Aztec Blend Recipe

Heinen’s Aztec Blend™ Salad with Corn, Chipotle and Queso Fresco

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Hands on time: 20 minutes

If you’re looking for a salad to bring to that weekend cookout, look no further. Fresh and flavorful. Good for you and good tasting. Quick and easy to make on the fly. This is it.

It all starts with Heinen’s Aztec Blend™, a mix of red rice, brown rice, split peas and amaranth, an ancient protein packed grain. Chewy and nutty, this salad is a riot of color with corn, tomatoes, black beans, queso fresco (that’s Mexican cheese) and avocado laced with a limey chipotle vinaigrette. This salad pairs with anything from ribs or chicken to a stand-alone vegetarian meal for two. So what are you waiting for?

It’s that easy: Smokey chipotle chiles can be found canned in tomatoey adobo sauce in the international aisle. You will rarely use up a whole can for one recipe so I freeze the remaining chiles in plastic zip lock bags to zest up future marinades, salsas and stews. They can pack serious heat so be cautious using them until you’re familiar with their fire.

Heinen's Aztec Blend
Heinen’s Aztec Blend
Colusari Rice combined with Long Grain Brown Rice, Multi-Colored Split Peas and Ancient Amaranth Grains.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box (8 oz) Heinen’s Aztec Blend™ grain blend
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup lime juice
1 chipotle chili, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped cilantro


Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and sauté until it softens, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or until fragrant.

Add the grains and sauté for another minute to coat them with the oil and pour in the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes for grains to absorb remaining liquid. Drain in a colander if there is still some liquid in the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, chipotle, salt, a few grinds of pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice, corn, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, cheese and cilantro. Toss together and taste for seasoning adding more salt, pepper, chipotle or lime to taste.

If not serving right away, refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Serve chilled or room temperature.

In the glass: Serve with a fizzy vinho verde from Portugal or a light and fruity rosé.

Serves 4 as a meatless meal or 8 as a side dish.

Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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