Easy Southwest Rice Salad {aka Cowboy Rice Salad}

Need a vibrant, delicious dish that’s a breeze to make and perfect for hot summer days? I have just the recipe for you. Packed with fresh veggies and full of robust flavor, this refreshing summer rice salad won’t let you down.

blue serving bowl of rice salad with veggies.

Southwest Rice Salad

Bright fresh veggies, a super simple dressing, and the perfect blend of rice make this a summer side dish you'll turn to over and over.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serving Size 8 servings


  • cups Royal Blend Rice Texmati Rice Blend, uncooked see notes for substitution
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • pinch cayenne
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups pico de gallo
  • cups corn canned or frozen are both fine


  • Cook the rice. Cook the rice using your preferred method. When finished, remove it immediately and put it into a large mixing bowl so it can begin to cool. It doesn't need to be cool before adding the other ingredients, but you don't want it piping hot.
  • Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Pour over the rice.
  • Add the veggies. Add the remaining ingredients. You will want to save the cilantro for just before serving if you're making this more than 4 hours ahead.
  • Chill and serve. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool. Serve cold or at room temerature.


If you can’t find the rice blend I recommend, use 1 cup long-grain white rice and 1/2 cup wild rice.  Or honestly any blend of your favorites will work fine.
Add cooked chopped chicken or shrimp for a complete meal. 
Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 351IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
serving spoon scooping out rice salad.

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Vibrantly Fresh: Full of colorful vegetables and herbs, it’s sure to liven up any meal.
  • Incredibly Easy: With a total time of just 30 minutes, this dish is as easy as it gets.
  • Versatile: Serve it as a side, or add in some cooked chicken or shrimp to make it a meal. You can even switch up the veggies based on what’s in season.
  • Packed with Flavor: The combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors is simply irresistible.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on marble counter.

You’ll need the following for this easy summer side dish:

  • Royal Blend Rice Texmati Rice Blend (uncooked)
  • Olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Cilantro
  • Green bell pepper
  • Black beans
  • Pico de gallo
  • Corn


Step One: make the dressing

making oil and vinegar dressing and pouring over rice.

The Rice: Begin by cooking the rice using your preferred method. Don’t worry about it cooling down entirely, just make sure it’s not scorching hot when you add in other ingredients.

The Dressing: Grab a small bowl and whisk together your olive oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Drizzle this delightful concoction over your cooked rice and let the flavors seep in.

Step Two

mixing bowl with veggies added to rice, stirring.

Add the Crunch: It’s time to add in your diced green bell pepper, rinsed black beans, pico de gallo, and corn. Remember to toss in the cilantro right before serving, especially if you’re preparing this dish in advance.

🥫 Storage instructions

This rice salad stores beautifully in the fridge. Just keep it in an airtight container, and it should stay fresh for up to four days. Unfortunately, this dish doesn’t freeze well due to the fresh veggies

🔍 FAQs

Can I substitute the rice blend?

Absolutely! If you can’t find the recommended rice blend, go for a mix of long-grain white rice and wild rice, or just use your favorite blend.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Don’t overcook the rice. You want it to be fluffy and separate, not mushy.
  • If you’re making this salad in advance, add the cilantro just before serving to keep it vibrant and fresh.
  • Feel free to experiment with other vegetables based on what’s in season.

📘 more summer salad Recipes

  • Old Fashioned Cucumber and Onions in Vinegar
  • Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Tomatoes
  • Amish Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
  • Red Hot and Blue Copycat Potato Salad

🍽 Serve it with

finished southwestern rice salad.
Easy Southwest Rice Salad {aka Cowboy Rice Salad}

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