Monday, June 11, 2012

Black Bean Salad

A friend of mine brought this bean salad to a Kentucky Derby party a few weeks ago. It was a bright, warm, blue-sky day, the guests wore sundresses and seersucker, and there was a very nice potluck spread. I wasn't particularly excited about the bean salad when I spooned it onto my plate, but I took one bite and fell in love. 

I made the recipe myself for the first time this weekend, and it easily earns a top spot on my list of quick, easy, worthwhile dishes. It's basically beans, corn, bell peppers and onions in a cumin and cilantro vinaigrette. The acid and sugar are nicely balanced (you won't notice the sugar and you won't feel like you got knocked over the head with a bottle of vinegar), and the other flavors are savory and refreshing. It's really very tasty. Also reasonably healthy. And vegetarian. One recipe makes a little over 10 cups, so it feeds a lot of people. Keep it in mind for potlucks or cut it in half for a smaller group.

Black Bean Salad
Adapted from a recipe shared by Logan Casey. Makes 10-12 generous servings. 

    • 4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed
    • 2 cups cooked kidney beans, rinsed
    • 2 cups of raw corn, sliced from 2-3 cobs
    • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), chopped the same size as the beans
    • 1 red onion, chopped the same size as the beans
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried mild chile (or chili powder if that's easier to find)
    • 1 clove crushed garlic
    • dash of hot pepper sauce, or to taste
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus a little extra for garnish)
Put all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then pour the dressing over the salad. Mix everything up and marinate for at least a couple of hours and no more than a day or two. Garnish with additional freshly chopped cilantro.