Cowboy rice salad is a flavorful blend of summer vegetables like corn, tomatoes and avocados. Toss these with Tony Chachere's Creole chicken flavored rice, black beans, green onions, spices and a chimichurri sauce for an easy appetizer or side, ready in just over 30 minutes!
This post is sponsored by Tony Chachere’s, but all opinions are my own.
If you like the popular cowboy caviar, you’re going to love cowboy rice salad. Try it when you need a bbq side dish — it’s a bowl full of fresh bright flavors.
Nutrition - rice vs. pasta?
Rice isn’t something we typically use in a salad, but it’s a fun change from pasta. Did you know rice is lower in calories and carbohydrates than pasta? This salad has a similar texture to an orzo pasta salad.
We love the Cajun rice in this recipe. Its full flavor, with just a little kick, brings life to our cowboy rice salad. Just follow the directions on a box of Tony Chachere’s Creole Roasted Chicken Flavored Dinner Mix by adding butter and water, bringing it to a boil, then letting it simmer for 20 minutes in a covered pan.
Prepping fresh corn
Don’t you think fresh corn has the best taste? It’s a summer highlight! You can cut kernels right off the cob for this recipe, or use frozen corn if it’s out of season. Next come the cherry or grape tomatoes, green pepper, and red onions. Black beans add a protein boost to this already nutritious salad.
While the rice cooks, there’s time to prepare your other salad ingredients and make the Chimichurri sauce. We’re giving a little nod to Argentinean cowboys by adding this popular sauce to our salad. Add a drizzle of our homemade chimichurri sauce and you’ll have a flavor fiesta!
What is chimichurri?
Chimichurri was first mixed by Argentinean cowboys, called “gauchos,” who used it with meat they cooked over fires while out on the pampas (vast grasslands in central Argentina). It’s an herb based sauce known as a culinary specialty of that country. Argentineans spread generous spoonfuls of chimichurri over cooked meat. And although originally intended for meat, chimichurri also makes a delicious dressing for hearty salads.
Making chimichurri sauce
We slightly altered the traditional ingredients by adding cilantro, then subbing lime juice plus lemon zest instead of vinegar. We also used Tony Chachere’s original Creole seasoning in place of salt and red pepper. "Tony's" as we call it, just happens to be our family's favorite seasoning. We use it on almost everything!
This is such a simple recipe. Combine all ingredients into a blender jar or food processor. Process or pulse for a traditional roughly chopped mixture, or blend until smooth if you prefer.
Assembling the salad
To assemble the salad, mix together black beans, corn kernels, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, green onion and red onion in a large mixing bowl. When rice is cooled, add rice to salad ingredients. Next, pour Chimichurri sauce over salad and gently toss salad ingredients with sauce. It's good to chill the salad at least 20 minutes and up to one day (without avocado.) Add the avocado just before serving and toss very gently.
Salad presentation tips
Tip 1: This salad is beautiful served with individual ingredients lined up on a platter (see picture.) Drizzle with Chimichurri sauce in neat lines, and serve. Or, you can let guests add their own sauce.
Tip 2: We think tossing the salad and chimichurri together tastes best. We like to get that sauce on every little bite. However, the bright green sauce turns everything a greenish hue. To compensate, reserve a few salad ingredients before you toss the salad and dressing. Then scatter these ingredients a top the salad just before serving. This will give the salad a clean fresh look.
Cowboy rice salad is an easy side dish for a barbecue. It makes a great summer salad or summer appetizer too. We love the delicious flavor profile and crunch! We hope you will too.
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Cowboy Rice Salad
- 7- ounce package Tony Chachere’s Creole Roasted Chicken Flavored Dinner Mix Yields about 3 ½ cups rice when cooked
- 2½ cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 fresh corn cobs cooked, kernels sliced off
- 1 green pepper cubed
- 1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes quartered
- 3 green onions sliced (green part only)
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped or minced
- 1 avocado peeled and cubed (Note: reserve avocado to prep and add to salad just before serving)
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup parsley packed
- 1 cup cilantro packed
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
For Rice Salad
- Cook Tony Chachere’s Creole Roasted Chicken Flavored Dinner Mix (rice) according to package directions. You will need to add 2 Tablespoons butter and 2½ cups water.
- Place 2 corn cobs in a sauce pan and cover with water (do not add salt). Bring water to boil, then cover and turn down heat for 2 minutes. Drain water off corn. When corn is cool enough to handle, slice kernels off cobbs with a sharp knife.
- While the rice cooks, prepare other salad ingredients and Chimichurri sauce.
- n a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together black beans, corn kernels, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, green onion and red onion.
- When rice is cooled, add rice to salad ingredients.Pour Chimichurri sauce over salad and gently toss salad ingredients with sauce.
- Chill at least 20 minutes and up to one day (without avocado.) Add avocado just before serving and toss very gently.
- Combine all ingredients into a blender jar or food processor. Process or pulse for traditional rough chopped mixture. Blend longer for a smooth sauce.
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This recipe looks so yummmmmy and healthy! Can't wait to try it out! I love all the fresh veggies and perfect protein from rice and beans.
You got me hooked on creole seasoning years ago when you gifted me a container. I've been using it ever since. I just bought some Tony's Creole Seasoning last week (no joke!) to restock and I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. We LOVE salads all year long but especially in the summer! Hint - I take chicken breasts and cut them into bite size pieces, cook them in a non-stick pan and while it is cooking and browning I shake LOTS of creole seasoning over it. Enough that the chicken really looks orange. We like spicy and some kick. Cook it through and use it to make our family's favorite chicken salad. Be sure to scrape any extra drippings from the pan into the salad mix - you don't want to miss any of that yummy flavor...:)
Excellent summer salad with a delightful presentation. We’ll enjoy this tomorrow evening. Thanks for the detailed and friendly instructions.
Can’t wait to try this salad!
It looks beautiful! I can’t wait to try it this weekend. As usual, you always have a dish that will go well with what I planned.