Vegan Bean Salad – Southwest Style

Vegan Bean Salad – Southwest Style

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.

The vegan southwest bean salad layered with beans, corn and peppers in a glass bowl.

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.

A close up of the vegan bean salad with beans, corn, and peppers.

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.

Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

A bean and grain salad with beans, corn, bell peppers and covered in a southwest inspired dressing.

Course: lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: New Mexican
Keyword: rainbow salad, southewest salad, vegan bean salad
Servings: 12
Calories: 316 kcal
Author: Monica
  • 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)
For the dressing:
  • 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)
  1. Cook grain of choice and then let cool (or use any frozen or pre-cooked grain like quinoa, short grain brown rice, or barley). 

  2. 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)

  3. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together and then drizzle over the salad.

  4. Mix well.

  5. Serve or keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

Recipe Notes
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving (0.75 cup)
Calories 316 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 155mg 6%
Potassium 309mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 48g 16%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 1g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 15.8%
Vitamin C 32.6%
Calcium 2.8%
Iron 10.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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!

A bite of the finished vegan bean salad made with quinoa.

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!

Pin the vegan bean salad recipe for later:

Southwest Rainbow Salad is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and soy free – but most importantly delicious! A fun flavorful bean salad.

Want another great vegan bean salad that is perfect for meal prep?

Try this vegan chickpea salad with garlic vinaigrette!

This easy vegan chickpea salad with garlic vinaigrette is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free yet bursting with flavor. A satisfying protein packed side dish or meal that can be made ahead and be kept in the fridge ready to eat. Great for vegan potluck or picnics. Free of all major allergies, so everyone can enjoy!





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