Mexican Green & Grains Salad

Wow I just want to say thank you to everyone who reached out to me after Sunday’s post, whether in the comments, email, text, or on Twitter. I won’t lie, I was terrified to hit publish! Once I put up the post I cried. Then with every positive and uplifting response I cried again. Then I realized I was way hopped up on coffee and feeling a little nutty. So I channeled that nervous energy into an amazing workout.

I didn’t feel like getting to the gym so I did a rag-tag workout at home. Unfortunately I only have one set of “heavy” weights so everything was done with 20lb dumbbells. It’s like weight training and Crossfit had a baby, sort of. I guess. I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

Random Workout:

With 20lb dumbbells, do one set of 12 for each move

  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extension
  • Shoulder presses
  • Chest presses
  • Upward rows

Follow with 4 minutes of the following moves (12 each, as many rounds as possible) and then one minute of rest.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump Rope
  • Burpees
  • High Knees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Plank Jacks

Repeat the entire thing for 3 rounds total. This workout was about 30 minutes and very killer!! Remember to scale it to your fitness level…if 5lbs is challenging to you, then use that. Also feel free to shorten the cardio portion to 3 minutes at a time or even tababta style so you can get some short breaks in between moves. Whatever you want.


As I continue to dream up tasty and easy lunches for my new work schedule, I’m finding myself always returning to an easy bean/grain/veggie theme. Last week’s quinoa bowl was delicious and this week I wanted something a little more fun and flavorful.

I have also been trying to “shop from my pantry and fridge” in order to create something with ingredients I already have on hand versus heading to the store and buying even more food. This recipe was actually inspired by a can of fire roasted tomatoes that were going bad (okay, I’ll admit they actually “expired” a couple months ago but I’m not scared!).

Along with the tomatoes I had some black beans (I always have a variety of beans on hand), brown rice, and lots of veggies in the fridge. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to put a Mexican spin on it and luckily I had a perfect dressing in mind!!

In doing my weekly prep on Sunday I knocked this dish out in less than an hour (the main thing that took so long was cooking the brown rice, the actual preparations took less than 15 minutes). Just prep your ingredients and throw in a bowl – what could be better than that!? This hefty dish will provide four lunches this week.


Mexican Greens and Grain Salad


  • 3/4 cup dry rice (or grain of choice, quinoa would work well)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drain
  • Corn from 1 cob (or thawed, frozen corn)
  • 1/2 bunch kale, finely chopped
  • Shredded red cabbage as desired 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • 2 servings of Cumin Vinaigrette with an extra splash of lime juice
  • Optional toppers: jalapenos, green chili sauce, scallions, fresh avocado (I would stir it in right before you serve to avoid browning)


  1. Combine rice and 1.5-2 cups water in a pot. Boil, then reduce to simmer for 35 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile in a bowl combine tomatoes, beans, and corn. Once the rice is cooked add it to the bowl as well (still hot)
  3. Stir in fresh veggies while rice is still hot (this will help the kale and cabbage wilt down just a little).
  4. Toss mixture in vinaigrette. Add in additional toppings if desired – I love heat so I found that green chili and jalapenos went perfectly!


The basics that inspired the meal


Mix them together and add hot, cooked rice


Add in fresh veggies and stir, allowing the rice to slightly steam them


Top and enjoy!

This is the kind of dish that only gets better with time – all of the flavors marry so well! I actually served it chilled for lunch so as not to overcook all of the fresh veggies I stirred in (especially the kale, I love it raw). I simply took it out of the fridge for 10 minutes before I ate it. Serve it however you like though, I’m sure warm would be good too.

When we moved to Durango, we decided not to buy a microwave for our new place. There have only been a couple of times that I wish I had one (mainly for ease of prep or a time crunch) but overall I’m quite happy without it. Last week, I decided to nuke my quinoa bowl in our office microwave – the first time I had used one in 4 months!! The dish just didn’t taste as good after I microwaved it and so I decided to eat it chilled the rest of the week.

Because this dish is a salad-grain hybrid, it tastes quite delicious cold. I encourage you to try to use your microwave as little as possible…before you know it, you won’t even miss it!!

How often do you use a microwave? Do you think you could live without one?


3 thoughts on “Mexican Green & Grains Salad

  1. before my boyfriend and i moved in together, he was anti-microwave and he didn’t have one for a few years. i tend to use it a lot to reheat stuff. i thought it was so weird that my boyfriend reheats pizza in the oven, and reheated stuff on the stovetop!

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