Veggie Bean & Brown Rice Salad

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I love Mexican food but it can be very heavy, fattening, and hard to find entrees that are mostly plant-based meals. But this is one of my absolute favorites. As you can probably tell by my meals, I like to keep them simple and to use foods in their whole-food form as much as I can. After eating this meal you’ll feel its benefits. You will feel satisfied, full, and filled with energy. The dark green leafy salad  is rich in calcium and the brown rice and pinto beans are high in protein, creating a nutrient-rich, healthy meal.

Often, my meals aren’t so much about cooking but rather combining foods in a way that tastes great and is healthy. I like to use simple ingredients and try not to cook the foods too much. So rather than steam the veggies and risk losing some of their nutritional value, I eat them raw. The pinto beans, I cook, of course, and with lots of garlic. If I am short on time, I stop off at a favorite Mexican restaurant of mine that I know doesn’t cook with lard. I pick up their whole pinto beans to put into my Veggie Bean & Brown Rice Salad. Most of the time, I don’t prefer to dine in Mexican restaurants because it’s hard to stay away from dairy, meat, and fried foods. This dish I absolutely love and wish all Mexican restaurants would fix something this simple, fresh, and good.

Veggie Bean & Brown Rice Salad

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  • Arugula salad (you’ve probably noticed this lettuce is a favorite of mine; you can use whatever you like spinach, kale, or combination)
  • Pinto beans (drained (I like to cook them with garlic))
  • Brown rice (make sure the veggies and the salad are proportionally more than the rice. Here’s a tip for the rice: when boiling it, use a vegetable broth for added flavor; just be careful that you don’t get one that’s loaded with sodium.Edamame (soy beans))
  • Red bell peppers
  • Crisp chopped white onion (my daughter has truly made me a fan of onions–she loves them and the more crisp and fresh the better)
  • Avocado slices (drizzled with fresh lemon juice)
  • Fresh salsa to top the salad (I rarely use salad dressing; instead I prefer things like salsa, garlic sauces, or hummus)
  • Optional ingredients: cilantro (different types of beans, broccoli, spinach, some nuts)


  • Chop the veggies and warm the beans.
  • Pile everything atop the lettuce and rice.
  • Enjoy… You’ll feel great!
Author: Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia brand journalist who consults and writes on wellness, all things plant-based, fitness, lifestyle, and travel. She is yoga certified and earned her certificate in Whole Food Plant-Based Eating in 2010 through eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. She's also a top podcaster for her marketing/storytelling podcast, The Brand Journalism Advantage at

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