Confetti Rice and Bean Salad

The other day I dropped by my neighbor’s house to deliver a little cake I had made for their one-year old’s birthday and while I was there I observed Mike making a delectable concoction for their family party. Being the recipe-snatcher that I am, I sneakily snagged the recipe and proceeded to make it the next day. And twice more in the next two weeks – it is that good!

In case you need a last minute side dish for say, a Labor Day BBQ or something of the like, look no further. Not only is this chilled rice and bean salad packed with healthful legumes, rice and veggies, but the slightly sweet and smoky dressing is the perfect compliment to the diverse ingredients.

Quite similar to this divine salad, this current Confetti Rice and Bean Salad is slightly tangier with a few added boosts, like red pepper and cilantro, and a slightly different dressing base. Make it. It’s really yummy. Yummy enough for a BBQ. Yummy enough for a simple weeknight dinner. And definitely yummy enough to smother in melted cheese and scoop up with tortilla chips. Er…did I just admit that may or may not have been the fate of the leftovers???

Confetti Rice and Bean Salad

One Year Ago: Lasagna Primavera
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Three Years Ago: Creamy White Chili

Confetti Rice and Bean Salad

Yield: Serves 6

Confetti Rice and Bean Salad

Note: I used a wild rice/brown rice blend for my salad, but Basmati rice is delicious, also. Whatever rice you decide to use, cook it according to package directions and use it in the recipe – you should be good to go!


  • 3 cups cooked rice, cooled to room temperature (see note)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (or same amount fresh corn kernels)
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients and toss.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss to coat. Chill the salad for at least 2 hours before serving to let the flavors blend.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Dawn P., mother to my neighbor with the amazing garden

37 Responses to Confetti Rice and Bean Salad

  1. Erin says:

    I really love this stuff! We’ve made it dozens of times so I thought I should leave a comment. The flavors are delicious!!

  2. Kmduff says:

    I make a version of this but use half barley and half rice. Its one of our favorites.

  3. Baylie says:

    I just made this and I CANNOT stop eating it… it’s sooo good! The only thing i did different was put a vegetable bouillon in the rice while cooking it, and left out the kidney beans and used 2 cans of black beans instead (because they’re my favourite). I will definitely make this again!

  4. Valerie says:

    How far ahead could this be made and how long is it good for?

    • Mel says:

      I’ve made it a day in advance – it helps to reserve a little dressing and stir it in before serving as it can dry out a little in the fridge.

  5. Nicole says:

    I made this last night to go with the honey lime enchiladas. I didn’t eat any myself since I hate onions. My husband & 16 year old son went nuts! Hubs said it is the best dish I’ve ever made, the manchild was gushing as well. I didn’t have olive oil, so I used vegetable oil instead. I didn’t have 2 hours for it to set up, but I bet today they will love it even more. Thank you for the wonderful recipes!!

  6. Jennifer says:

    I’ve made this several times and it has always been at a hit! The flavors are just perfect together. My mom even wanted me to bring it to Thanksgiving lunch this year! We eat fried shrimp when my family gets together for the holidays instead of turkey, because we love fried shrimp more than turkey and so it was a perfect side dish for it!

  7. H says:

    Wonderful, and even better as leftovers with all that extra time for the other flavours to develop with the cumin. I used a mix of basmati and cauliflower rice, left out the black beans as there were none, and added juice of half a lemon at the end.

  8. J says:

    I’ve made this a few times and really enjoy it. Made it recently for a Cinco de Mayo party. Added a chopped and seeded jalapeno because I like a little heat, and served it in lettuce cups with some avocado cream on the side. It was delicious!

  9. Katrina says:

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! I make this often and the hubby loves it! I added it on my blog too—

  10. Susie says:

    I tried this last night. It’s pretty good. I used half brown rice/half white and felt that the rice really took away from the flavor and made it kind of bland. Without the nutritional value of brown rice (or I see some did quinoa), it’s worth just leaving the rice out and making less dressing. I did like it a lot with the cheese/tortilla chip suggestion, though!

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Beth says:

    Finally printing this one off for the binder after having made it 3 times in the last 2 months. Love the taste, love that it’s healthy, love that it can be done ahead of time, love that it’s great for hot summer days. LOVE IT! I didn’t know I was a rice salad person until I found this one.

  12. Summer Eats | All In Stride | Blogging and running my way through life. says:

    […] This pretty picture isn’t mine – it comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  13. My family has tried this a few times now and love it every single time! Added a link to this recipe on my blog! Thanks for this great tasting meal option!

  14. Ashley says:

    I made this yesterday for Mother’s Day and it was a hit with everyone! Great flavors and very easy to put together. The thing that took the longest was making my basmatic rice and then waiting for it to cool. I did make it the night before and let it sit covered in the refrigerator and I would definitely do that again as I think it gives the flavors time to blend. Thanks for a great recipe – this will be great for one of our Summer barbecues!

  15. Katie says:

    I made this with quinoa instead of rice. I also omited the green onion and used tomatoes instead of red pepper for personal preference. It was so incredibly good. I had to use all my self restraint to not eat the whole bowl in one sitting. The next day, I ate the leftovers scooped on tortilla chips. All my self restraint left. I ate all the leftovers and was so sad there wasn’t any more. This salad rocks.

  16. Baltic Maid says:

    This was a very tasty and beautiful salad. Who Knew confetti would taste so great ;-P

  17. caitlyn says:

    I just made this today for a potluck, and it was fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

  18. Andrea says:

    I just made this for a party and it was a complete hit! Thanks so much for sharing such a delicious recipe!

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  20. Sherri says:

    I made this for a side dish to go with my steaks that had been in a pineapple and teriyaki marinade. The flavor of both dishes went so well together. I want to thank you for such a hit. My family loved it.

  21. Christina says:

    I just made this and couldn’t believe how much flavor it had! So yummy!! I can imagine this will be a recipe that would be good again and again!
    Thanks for all the great recipes!

  22. Angela says:

    We did quinoa too. Waiting for the chill to complete…but snuck some bites and it’s another winner, Mel! You sure make a mean salad. Together with your other quinoa + black bean salads, I doubt I’ll ever show up to a party with lettuce again!

  23. Deb says:

    Made this last night with fajitas and it was sublime. Amazing flavor. I used brown basmati rice and think that was perfect. Leftovers will make awesome lunch with some of the fajita chicken 🙂

  24. Haley says:

    Loved this! I also made the quinoa substitution.

  25. Danielle says:

    This is a great salad, and so pretty too! My kids also enjoyed taking it for lunch. Thanks!

  26. Linda says:

    I made this last week and substituted Quinoa for the rice. I was going to enjoy it for a few days for lunch because my husband doesn’t like healthly stuff but he devoured this and left little for me.

  27. Naomi says:

    I made this salad last night and I am already looking forward to having it for lunch today! It seems like you could add almost anything to it too. Thanks Mel!

  28. AnnetteBrunette says:

    Mel, you did it again! This is currently chilling in my fridge waiting to be eaten by me and a friend and the kids at lunch, but I can’t stop sneaking the odd spoonful here and there. YUM!

  29. What a simple, unique side dish! Yum, love all these flavors and textures!

  30. Barbara says:

    So I am interested in the details of how you use the salad the second day! Did you microwave it to melt the cheese or did you heat all of it in the oven?

  31. VanessaG says:

    YUMMY!!! I gotta make this. 🙂

  32. Jody says:

    This looks incredible! I am going to make this Friday and I can hardly wait. Thank you so much for sharing!

  33. Susan says:

    Perfect! Just threw this together and popped it in the fridge for our Labor Day lunch. It already tasted flavorful and looked pretty.

  34. Kim in MD says:

    Oh my gosh, Mel- this looks to die for! My October party theme is going to be Mexican/Southwest. This will definately be on the menu! Happy Labor Day! 🙂

  35. StephenC says:

    This is beautiful. I think it could satisfy me as a vegetarian main dish. I not a vegetarian but every now and then enjoy a non-meat meal.

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