This refreshing Cold Mexican Rice Salad combines zesty lime juice, aromatic spices, and fresh vegetables and rice to create a delicious dish that's perfect for any occasion. Best of all, it's a breeze to prepare, making it an ideal choice for lunch, meal prep, or potluck gatherings.
In just a few simple steps, you can create a mouthwatering Cold Mexican Rice Salad that is packed with refreshing flavors. Whether served as an easy side dish or a light meal, this salad is guaranteed to impress your family and friends.
This salad is also a great way to use your leftover rice, Just by adding fresh veggies, a dressing, and some protein you end up with the perfect full meal on a hot summer day
Fresh Lime Juice: Made from freshly squeezed limes, this tangy and citrusy juice adds a burst of refreshing flavor to the salad.
Olive Oil: It adds a smooth and mild richness to the salad while helping to bind the flavors together.
Salsa: The salsa brings a delightful combination of flavors, including tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices. It adds a vibrant and slightly spicy kick, infusing the salad with a Mexican-inspired taste.
Ground Cumin: Cumin is a warm and aromatic spice commonly used in Mexican cuisine. Its earthy and slightly smoky flavor adds depth and complexity to the salad.
Cooked Rice: Whether you choose white or brown rice, it serves as the base of the salad, providing a hearty and filling component. White rice offers a lighter texture, while brown rice adds a nutty and chewy element.
Sweet Corn Kernels: Sweet and juicy corn kernels add a pleasant crunch and a touch of natural sweetness to the salad. They contribute a vibrant pop of color and a burst of freshness.
Red kidney Beans: These protein-packed legumes are a staple in Mexican cuisine. They add a creamy and hearty texture to the salad, complementing the other ingredients. Make sure to drain and rinse them to remove excess sodium.
Cherry Tomatoes: Small and juicy cherry tomatoes provide bursts of sweetness and a juicy texture to the salad. They add a pop of vibrant color and contribute to the overall freshness.
Spring Onions: With their mild onion flavor, green onions add a subtle sharpness and a fresh bite to the salad.
Fresh Cilantro: This herb is widely used in Mexican cuisine. It has a distinctly citrusy and herbal flavor that adds brightness and freshness to the salad.
- chili powder
- lime zest
- garlic cloves
- queso fresco
- fresh herbs ( like parsley, oregano)
How to make the Cold Mexican Rice Salad - Step by Step
In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, olive oil, salsa, powdered cumin, and salt. This tangy dressing will infuse the salad with a burst of Mexican flavors. You can also use the food processor if you want a smooth texture.
In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked rice, corn kernels, red beans, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions, and chopped fresh cilantro. Gently toss the ingredients together to distribute the flavors evenly.
Pour the prepared dressing over the rice and vegetable mixture. Toss again to ensure all the ingredients are well coated with the zesty dressing.
Once the salad is thoroughly combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Chilling the salad allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste.
Before serving, give the salad a final toss to redistribute the dressing. This ensures each bite is bursting with the vibrant flavors of Mexico.
Transfer the Cold Easy Mexican Cowboy Rice Salad to a serving dish, garnish with a sprig of fresh coriander if desired, and enjoy!
To save time, cook the rice in advance and let it cool completely before preparing the salad. This ensures that the rice retains its texture and doesn't become mushy when combined with the other ingredients. You can also rinse it under cold water after you cook it if you are in a hurry.
For the best flavor, squeeze fresh limes to extract the juice. Bottled lime juice may not provide the same vibrant taste.
Refrigerating this cold Mexican rice salad for at least 1 hour allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the taste. However, if you're short on time, you can serve it immediately, although the flavors may not have fully developed.
Double the recipe for a crowd: If you're serving a larger gathering, feel free to double or triple the recipe accordingly. The salad is a great option for potlucks, picnics, or summer barbecues.
Add diced avocado or sliced black olives for extra creaminess and richness.
For a spicy kick, incorporate diced jalapeño peppers or a pinch of cayenne pepper into the dressing.
Include grilled chicken or shrimp to transform this salad into a heartier main dish.
Place any leftovers or unused portions of the salad in an airtight container. The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Avoid freezing: Due to the fresh ingredients and dressing, freezing the salad is not recommended. Freezing can cause the vegetables to become mushy and affect the overall texture and taste.
Mixing before serving: Before serving any refrigerated leftovers, give the salad a good toss to redistribute the dressing and ensure all the flavors are well combined.
Individual portions: If you plan to store the salad for meal prepping, divide it into individual portions in separate containers. This makes it easier to grab and go.
Yes, you can use either white or brown rice for the Cold Easy Mexican Rice Salad. Choose the type that you prefer or have on hand. Both options work well and provide different textures and flavors.
Yes, you can make the salad ahead of time. In fact, allowing the salad to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour enhances the flavors. You can even prepare it a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference. The recipe includes salsa, but the amount can be modified to make the salad milder or spicier. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of salsa or choose a mild variety. For a spicier kick, increase the amount of salsa or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Yes, you can add grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, or even canned tuna to the salad to make it a complete meal. These additions provide extra protein and make the salad more filling and satisfying.
Cold Mexican Rice Salad
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice or lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 cups cooked white rice old or at room temperature
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels
- 1 can (17oz) red kidney bean drained and rinsed black beans and pinto beans will also work
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 yellow bell pepper orange or red
- 3 spirng onions thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, olive oil, salsa, powdered cumin, and salt. This tangy dressing will infuse the salad with a burst of Mexican flavors. You can also use the food processor if you want a smooth texture.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked rice, corn kernels, red beans, cherry tomatoes,bell pepper, green onions, and chopped fresh cilantro. Gently toss the ingredients together to distribute the flavors evenly.
- Pour the prepared dressing over the rice and vegetable mixture. Toss again to ensure all the ingredients are well coated with the zesty dressing.
- Once the salad is thoroughly combined, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Chilling the salad allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the overall taste.
- Before serving, give the salad a final toss to redistribute the dressing. This ensures each bite is bursting with the vibrant flavors of Mexico.
- Transfer the Cold Easy Mexican Cowboy Rice Salad to a serving dish, garnish with a sprig of fresh coriander if desired, and enjoy!