Thursday, August 26, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salad

As we near dangerously closer to September, it is becoming clear to me that summer is almost come to a close. Although there are a lot of great things about Autumn (football, making soup, pumpkin spice lattes...), I also find myself usually getting a little anxious because with each passing day I know we are just a little bit closer to depressing things like Daylight Savings Time's "Falling back" and...Winter. Anyway, to accompany some of those fleeting cook outs (and who am I kidding, really, we do live in Colorado so we'll have plenty of warm and sunny days ahead) I recommend making up a big batch of this salad. Cheesy as it sounds, it really is like "summertime in bowl."

A couple notes, the quantities in the recipe make for a very large batch. That's because it's so versatile and we end up eating a ton of it before I then incorporate it into other dishes (see my comments at the end of the recipe).

Also, in the batch pictured, I threw in some diced jicama as well (a sweet, crunchy tuber that looks a bit like a lighter, thinner skinned large potato). Although it's nice in the fresh salad, I don't recommend using it if you plan on using leftovers to make the other suggested dishes. It just doesn't cook up very well.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
1 each, red, yellow and green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels (about 3 ears fresh)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup neutral oil (canola, vegetable)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large bowl, stir together peppers, onion, corn, black beans and cilantro. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic and cumin. Slowly whisk in oil and immediately pour over salad, stirring to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Flavor will continue to improve as flavors meld, so it's nice to let it sit for awhile before serving (30 minutes is sufficient).

This salad is great on its own as a side dish or can be used for a large variety of variations.
It can be served on greens as part of a taco salad, stirred into commercially prepared salsa for a quick enhanced dip and also combined with Spanish rice and baked with cheese on top it becomes a great vegetarian casserole. Finally, you can bulk up this salad even more by combining with some cooked couscous or quinoa and serving cold. Delicious!

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