Amidst all my experimenting with new recipes, this simple combination of ingredients never grows old in our house. Though it tastes great any time of year, I find myself leaning on it frequently as the weather warms, whether for a casual family cookout or as a potluck contribution.
For a variety of reasons, the recipe has stood the test of time. It’s versatile, easy, quick, flavorful, healthy, and can be prepared in advance. Plus, whenever I make this, people tend to request the recipe. That’s always a good sign.
I began making this confetti-colored dish to serve as a dip with tortilla chips and quickly realized that the leftovers perked up grilled chicken, fish, and flank steak. When no chips were available, everyone seemed to enjoy it as a salad, too.
As with any good recipe, it has evolved over the years. I’ve tried it with a variety of spices, with and without tomatoes, and using a combination of vinegars and citrus juices. The following recipe is the variation that everyone seems to like the best.
As a bonus, it’s one of the simplest. The salad uses a combination of fresh ingredients and pantry staples and calls for minimal chopping, which can be done in advance. The bright vinaigrette requires a quick squeeze of a lime and drizzle of olive oil and is enhanced with a few spice cabinet standbys. The flavors are pronounced yet balanced enough to allow for easy pairing with a variety of meals.
Yield: 1+ quart or approximately 8 servings
- 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels (or fresh, cooked, and cut off the cob)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (may substitute color of choice or use a mix)
- 1⁄2 cup red onion, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro*
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or hot sauce of choice; use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for flavor with less heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Optional: 1 avocado**, diced
- Combine the black beans, corn (no need to defrost), bell pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients (except the optional avocado) and pour over the black bean mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat.
- Let stand for at least 15 minutes for the corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine–the flavors will continue to improve over time.
- When ready to serve, add the avocado**, if using, and toss. Great as a dip with tortilla or corn chips (like Scoops); as a salsa spooned over fish, chicken or steak; mixed into grain-based or green salads, or as a stand-alone salad.
- *If you don’t care for cilantro, fresh parsley, chives, or basil would all be good substitutes.
- **If you are planning on leftovers, you may wish to use the avocado as a topping rather than stirring it in. The avocado will discolor as it sits overnight in the fridge, although it is still fine to eat.
And because it’s alway s fun to look at the old photos…which looked so good at the time… 😊