Pinto Bean and Rice Salad With Tomatoes and Cheddar in Banana Pepper-Chili Vinaigrette Recipe

A salad made of rice and beans with taco accoutrements and banana pepper-chile vinaigrette turns the typical side dishes on end. Jennifer Olvera

The classic side dish of rice and beans gets a summery facelift in this bold, chilled salad, packed with tomatoes, sharp cheddar, onions, cilantro, and an in-your-face vinaigrette made with both banana peppers and ancho chilies.

Note: The bean salad can be made up to a day ahead; toss in the cilantro right before serving to keep it fresh and bright. If you're looking to tone down the heat, you can reduce the amount of cayenne in the vinaigrette or simply omit it; pickled jalapeños can be used in place of the banana peppers, but they will add more heat.

Recipe Facts



Active: 10 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup cubed extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped canned pickled banana peppers
  • 1 tablespoon pickling liquid from pickled banana peppers
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. Place beans, rice, cheese, tomatoes, onion, and banana peppers in a medium bowl.

  2. Whisk together pickling liquid, lime juice, olive oil, chile powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Season with salt. Toss with bean mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

  3. Place in the refrigerator and allow flavors to meld for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Stir in cilantro and serve cold or at room temperature.

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