Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls

Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls have a vibrant combination of flavors, with just enough spicy heat to keep it interesting and these tasty rice bowls are vegan!  

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Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowls photo with finished bowls

I don’t remember my mother cooking black beans when I was a kid, but sometime after I left home she must have started using them, because they became my father’s favorite type of bean, and any dish that had black beans was something he would enjoy. I was thinking about that as I missed him on Father’s day, and remembered all the black bean salads I made for him the last few years of his life when he was in an assisted living center where I’d visit twice a week and cook lunch.

My dad could be a picky customer when it came to trying new dishes, and I doubt he ever heard of vegan food, but I’m betting he would have enjoyed these Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls, if only because of the black beans, rice and avocados; three foods he always loved. Using the slow cooker to cook the rice and then heat together the chopped peppers, green chiles, and black beans kept the house cool, and I thought one of these Mexican bowls made a perfect summer dinner.

And I actually didn’t realize the Brown Rice Mexican Bowls were a vegan recipe until I started to type it up for the blog, and although it took us a couple of tries to get it just right, Jake and I both loved this dish.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

What are Poblano Peppers?

The black beans, rice, and avocado in this recipe are three ingredients I love, but if I had to pick *the* one ingredient that made this so good, it would be the finely-chopped Poblano pepper in the salsa  I haven’t cooked with Poblano Peppers that much, (also called Pasilla peppers in some U.S. stores),  but definitely they’re an ingredient I’ll be using again. Poblano are a mild pepper variety that gets fairly large compared to some pepper types, and Cheesy Stuffed Poblanos with Ground Turkey are a popular recipe on the blog. (Enter “Poblano Peppers” into the search bar if you want to find more recipes using them.

Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowls process shots collage

How to make Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Combine the Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice (affiliate link) and vegetable stock in the slow cooker.  (I used a can of vegetable stock and added a little water to make 2 cups.)
  2. Add 1 cup of finely chopped onion and cook on high for about 1 1/2 hours (until the rice is nearly done, but not quite.)
  3. While the rice cooks, prepare the finely chopped red and green bell pepper and get a small can of diced green chiles (affiliate link) (Anaheim chiles, not Jalapenos.)
  4. Also drain 2 cans of black beans into a colander and rinse until no more foam appears.  Let the beans drain well.
  5. After 1 1/2 hours, fluff the brown rice with a fork.
  6. Stir in the chopped red and green bell pepper, drained black beans, diced green chiles (with juice), and a little salt, and cook 30 minutes more (until the rice is tender.)
  7. While the rice mixture cooks, chop the tomatoes, cilantro, Poblano pepper, and slice the green onions for the salsa.  (Fabulous chopping skills shown here are by Jake!)
  8. Cut up one large or 2 small avocados and toss them with 1 T lime juice. Then gently stir in the chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, chopped Poblano, sliced green onion, 2 T more lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin (affiliate link), and salt to taste to make the salsa.
  9. When the slow cooker mixture is done, serve Slow Cooker Vegan Mexican Bowls hot or warm, with a generous scoop of the Poblano-Avocado salsa on top.

Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Bell Peppers, and Poblano-Avocado Salsa found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Vegetarian Dishes You Might Like:

Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Vegetarian Recipes Index ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
The BEST Instant Pot Refried Beans with Onions, Garlic, and Chiles ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Quick and Easy Black Beans and Rice ~ The Perfect Pantry
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowls photo with finished bowls

Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls have a vibrant combination of flavors, with just enough spicy heat to keep it interesting!


Slow Cooker Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice (see notes)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (see notes)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped small
  • one 4 oz. can diced green chiles plus juice (Anaheim chiles, not jalapenos)
  • two 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • salt to taste

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1 large Poblano pepper, very finely diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large avocado cut into cubes about 1 inch
  • 3 T fresh lime juice. divided (see notes)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (or more, to taste)
  • salt to taste


  1. Combine the Uncle Ben's Brown Rice (affiliate link), vegetable stock, and finely chopped onion in the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours, or until rice is just starting to get tender.
  2. While rice cooks, chop the red and green bell pepper, and open the diced green chiles.
  3. Drain the black beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears; then let beans drain well.
  4. After 1 1/2 hours, add the chopped red bell pepper, chopped green bell pepper, diced green chiles with juice, and drained black beans to the slow cooker and gently combine with the rice.
  5. Add salt to taste and then cook on high for about 30 minutes more.
  6. While the rice mixture finishes cooking, chop the tomato, cilantro, and Poblano pepper and thinly slice the green onion.
  7. Cut the avocado into cubes about 1 inch across and toss in a bowl with 1 T of fresh-frozen lime juice).  Use a bowl that will hold all the salsa ingredients.
  8. Add the chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, finely chopped Poblano, sliced green onion, other 2 T lime juice, 2 T olive oil, ground cumin, and salt to taste, and gently combine.
  9. The slow cooker mixture is ready when the rice is tender (and preferably the peppers are barely cooked, with still quite a bit of crunch.)
  10. Serve hot or warm, with a generous scoop of the Poblano-Avocado Salsa on top.
  11. You could add other toppings such as desired.


I used my favorite 3 Quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker (affiliate link) for this recipe, but any slow cooker that’s close to that size will work.I'm a fan of Uncle Ben's Brown Rice (affiliate link) but you can use any whole-grain brown rice (not instant rice) for this recipe. I used a 14 oz. can of vegetable broth and a little water to make 2 cups. I used my fresh-frozen lime juice for this recipe.

This recipe inspired by Mexican Barley and Black Beans in American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook; we created the salsa recipe and adapted the other mixture quite a bit.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 451mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 17gSugar: 11gProtein: 16g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Low-glycemic black beans are allowed (in limited amounts) for any phase of the original South Beach Diet, but the use of brown rice in these Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowls makes them suitable for Phase 2 or 3. This is a low-glycemic recipe, but too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Slow Cooker Recipes to find more recipes like this one.Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Fine more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

Pinterest image of Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls

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    25 Comments on “Slow Cooker Brown Rice Mexican Bowls”

  1. Regarding cooking the rice (non-uncle bens Brand) based upon prior comments I ended up cooking the rice for about 2 hours before adding in the peppers, onion, beans, etc. I also added more vegetable broth at about the hour and a half mark. Rice turned out perfect and so did the rest of the dish

  2. I made this a few months ago and came out perfectly and I loved it so much! But now I’m making it again and it just doesnt seem right. I did the cook 1 1/2 hours and the rice was barely cooked and there was still a lot of juice left but I went ahead and just added the rest of the ingredients because I couldnt remember if that was right. I’m really hoping it comes out right! Does that sound right, that the rice would still be hard and there was juice left with only 30 minutes left?

    • I’m afraid I haven’t made this for quite a few years, so I can’t answer that from memory. But the recipe says “. . . until rice is just starting to get tender.” So unless your rice is not tender at all I’m guessing it will be okay. I don’t think it will hurt to cook a bit longer with the beans added either if the rice doesn’t seem done. Hope it works!

  3. Pingback: The BEST Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Black Beans and Rice Recipes - Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

  4. I had a rice bowl at a vegan restaurant a few years ago and I’ve tried a number of times to recreate it but it was never the same. I think this one might be just what I’m looking for! I’m going to try it this weekend. 

  5. Pingback: Three Amazing Recipes for Vegetarian Mexican Bowls (Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker) - Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker

  6. Pingback: Slow Cooker – Vegan Recipes, Desserts, Drinks and other Vegan stuff.

  7. Kalyn this looks delicious but could I use quinoa or lentils in place of the rice? If so how would you suggest I do that if any changes are necessary?

    • I'm sure it could work, but without trying it I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly how to adjust the cooking time to substitute lentils or quinoa. You might be able to tell by just taking a peek, or try googling "slow cooker quinoa" or "slow cooker lentils" for some ideas. I do have this recipe for lentils in the slow cooker which might be helpful.

  8. Doesn't work My slow cooker has been on HIGH for over two hours now and it is just a soupy mess with hard kernels of rice I WAS making it for a taco bar at work tomorrow

    • I'm concerned that two people haven't had success with this. It did work perfectly for me, so I'm sorry it's not working for you. I know that slow cookers cook at different temperatures, and older ones are much colder than newer models. That's the only thing I can think of if you followed the recipe as written, especially the use of Uncle Ben's brown rice, which works best in the slow cooker. I would certainly keep cooking it and see what happens.

  9. Meredith, I would have to guess it's the brand of rice you're using? If you followed the cooking times and used the rice I did (Uncle Ben's Brown Rice) I can't think of what else would make it not turn out.

  10. This looks delicious and I've tried my best to recreate it, but darnit if brown rice just doesn't hate me. I can't make it without it becoming a mass of mush. Any ideas? I've tried the stove, rice cooker and now the crock pot and I've never been successful.

  11. DeliciousnessHappens, so glad you like it.

  12. This looks so yummy! What a great healthy recipe!

  13. Alla, I would love this with black-eyed peas!

  14. oh yummm!!! i slow cooked my black eye peas for the first time and made way too many… now I know what to do with them!

  15. Thanks Erica! We definitely loved it at my house.

  16. What a beautiful dish! Love the combination of colors, textures and flavors, Kalyn!Healthy and delicious!Perfect!

  17. Thanks Barbara. It was fun to discover how much I like raw Poblano peppers!

  18. What a great healthy meal for summer.

  19. Joanne, I think I'm going to become a bit obsessed with Poblanos! Love them in this.

  20. I love this mix of ingredients! It's one of my favorites as well. poblanos really do add such a nice kick, don't they?