Spanish Rice Tacos with Salsa-Ensalada


Can you ever have too many tacos?

Of course, not. Next question please. (Don’t forget last year’s epic Austin Taco Cleanse!)

Why do they call it “Spanish Rice” when it’s always associated with Mexican food?

I wondered about that a lot as a kid, and took traveling to Spain and years of reflection to figure it out. Funny that I never read an answer in a  cookbook before. The answer is simple, it is a fusion dish. A fusion of Old World Spain, and New World Mexico in its ingredients. Rice does not come from the New World. The Spaniards brought it. Rice traveled from Asia across trade routes to the Mediterranean where there are a wet places that can grow rice crops in Italy (think risotto), France (the Camargue) and Spain. (Valencia) Another common ingredient in California preparations are olives, another Old World, Mediterranean ingredient. Spanish Rice is a New World reinvention of the classic Spanish Paella, a dish of rice with other mixed veggies. Here in the New World, those ingredients became tomatoes, peppers, and chilies, and the spices are chili powder and cumin instead of saffron.

I pondered this while making a pot of Spanish Rice that took over my van. I don’t what I’ll blog about for awhile since it will take me days to finish it. I used it as a filling for tacos, because you can never have too many tacos. Is it salsa? Is it a salad? It’s both! Use as a taco or burrito topping, and the eat the remainders as a salad. Or eat it separately as a salad, no one will judge.

Spanish Rice

2 bags Success or similar boil in bag brown rice

1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies

1 can pinto or black beans drained and rinsed

1 small can sliced black olives

2-3 T diced red onion or 1 t onion powder

1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/2 t garlic powder

1-2 t chili powder

1 t cumin

hot sauce to taste


Cook the rice according to package directions and set aside.

In a big enough pot, combine remaining ingredients and simmer for a few minutes. Add the rice and heat through.


1/4 head cabbage thinly sliced

juice of 1/2 lime


1 small tomato diced

1/2 avocado diced


Place cabbage in a bowl and salt. Mix thoroughly and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

To Serve:

Use as a taco filling as I did, naked, or as separate side dishes.


About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete
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