Monday, January 12, 2015

Black Bean and Corn Salad (or Salsa or Side-Dish)

When I call this recipe a salad, I might be doing it a disservice.  Because it can be so much more than just a salad.  It is a fantastic salsa, a delicious side dish and can also work as a light lunch or dinner.  On top of that, it is super easy to make, very healthy and extremely cost effective.  I use fiber and protein rich black beans and sweet crunchy corn as the base for this salad.  Then I add fresh red bell pepper, spicy jalapeno and creamy avocado all mixed with a smokey, tangy homemade dressing. This is an extremely flavorful dish with many different textures and beautiful colors.  It works great with a piece of grilled chicken, fish or a burger.  And because I use frozen corn, it keeps cold for a long time, which makes it great to bring to a potluck or barbeque.  I used to make this all the time when my husband and I would tailgate at different sporting events, (you know, before we had kids) because it would last for a couple hours without refrigeration.  In fact, I made it so much, my friends and family began calling it Corn O'Neill (O'Neill is my maiden name).  Now, I still make it all the time for parties or potlucks or just for my own family to have at home.  Next time you need a super quick salsa, salad or side dish, give this one a shot!

This is what you need:

1 can of Black Beans - rinsed and drained
1 bag (16 oz.) of frozen Sweet Corn 
1 Red Bell Pepper -chopped small
1 Avocado - chopped small
1/2-1 Jalapeno - diced small (optional)
1/2 Red Onion - chopped small
1/2 cup of Cilantro - chopped
1 Lime - juiced
3 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 tbsp of Cumin
1 tbsp of Hot Sauce ( any kind you prefer)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp of Pepper

This is what you do:
Rinse and drain your beans then chop the bell pepper, onion and jalapeno and add to a bowl with the beans and frozen corn.  Then make your dressing with the juice of 1 lime, 3 tbsp of Olive Oil, 1 tbsp of hot sauce, 1 tbsp of cumin, 1 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Whisk and set aside.  Now, dice your avocado and the chop the cilantro.  Add them to the bowl, add the dressing and gently mix everything together.  Let sit out for 15-30 minutes before serving.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30-45 minutes
Serves: 4-8

First thing to do is drain and rinse the black beans.

While the beans are draining, chop your vegetables.  You want to make them pretty small.  I like to do my red bell pepper in about 1/2 inch long pieces.  So what I do is cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and then from each half make 8 strips.  Then I cut each strip in about 1/2 inch long pieces. 
I will cut a couple strips at time to get it done quickly.  

Same with the jalapeno, except I cut them much smaller.  Now, if you choose to use the jalapeno, I highly recommend removing the ribs and seeds.  That is where most of the heat lives.  When you do remove them, use a spoon to scoop them out.  Otherwise, your fingers will burn for awhile and it really is not a pleasant experience. 
I will chop each strip into tiny little pieces.  This makes the flavor spread evenly in the salad and ensures no one is going to get a mouthful of jalapeno.

Chop the red onions pretty small too.  No one wants a big raw onion chunk in their mouth either.
The hard part is over!

Now, add the veggies, the black beans and the bag of frozen corn to a large bowl and mix together.  
So pretty already.

Next, make the dressing by adding the juice of 1 Lime, 3 tbsp of Olive Oil, 1 tbsp of Hot Sauce, 1 tbsp of Cumin, 1 tsp of Salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper to a bowl and whisk together.  

Now, dice your avocado by slicing in half and removing the seed.  While the avocado is still in the rind, slice lengthwise and crosswise to make little squares.  Then take a spoon and scoop it out into the bowl.  You will have perfect little pieces of avocado!
 Can you kind of see my knife marks here?  I hope?
Scoop it right into the bowl.  Makes things a bit easier.  

After this, chop your cilantro and add to the bowl.  

Then, pour the dressing right over the avocado.  This is so the lime in the dressing can help keep the avocado fresh.  Mix it gently all together and let sit for 15-30 minutes before serving.  Taste to make sure it is seasoned how you like and serve!
Beautiful, vibrant and delicious!
This is such an easy, fun dish to make and serve.  It is so versatile and healthy and can be enjoyed in so many different ways.  It is absolutely to die for with chips and just as good by itself.  Hope you give this one a shot!