salad recipe, vegan meal prep recipe, vegan rice salad
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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

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