Make Ahead

Spicy “Rice” and Bean Salad

September 27, 2016
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 4 lunches
Author Notes

You could say guacamole is like mashed up avocado salad, but that doesn’t make it a legitimate lunch. So here’s the next best thing, which won’t leave you snacky at 3 PM and can keep in the fridge for up to a few days. This spoonable (or chippable) salad gets its kick from a trick we learned from Roberto Santibañez’ genius guacamole: You mash jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and salt into a paste that then coats all the other ingredient chunks. Here, that’s two kinds of legumes and cheddar cheese (here, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese), which means lots of protein. Then for crunch, there’s raw cauliflower that’s turned into confetti (or “rice,” as it’s better known) after some time in the food processor. If you’ve made the salad in advance (which is recommended here), revive it with a little more lime, olive oil, and salt before eating. Oh sure, add avocado, too—why not? —Ali Slagle

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini, pinto, or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • half a medium jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, cut into itty bitty cubes
  • 1 lime, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water with the lentils to a boil, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, break the cauliflower up into florets. Place them in a food processor and process until the cauliflower resembles rice (for those who want to buy the cauliflower already riced, you’ll need about 3 cups). Dump into a large mixing bowl along with the beans.
  3. Now make the paste: On a cutting board, mince and mash the red onion, jalapeño, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, and ½ teaspoon salt; smash into a paste with the side of your chef’s knife.
  4. Once cool, dump the lentils into the mixing bowl, along with the cheese and the paste. Squeeze the lime over, drizzle with oil, and stir. Taste and adjust lime, oil, salt, and pepper as needed. Add the remaining 1/4 cilantro, cube the avocado and throw it in, give one more stir, then eat!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • frecklywench
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Ali Slagle
    Ali Slagle
  • amanda

6 Reviews

frecklywench March 7, 2017
This was great! I loved the lentil/black bean combo and the tiny cubes of cheese—I also added some corn, which was a nice pop of color!
amanda December 18, 2016
I had very bad luck with this. The onion, cilantro and jalapeño combo tasted terribly bitter to me. Did I just get a bad proper or onion in there, I wonder? it was an inedibly bitter tasting paste mix. Very sad!
JoAnne L. December 17, 2016
Minus the cheese, this is a good healthy Vegan lunch. Add some brown rice and it's dinner with the perfect protein combo of brown rice and black beans, the lentils are an extra protein boost!
vrinda December 14, 2016
What's green lentil ? French lentil ?
or brown lentil ?
Ali S. December 14, 2016
French is good!
Taylor S. December 5, 2016
Easy and totally satisfying for a work lunch. I can see this adapting well to many flavor profiles - mediterranean, italian, asian, etc. by just changing up the legume/cheese/seasonings.