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Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad

Recipe for Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad is one of my all-time favorites.

This recipe is one I created about 15 years ago when my friends Jeanne Zeigler and Kip Greene got married. In those days I called it Jeanne’s Wedding Salad and it was a big hit with clients at Lake Powell, back when I was catering houseboat trips. This isn’t a quick recipe, but it’s ultra delicious, and I still have friends who request it for parties. Now that I’m eating the South Beach Diet way, I made the salad lower on the glycemic index by adding a bit more veggies and using Uncle Ben’s Converted rice, which is the lowest glycemic index type of white rice. For the special occasion we’re celebrating, I’m renaming it My Favorite Herb Salad.

It was in December of 2005 that I officially declared cilantro as my very favorite herb. That was Weekend Herb Blogging #9, and now, forty-three more weekends have gone by and cilantro is still my favorite. Even though cilantro is undoubtedly the most controversial herb, I’ve loved it since the first time I tried it. Wikipedia claims the way the taste of cilantro is perceived and the resulting love or hate relationship people have with the herb may be due to genetics. If so, I have the cilantro gene.

In fact I can only think of two bad things about cilantro. (1) I can’t seem to grow it at all in my garden, which means I don’t get to use it as often as other herbs . (2) It doesn’t keep well in the refrigerator. Both of those are obstacles to cilantro consumption which can be easily overcome, as I’ve proven with a lot of cilantro-loving recipes. You can see some of my favorites in a minute, but for the one year anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging, it seemed like a new recipe was in order.

My Favorite Herb Salad or Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad
(8-10 servings, recipe created by Kalyn, for South Beach Diet this would be phase two for a small serving or phase three if it was the main part of the meal)

2 cups Uncle Ben’s Converted rice (for South Beach diet) or Basmati Rice
1 T fresh lemon juice
4 C chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well (or use 2 cups cooked beans)
2 red peppers, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 green pepper, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
(use any combination of colors)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
1 cup (or more!) finely chopped cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T ground cumin
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Spike seasoning
1 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

Put canned beans in a colander and rinse well until no foam remains. Let beans drain while you cook the rice, chop ingredients and prepare dressing. (If they still seem wet, blot dry with paper towel. Beans you cook yourself are great if you have the extra time. You need 1 – 2 cups cooked beans.)

In heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid, bring chicken stock and lemon juice to a boil, stir in rice, bring back to a boil, then cover and cook on very low heat for 25 minutes without lifting lid. After 25 minutes, check to see if all water is absorbed. As soon as the bottom of the pan doesn’t have any stock remaining when you stir the rice, turn off heat and let rice sit about 10 minutes. Then remove lid and let rice come to room temperature before proceeding with recipe. (It can be cooled in refrigerator if you’re in a hurry.)

Mix dressing and chop peppers, green onions, and cilantro while rice cools. When it is room temperature, combine all ingredients and chill 1-2 hours before serving. this will keep fairly well in the refrigerator for a day or two, but it probably won’t last that long.

More reasons to vote for cilantro:

Very simple to make, and one of my most photogenic cilantro recipes is Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions.

Chicken, Black Bean and Cilantro Soup was the recipe I made for the WHB post where I first declared my love for cilantro. I’ve made this for a number of New Year’s Day soup parties, and it’s always been a hit.

When there was a block party on my street, I made Black Bean and Pepper Salad with Cilantro and Lime. This recipe was inspired by My Favorite Herb Salad, and would be a phase one option for South Beach Dieters.

I rededicated myself to cilantro for Weekend Herb Blogging #43, with Garbanzo, Tomato, and Cilantro Salad with Lime and Chile Dressing.

Grilled Fusion Chicken is a dish where cilantro is not the main thing going on, but if you’re a cilantro fan like me, you’ll love the way the cilantro compliments the flavor of this chicken.

Tomorrow night is when we announce the most preferred herb and officially recap Weekend Herb Blogging #52. If you’re a food blogger who wants to particpate in the special event, you still have time. Send your link to kalynskitchen AT comcast DOT net by 3:00 on Sunday.

Not a food blogger or don’t have time to post about your favorite herb? No problem, just leave a comment telling what your favorite is and we’ll add your vote to the tallies. Now, here’s how it’s going:

Favorite Herb Tally Update
(I’ll probably stop udating this count after today so it doesn’t ruin the surprise on Sunday.)

shiso 1
basil 2 3 4 6
oregano 1
dill 1
thyme 1
cilantro 2 3 4 6 79 11
rosemary 1 2 3
Chives 1
tarragon 1 2 3
parsley 1 2
mint 1
sage 1 2 3
lemon verbena 1
Greek bay laurel 1
scallion 1
salt and pepper (they know it’s not an herb) 1
Garlic 1
catnip 1 (from Sher’s cat)

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42 comments on “Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad”

  1. Kalyn,
    I love this rice salad recipe. It is so flavorful and can eat it all by itself! How do you suppose I could use rice cauliflower instead?

    • You could definitely make this with cauliflower rice! (I actually just thought of that myself a few days ago.) I would follow this cauliflower rice recipe to make the cauliflower rice. Then let it cool a bit while you chop the peppers and cilantro and drain the beans. I would omit the green onion from this recipe since there is a lot of green onion in the cauliflower rice recipe. I’d love to hear how it works if you try it.

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  3. Tampagirl, thanks for the suggestion.

  4. This is fabulous, I have found a spice blend called Smoky Paprika Chipotle which is wonderful in this recipe!! I used it in place of the Spike, cumin, and chili powder and it was wonderful. The spice blend is from a company called Victoria Taylors Spices, they can be pricey but so worth it!!

  5. Anthony, hope they like it. This is one of my favorites.

  6. This sounds delicious and looks great too! Thanks for the idea, I am going to try to make it myself and hopefully my family will enjoy it, which I know they will.

  7. Gail, so glad to hear it was a hit at your house!

  8. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! This is heaven! I am a cilantro lover, but not usually fond of vegan type dishes, but this is amazing! Even my husband (cilantro neutral…yes, there are those too who can take it in small doses) likes it! He said it will be on our summer party buffets.

  9. Glad you are enjoying the blog. I would use canola oil if you can't use peanut oil.

  10. Hi Kalyn,

    I just happened upon this blog last week and am thrilled! (I've already made the West African Stew and the Mexican Red Lentil Stew, both of which were delicious.) I'd like to make this salad for someone who's allergic to peanuts. What mild, healthful oil would you suggest?


  11. Anonymous, I don’t think there is evidence that one single gene makes people either love or hate cilantro, just a the fact that people from certain parts of the world tend to like it, while people from other parts of the world don’t like it, therefore the specualation that it may be a genetic tendancy. As for my own use of the phrase “cilantro gene” that’s just a joke I made; if I was talking about people who hated it I would have said the “anti-cilantro gene.” But to me it doesn’t matter what you call it, I am clear that there are people who hate it who will perceive the taste as pleasant. You are obviously one of those people.

  12. I seem to disagree with everyone here that the “cilantro gene” makes people like cilantro. It is the very fact that to some people it tastes like soap or detergent that has given the rise to the term “cilantro gene.” Therefore this term should be used to describe folks for whom the herb tastes like soap or detergent. I am one of those people for whom it does taste exactly like having someone squirt a liberal dose of dishwashing detergent into my mouth. Believe me when I say that there is no way someone for whom it tastes this way could ever acquire a taste for it. Like Lea I find it to be extremely, extremely vile. Those of you who do not have this aversion gene just don’t have any idea!

  13. hands down… cilantro is my fave herb!!! I’ve been looking for a good site with lots of cilantro recipes to bookmark and it looks like my search is over!!! Thanks!!jtkdwqb

  14. Anonymous, good question! Of course you could use olive oil if you wanted. I guess I just felt that the strong flavor of the olive oil would take away from the other flavors of the dressing, so I wanted a more neutral flavored oil.

    If you try it with olive oil, let me know how it works.

  15. Why not olive oil?

  16. Forgot to say. I made this Saturday morning. Had it for lunch today (Monday) and it was stil great.

  17. Elizabeth, thanks so much.

    Foodies Hope, Cilantro chutney is one of my favorite way to eat it. All those people in India can’t be wrong.

    Lea, I take it you don’t have the gene!

  18. Evil.


    Putrid weed!

    *spat spat*

  19. WOW!! So many recipes, delicious too! Cilantro indeed is very popular in India, cannot do without it in our cooking and coriander seeds too,a base spice for all curry pds!! :))
    I know some people donot like the strong smell ,it’s aroma fo us!:D
    Great recipes, thanks!!

  20. I love this blog.I am a cilantro lover and could eat it every day. My husband on the other hand would not care if he ate it ever again.I am always looking for new recipes using cilantro and these are some great ideas.I really enjoy reading your blog.

  21. Susan, I was so sad to hear about your cilantro disability, lol! It’s funny because I thought of you when I posted this because without the chicken stock, this would be vegan (and gluten-free too!) showing how much connection there is among everyone who loves good food. I’d use curly parsley in place of cilantro, although there is really nothing that tastes like cilantro. I also think basil or mint either one would taste great in this, but that’s just a guess. The parsley for cilantro replacement is something I used to do at Lake Powell when I had clients who didn’t like cilantro. Both for this salad and another salad with black beans and lentils (hmm, I don’t think I’ve posted that on the blog either.) For both of those I would make two batches of salad, one with cilantro and one with parsley. Both versions were popular.

    I prefer the curly parsley for some reason, maybe because I grew up with it, but both types of parsley would work.

  22. Kalyn, this salad looks incredible, and I’d like to make it, but being cilantro-disabled myself, I would need to substitute something for it. What would you suggest? I always used parsley for small amounts of cilantro, but I just realized that since I don’t know what cilantro tastes like to people who like it, I can’t really know what to use instead. So my question is, what herb tastes the most like cilantro?

  23. Chrispy, thanks for the tip about keeping the cilantro fresh.

    Gattina, thanks. I admit, I do love basil and probably eat it more often than cilantro, especially when I have it in my garden.

    Nupur, can’t wait to meet you.

    Katie, welcome to WHB. Your entry was great.

    Everyone, I just updated the totals with the overnight votes. I may or may not update again, depending on how busy I get today. For sure I will stop updating at 3:00 when the WHB entries are due (although of course people can still vote in the comments if they want to.) No one is more surprised than I am at the results so far.

  24. I’m a newbie to this but how fun! I knew basil would head the list and if this was August and I still had my tomato glut I would be there. But, it’s not and I don’t so I picked sage.
    I wasn’t certain how to participate…hope you got my e-mail

  25. Well, I am fairly certain that all the billion people in India have the love-cilantro version of the gene! Cilantro is part of the weekly vegetable basket in every household in India (only we call it coriander).
    Kalyn, I will be meeting you very soon…YAY 🙂

  26. Kalyn,
    oh I’m wrong!!! I thought basil was your very favorite, ha! I’ll try to grow cilantro again next spring, I had one doing quite well (planting in very sandy soil) until one rainstorm and got killed.
    Kalyn, all your dishes with cilantro are done so well!

  27. Wow I do love cilantro but I already put my vote in for another herb.

    Kayln, I regularly keep cilantro for up 3 weeks in my fridge. The glass of water thing works, but I prefer to keep it in a plastic zip bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture and expell all the air. If you need it to perk up after being stored. Soak it in cool water with stems still attached for a few minutes and it will perk up and have great flavor.

    This method works well with parsely (up to 4 weeks) and basil (leaves only for about 2 weeks but that is cuz it gets eaten before I can try for longer.)

    I can’t wait till tomorrow night.

  28. Ah, Jo slipped a vote in there while I was leaving the comment. I tallied it Jo. Will add it either tonight or tomorrow.

    Maybe it’s not fair that all these votes for cilantro are coming on my cilantro post? Basil needs to get going on their get-out-the-vote campaign.

  29. Ruth, thanks. It’s been fun.

    Jedediah, loved your video about cilantro. I hope people will watch it.

    Anonymous, I said it doesn’t keep well in the fridge. Haven’t tried your in-a-glass-of-water method. Worth a try though.

    Two more votes just added to the tally for cilantro and who would have imagined it would pull in the lead like this. There are quite a few herb blogging regulars who send their posts on Sunday, so anything could still happen.

  30. I did not like cilantro at first…it overpowered all the other flavors. However with time and very good Vietnames restaurants I grew accustomed to the flavor and now enjoy it and use it

  31. You say cilantro does keep long in the fridge? How do you keep it? I ususally clean it, then use a jar as a vase, and put just a little water in the bottom. This way it should keep for over a week. I know I’ve kept it that long anyway.

    Nice choice, by the way. I definitely have the cilantro gene myself.

  32. As a cilantro documentarian, I have to remain cilantro agnostic (or at least present myself as such), but I just discovered your blog and it’s becoming a contender for my favorite food blog!

    I can’t wait to try this salad!

  33. Great photos and great choices to show off cilantro – my SECOND favorite herb.

    Thanks for such a fun contest.

  34. Although Kalyn, I do feel sorry for those without the cilantro taste bud in their mouthes.
    Coriander as we call it in Sweden (but with a K) gives the excellent finish to any asian dish or the perfect spark to a sallad. Oh how i miss constant consuming of it, I think I’ll run out and purchase some, maybe make a sallad or a springroll filled with it. Delicious!!!

  35. Karina, who knew indeed? I would have NEVER predicted it.

    Sher, thanks! You’re a good volunteer in the campaign to make cilantro the favorite herb. (Ok, so there really is no such campaign, and basil could still win. Ok, all you basil lovers better get organized. Organization is everything in politics.)

    And with Lexi’s vote, cilantro surges into the lead!! Thanks Lexi. My condolences on the cilantro-haters in the family. It’s a real disability.

    (That was a joke if you’re reading this and hate cilantro. We know you were just born that way.)

  36. MMMM Cilantro is definitely my favorite, although I hardly use it as neither my friends or boyfrined care for it at all.
    I on the other hand go nuts by it.
    So when the cats away….

  37. Hee!! Upsie is so proud to have her vote counted!

    Kalyn, I’m just SHOCKED that you chose cilantro. I sure didn’t see that coming. :):) I love your post–all those wonderful cilantro recipes. The vote is so exciting. I feel like I’m in a political election. I admit I was just browbeating someone by e-mail to post their cilantro recipe, even though she’s exhausted. (Ahem, Glenna?) Cilantro lovers–the polls will close soon!!!!!!!)

  38. I love it that [so far] basil and cilantro are neck and neck. 😉

    Who knew?

    And Babycakes, your cilantro recipes are fab. The rice salad [aka Kalyn’s Favorite Herb Salad] sounds yummy – my kind of salad. And gluten free!

  39. Mimi, I don’t think there is a substitute for Spike, since I’m a Spike lover. It’s a blend that combines so many different flavors that it’s quite unique. You should be able to find it in Wisconsin, maybe near the natural foods in a grocery store or at a health foods store. If not, follow my link and order it from Amazon.com. You won’t be sorry. It’s good in so many things, I predict you’ll become a fan. (Although I know one well-known food blogger who is Spike adverse, so maybe it’s like cilantro. If so, everyone in my very large extended family has the Spike gene. That’s saying something because they definitely don’t all have the cilantro gene.)

  40. A neck-and-neck race (is this the right expression?) between basil and cilantro, no chive! Where are the herbs of the old world ;-)?

  41. Well. I am just delighted. I knew that cilantro was a love-it-or-hate-it herb, but I did not know there was a cilantro gene. Must be right up there with the genes for artichokes, mustard, beets and eggplant, all of which I have.

    What can I use as a substitute for Spike. Kalyn? I am hot to try this one.

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