This is the perfect side to take to cookouts, barbecues, and other events you will go to this summer. Whenever we are assigned “side dish” I always say to myself”ah rats” because an internal struggle begins. Do I bring another unhealthy side of mac n’ cheese, potato salad, pasta salad, or baked beans laden with brown sugar? Or do I go the healthy route and bring a boring side salad that no one (especially the kids) will touch.


A friend posted a similar recipe years ago to a popular social website. I jotted it down on the back of an envelope and made it for a cookout we went to. I was surprised just how tasty this healthy dish was and it was a hit. It was one of the few items brought that had nothing left to bring home.


I used it as my go to “side dish” during the summers and had the same results every time. During our last move it disappeared. I’m convinced it was thrown away (reminder to self – I must take recipes that I’ve copied onto the back of envelopes and rewrite them onto recipe cards and store properly).


Early this week we were going to an end of year sports banquet at local park. The team was cooking out and we were assigned a “side dish”. I said “ah rats” and rearranged the house looking for that recipe. It was gone.


I contacted my friend who I believe posted it and asked her “Do you remember that recipe that you posted about five years ago? I can’t remember the name.” I expected her to say “Are you serious? How in the world would I remember what I posted that long ago.” I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t know what I was talking about. But, I was pleasantly surprised (I shouldn’t have been, she is one of the nicest people I know) when she tried to help me figure it out.


After scouring the internet for the recipe and back and forth with my friend, I decided to go it alone and try to recreate it from memory. What I came up with is below and was once again a one of a kind side dish and a hit.

20160517_143831.jpgSide note – I originally made it with risotto, although I don’t know if that’s what the recipe called for. I also made it with quinoa for an even healthier version. The version I made this time was somewhat of a compromise and turned out very well. This is the way I will make it from now on.



  • 1 cup brown rice, risotto, or quinoa (I used a blend of brown rice, red quinoa and fire roasted freekeh)
  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3-5 green onions (depending on the size of the onions and your taste)
  • 2 bell peppers (choose your favorite colors – I did three here – green, red, and yellow)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 (16 oz) can of black beans
  • 1 16 oz can of corn
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados



  1. Cook rice, risotto, quinoa, or blend according to directions on the package
  2. While that’s cooking dice your tomotoes, green onions and bell peppers and place in a large bowl.
  3. When rice blend is done place in the bowl with the diced vegetables.
  4. Add chopped cilantro.
  5. Rinse and drain beans and corn. Add to the bowl.
  6. Squeeze limes into a small dish or liquid measuring cup (you should have about 1/4 cup of lime juice). Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/8 tsp cayenne. Whisk together. Pour over mixture in the large bowl. Mix well, but not forcefully, with wooden spoon.
  7. Refrigerate at least one hour (overnight is better).
  8. Add diced avocados before taking to cookout and mix well.
  9. Serve in a cute southwestern dish with a cute spoon (or just serve).

Hope the next time you get an assignment for a cookout or potluck you revisit us. The recipe will be waiting for you!