Rice and beans can be ho-hum unless you add the right flavors and complimentary ingredients.  I always see such fun and colorful salads at the Whole Foods salad bar and want to replicate at home.  It sure makes for great recipe inspiration!

This recipe came together because I have recently been experimenting with my new Instant Pot that I got for Mother’s Day from my mom.  I have been making brown rice and fresh black beans in large batches.  Fresh black beans are so much better than canned.  And making rice in the pressure cooker saves so much time!

I had so much brown rice and black beans on hand and thought combining the two and turning them into a cold salad for lunchtime would be a perfect way to use them up.

This salad features bold and zesty flavor from the cilantro, red onion and lime juice.  The chunks of mango make it slightly sweet and the diced avocado adds a smooth and creamy texture to each bite.  This rice salad has a light flavor that makes it perfect for summertime.  It comes together quickly if you already have the cooked brown rice on hand.  My girls absolutely love this combination and I love that it sneaks in whole grains, plant-based protein, some healthy fats and even some fruit.  It is oil-free and travels well so would be great to serve for outdoor summertime gatherings.  It definitely makes rice and beans not boring.

I hope you enjoy this simple, gluten-free and vegan recipe as much as I do.  And I hope it inspires you to try jazzing up brown rice and black beans.  If you give it a try please let me know by leaving a comment and rating it! And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine so I can see!


Brown Rice Black Bean Salad with Mango and Avocado

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x


This healthy and light salad is perfect for summertime and a fun spin on the typical ho-hum rice and beans combo. It is full of flavor AND plant-based protein, dietary fiber and healthy fats. It is easy to throw together and kid-friendly.



  • 3 cups cooked short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 mango, diced (I prefer champagne/Ataúlfo mangos)
  • 1/4 red onion (~3/4 cup), diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado diced
  • 1 lime, juiced (or more if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to incorporate the flavors.
  2. Enjoy immediately at room temperature or store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. I recommend adding the avocado last minute if not serving right away (to prevent browning).


I cooked the brown rice in my Instant Pot. I used the rice setting and did two cycles. I followed the water to rice ratio in the manual and it worked perfectly. Alternatively you can prepare on your stovetop. Brown rice typically takes about 45 minutes on the stovetop. I recommend allowing the rice to cool to room temperature before adding the other ingredients.

I also cooked the black beans in my Instant Pot but you can certainly used canned black beans that are drained and rinsed. In the Instant Pot I used the water to dry, unsoaked black bean ratio and did one cycle on the “Beans” setting and again they came out perfect. They took about 25 minutes to cook.

  • Cuisine: Mexican