Fiesta Black Bean Salad
Colorful, tasty, high in fiber, protein, vitamins A & C... This a great dish for so many reasons. It’s healthy, delicious, and infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand—you could use other beans, or different veggies, or a different oil or a different acid. It’s also infinitely adaptable in terms of how you serve it—cold on a bed of lettuce for a great hot-weather salad, or warm as a side dish, or in a big bowl with chips on the side (I guarantee that any vegetarians at your Superbowl party will love you if you have this on the table)… You could fold this into a quesadilla, or layer it with shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream for a great party dish. The possibilities are endless.
2 cans or 4 cups of cooked beans
1 bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
Small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
Minced raw purple onion to taste—people really vary in their fondness for raw onion
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Juice of 1-2 lemons or limes
2-4 T. (or more) olive oil
1 t. high-quality chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
There’s really only a couple of “tricks” here. First, drain the beans really well. The drier they are, the more they will absorb the flavor of the dressing. Second, if possible, toss the beans with the dressing ingredients a day or so ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator. Add in the chopped veggies just before serving—that will keep the colors and textures fresh and clean. Third, taste and adjust the seasonings. This is a good idea for any dish, but especially when beans are involved, because beans can be a little bland, and we don’t want that.
Notes: A fresh tomato would be great in this. It’s also great—but very different—with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers instead of fresh. A roasted chile—an Anaheim or pasilla, maybe—would be wonderful, as would chipotles. You could also use scallions instead of (or in addition to) the red onion, or oregano with the cilantro.