• olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • dijon mustard
  • cumin
  • garlic
  • rice or orzo pasta
  • black beans
  • red pepper
  • yellow pepper
  • green onions

Shortly after we moved back to NC from NYC, I reconnected with a dear friend from college…let’s call her, The Gymnast…yeah, that fits. While in college, The Gymnast introduced me to the deliciousness that is perogies! Seriously, how did I survive all those years prior without the greatness of perogies after a long night of drinking?!!? Once, during the pit stop of a long car trip from tarheel-land to orange country for a lacrosse tournament, The Gymnast’s grandmother fed a herd of us to within an inch of our lives and sent us on our way with a bag of chicken cutlets that weighed more than we did. To say The Gymnast knows good food would be an understatement…The Gymnast comes from a long line of foodie masters. So, when The Gymnast’s dinner invite came our way, the reply was an overwhelming yes. And thank goodness for my good judgement…The Gymnast introduced me to a side dish that has stood the test of time here at casa de tarheelmom. When The Gymnast prepared this dish, it was shoveled into our mouths as Caribbean Black Bean & Rice Salad. Delicious is not a strong enough word to describe the level of love we have for this dish. Needless to say, I greedily requested the recipe and set off to make it a staple in my home. Well done The Gymnast…well done!

Flash forward to my first attempt at creating this recipe. In my excitement, I forgot to read the recipe thoroughly before I started. Who doesn’t have rice in their pantry? Seriously, who doesn’t? Well, that would be me…but I did have a bag of orzo pasta and just enough gusto to stray from the original recipe! What a happy mistake! This recipe can be made with either rice or orzos and I promise you’ll leave the table satisfied which ever way you go! As an homage to The Gymnast, I’m going to post her original recipe but please know, I don’t have the patience to measure out  3/4 cup of red pepper, 3/4 cup yellow pepper or 3/4 cup chopped green onions, so I just go with 1 medium sized pepper in each color and a bunch of green onions (4 or 5 depending on size). Also, I tend to go with a whole bag of orzo pasta (16 oz) because we love this dish so much, the extra never gets wasted.

This dish is served cold and makes an excellent side for anything off the grill. It keeps well in the fridge and makes a great lunch the next day…assuming you are lucky enough to have leftovers. Thanks The Gymnast and I haven’t forgotten we owe you dinner…we really need to make that happen!

The Gymnast's slightly altered Caribbean Black Bean & Rice Salad

Orzo Pasta Salad


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup raw white rice (cooked to yield about 2 1/2 cups), cooled
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup red pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup yellow pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup green onion, chopped


  1. whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, cumin & garlic in medium bowl until well blended. Season dressing to taste w/salt & pepper.
  2. Combine rice (or cooked/cooled orzo pasta), beans, peppers & onion in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to moisten. Season w/salt & pepper.
  3. Cover & refrigerate
  4. Can be made 6 hours in advance