Whip up this easy brown rice and bean salad for your Cinco de Mayo feast, or serve it as a vegetarian entree (vegan and gluten-free, too) any night of the week. Thanks to Cholula Hot Sauce for helping me to share this recipe with you.
Four a.m. in the middle of a hotel hallway hardly seemed the time and place for a conversation about treasured family recipes, but the alternative was to release my ugly inner dragon lady.
The night started at 10 p.m. and it did not start well. While I was bound and determined to soak up every minute of sleep, my twenty-something neighbors next door and across the hall at the Springhill Suites in Temecula, California had other ideas. They headed out to hit the bars, as they loudly discussed in the hallway between beer-guzzling contests.
Sure enough, at 2 a.m. I sat bolt upright in bed, awakened by music set to volume 10.
By 4 a.m., all hell broke loose. I opened my door to find four guys wrestling in the hallway, their tattoed bare-chested bodies flying over each other and against the walls.
They responded surprisingly quickly to my practiced “mum glare”, picking themselves up and skulking into their rooms.
Half an hour later, loud pounding set me stomping to the hallway once again. I opened the door to find a young, shirtless Latino guy pounding on the door next to mine.
“Dude, what are you doing?”
“They won’t let me in.”
“Okay, but this has been going on all night,” I pointed out.
He looked at the ground, then up at me sheepishly.
“Well, while I have you here and you’re stuck in the hallway for awhile, let me ask you a question.”
He looked at me apprehensively, clearly waiting for a reprimand from the crazy-haired, bleary-eyed woman next door.
“What’s your favorite food…your favorite thing that your mum makes for you?”
He looked at me in surprise.
“Um…well, I don’t know.”
And then his face lit up.
“My mum’s rice and beans. They’re really good. She makes them spicy and puts avocado on top.”
I smiled at him. “Thank you. Have a good night.”
I may have been sleepless in Temecula, but the night wasn’t a total loss.
And so this rice and bean salad was born.
Brown rice and red bell pepper give this salad a dose of fiber and vitamins, but it’s the creamy avocado and citrus hot sauce dressing that steal the show.
The dressing takes about two minutes to pull off. Just whisk together lime juice, garlic, olive oil and a good dose of hot sauce.
The hot sauce that we keep in our pantry is Cholula original hot sauce, which is what I used in the dressing (you know, the hot sauce with that iconic photo on the label). I recently discovered Cholula’s other flavors and am dreaming up ways to add them to our Cinco de Mayo meal (or any other meal, for that matter). The other flavors include Chipotle, Chili Lime and Chili Garlic, and I’m convinced that I need to have one of each on hand at all times. They sound like a Cinco de Mayo lover’s dream come true!
What I love about the Cholula hot sauces is that they have amazing flavor, thanks to the blend of peppers and seasonings used to make it, without blowing up my mouth. There’s nothing worse than losing the ability to taste your meal because your taste buds have been burned to a crisp. The hot sauces are made in Chapala, Mexico and have been in existence for at least three generations. And if you follow a gluten-free diet, I have goodness…Cholula is gluten-free.
This salad makes a fantastic side dish, but would work just as well as a vegetarian (vegan and gluten-free, too) entree.
As I served this salad for dinner, on a bed of spinach and topped with chopped chicken, I wondered what my hotel hallway buddy would think. Maybe it would be good enough to bribe him and his friends to keep quiet for the night.
I’ll never know, but I am begrudgingly grateful to him for inspiring this recipe that my family will love for years to come.
Other recipes for Cinco de Mayo:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Tequila-Spiked Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado
Cookin’ Canuck’s Kicked-Up Avocado Margarita for Cinco de Mayo
Gimme Some Oven’s Steak Poblano & Mushroom Tacos
Skinnytaste’s Salsa Verde Chicken Tostadas
Climbing Grier Mountain’s Tres Leches French Toast with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 ½ tsp Cholula classic hot sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 ¼ tsp honey or agave nectar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 (14 oz.) can low-sodium black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 avocado, chopped
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, hot sauce, garlic, honey or agave nectar and salt. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
- In a large bowl, stir together the brown rice, black beans, red bell pepper, avocado and cilantro. Pour the dressing over top and stir to combine. Serve.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cholula Hot Sauce. We have been fans of their products for years and all opinions are my own.