Monday, March 15, 2010

What's for Dinner: A New Spin On Black Bean and Corn Salad

Sometimes, I'm too darn lazy to take much time to cook. One of my favorite go-to "quick" dinners is black bean and corn salad:

1 can corn (I use Niblets), drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 - 1/2 red onion, chopped (optional)
fresh cilantro, chopped
avocado, diced (optional)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)
extra virgin olive oil (optional)
juice from a lime
chicken, chopped (optional)
mango, diced
diced yellow or red bell pepper (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the corn, black beans, onion (if using), cilantro, chicken (if using), bell pepper (if using), and mango. Mix in the lime juice and the hot sauce (if using). If a little more liquid is desired, use a little bit of olive oil or more lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If serving immediately, mix in the avocado and serve.

I love this dish because it scales well to make more, it can easily be made vegetarian (by omitting the chicken), and it is great as a leftover. Recently, I ran across a recipe on the Budget Bytes blog that put a spin on my "classic" recipe: instead of mangoes, it uses roasted sweet potatoes and also adds some roasted poblano peppers. The recipe, as I made it, is:

2 large (about 2.5 lbs.) sweet potatoes
2 large poblano peppers
one 14 oz. can black beans
1 can corn
1/4 diced red onion (optional)
1 medium lime
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch cilantro
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees on the broiler setting. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray your poblanos with non-stick spray. Place the baking sheet with the peppers about 4 inches below the broiler coils. Roast the peppers under the broiler for 15 minutes on one side, flip them over then broil for another 5 minutes on the other side. You want the skin on the peppers to be all blistered and blackened. This will give them a nice smokey flavor. Don't worry, you will be peeling away the charred skin.

2) While the peppers are roasting, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into even chunks about one inch square. Place the chunks in a bowl and toss them together with 3 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of salt and about half a bunch of chopped cilantro leaves. Mix it all up until the sweet potato chunks are well coated.

3) When the peppers come out of the oven, put them into a resealable freezer bag and let them cool. The peppers will steam themselves in the bag as they cool allowing you to easily peel away the skin.

4) Turn the oven from broil to bake (still on 400 degrees), pour out the bowl of sweet potato chunks onto the baking sheet that was used for the peppers, and roast the sweet potatoes for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

5) Drain and rinse the can of black beans. Drain the corn. Finely chop 1/4 of a red onion (if desired). Put the beans, corn and onion together in a bowl. When the poblanos have cooled, peel off their skin, open them up to remove the seeds, seed pod and stem then cut the flesh into chunks. Put the chopped poblanos in the bowl with the other vegetables.

6) When the sweet potatoes are done, let them cool for about 10 minutes. In the mean time, chop the other half of the cilantro, and juice the lime. Mix the sweet potatoes, cilantro and lime together with the rest of the ingredients and serve. This dish can be eaten warm or cold!

I had an issue with my broiler, so it didn't quite roast the poblano peppers like I would have liked, but I felt that the sweet potatoes worked well in this dish, and added a new texture. I didn't get a ton of flavor from the poblanos, but they added volume. I think next time, I'd use 4 poblanos.

The website also suggested using this salad in an enchilada, by putting a bit into a tortilla, adding cheese, then rolling and topping with enchilada sauce and more cheese. I did this, making 6 enchiladas, and found it to be surprisingly tasty. I wasn't sure how the cheese and enchilada sauce would work with the salad, but it was much better than I thought it would be.

So there you have it. 2 black bean and corn-based salads. 3 dishes. A lot of flavor. And a good bit of health. :)

1 comment:

Dodgerchick said...

Sounds yummy! I love me some bean salad.