A little over a week ago, Ryan and I found out that our new neighbors were big fans of Survivor and tuned in every Wednesday night to watch the reality show unfold. Since Ryan and I were borderline convinced we were the only Survivor fans remaining, we had to take advantage of stumbling upon local fans and planned a casual watch-party cookout (no pants required for those under two years old).
We figured it would be an excuse to get way too into the reality show and a great way to get to know our new neighbors over yummy food! (Two more of our neighbor friends joined us as well even though they aren’t Survivor fans. The more the merrier!)
Since the cookout was a super casual gathering, I didn’t feel a ton of pressure to entertain and kept everything very simple. I planned out easy but delicious dishes and did all of the shopping for our cookout at ALDI. The vast majority of the produce I purchased was organic and the chips, salsa and pantry staples I brought home were almost all from the ALDI SimplyNature line, which is super affordable, includes a lot of organic items and is completely free of any artificial colors or flavors.
You guys, I am honestly blown away by my grocery bill every time I leave ALDI. Ever since Ryan and I visited the revamped Mooresville location after church a few weeks ago following my friend Jess’ praises about their affordable organic foods, I’ve tried to pop in whenever I find myself in the area because the prices and quality cannot be beat. (In our area, the organic produce at ALDI is honestly cheaper than many of our local grocery store’s conventional produce. It’s crazy!)
In the end, our spread included ALDI grass fed organic burgers ($5.29 a pound!), fresh peppers and hummus, grapes, a chopped Asian salad, a selection of ALDI wines, roasted sweet potatoes, baked beans and a Black Bean and Brown Rice Salad that ended up being a crowd favorite.
I am ALL about side dishes I can prep ahead of time that require minimal work, and when they’re also healthy and packed with varying colors, flavors and nutrients, I cannot get enough! To make the Black Bean and Brown Rice Salad we all loved so much, I cooked up a batch of SimplyNature Quick Cook Brown Rice and let it chill in the refrigerator while I chopped organic cherry tomatoes, cilantro and green onions and sliced sweet corn off the cob.
Once everything was ready, I combined the rice and chopped produce with SimplyNature Organic Black Beans and a mix of SimplyNature Organic Spices and Stonemilll Chili Powder before adding avocado to the salad immediately before serving and tossing everything together. It was such a tasty and simple dish and I loved the combination of whole grains, vegetables and spices. It was a hit for sure!
Black Bean and Brown Rice Salad
Makes approximately 8 1/2-cup servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup cooked SimplyNature Quick Cook Brown Rice
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh corn cut off the cob (approximately 2 small ears)
- 1 15-ounce can SimplyNature Organic Black Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
- juice of 1 large lime
- 1 avocado, cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon SimplyNature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon SimplyNature Organic Ground Cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon SimplyNature Organic Ground Garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon Stonemill chili powder
- Stonemill salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients except for the avocado in a large bowl. Toss to coat everything in the spices, olive oil and lime juice.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with avocado immediately before serving and enjoy!
Per 1/2 cup serving: Calories: 145 / Fat: 5g / Sodium: 110mg / Carbs: 21g / Fiber: 6g / Sugar: 1g / Protein: 5g
Though I served this dish as a side dish, it’s also wonderful as meal. If you’re looking to make it a little more filling, consider topping it with grilled chicken or shrimp or adding some edamame to the mix! It’s fantastic as leftovers, too, though the avocado does brown a bit.
If you aren’t a fan of brown rice, quinoa, barley or even wheat berries can be used in this dish in place of the rice. (Wheat berries and barley will result in a chewier salad.)