This vegan bean salad is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free – but most important, it’s delicious! It’s a dish that you can put your own twist on and make your own. You can layer it and make it fancy, or just dump everything into a bowl and mix it up.
How do I get my kids to eat this healthy vegan bean salad?
I started calling this rainbow salad and it got my kids more excited about eating it. The name is definitely more enticing than “big bowl of beans and vegetables!” Who doesn’t like rainbows?
Does this vegan bean salad work well for meal prep?
Yes, it’s the perfect make ahead meal! I started making this years ago when I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My husband and I loved the southwestern flavors and needed a meal that we could easily pack for our lunches. When my husband was in his 20s, there was no filling him up – the amount that he could eat was seriously crazy!
He wanted something with complex carbohydrates, proteins and a little fat that he could grab as a snack or pack in his lunch. I came up with this salad and I would make a huge bowl of it every Sunday to get us through the first half of the week.
What grain should I add to the salad?
Short grain brown rice or quinoa are usually my grains of choice, but you can use any cooked grain that will hold together in the salad. (Barley works great too for those who don’t have to be gluten free). You can also make it easier on yourself and buy the precooked rice or quinoa. It is sold vacuum sealed or frozen depending on the store where you shop.
A bean and grain salad with beans, corn, bell peppers and covered in a southwest inspired dressing.
- 3-4 cups cooked grain of choice– short grain brown rice quinoa, or barley
- 1 can black bean drained, and rinsed
- 1 can kidney beans drained, and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cup corn (frozen)
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 2 green onion stalks chopped
- 1 avacado diced (optional)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 ½ tsp chili powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp. ground cumin
- Red pepper flakes optional
- 1/4 cup cilantro (optional)
Cook grain of choice and then let cool (or use any frozen or pre-cooked grain like quinoa, short grain brown rice, or barley).
Put the grain of choice, beans, and vegetables into a bowl and mix. (If using an avocado, add it at the end so it doesn't get smashed)
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together and then drizzle over the salad.
Serve or keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
- This makes a large batch. It is great to keep in the fridge for quick meal and snacks.
- Works great for meal prep. Make ahead and then use for lunches for up to 4 days if kept in the fridge.
- You may freeze portions that you don't use.
- You can use left over grains or buy pre-cooked grains to save time.
- If cooking grains for this recipe, allow them to cool before adding to the salad.
Why does this recipe make so much?
Since I like to make a huge bowl of this and use it for lunches or snacks for days, this recipe makes a lot of food! Feel free to cut it in half if it will be too much for you!
Will non-vegan still like this bean salad?
Southwest Rainbow Salad works great for a side dish or to bring to pot lucks. Everyone that I have shared this recipe with loves it and have told me years later that it is still a staple in their house! Please, make it your own by putting in things that you love like avocado, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, some red onion. That is part of what makes this salad fun!
Let me know your favorite things to add to this salad!
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