Inspiration for meals can come from many different places. This black bean and corn salad was inspired by the bunch of beautiful cilantro that came in my first vegetable CSA (community supported agriculture) box this season.
Cilantro is often used in Mexican food. So is corn. I have some sweet, incredibly tasty corn in my freezer from a local farm. The corn was processed at the farm right after it was picked last summer and it tastes just like corn on the cob at the peak of the season. I knew I had to use it for this dish.
I chose black beans and bell peppers to round out the salad. For the vinaigrette, I chose limes. Limes, cilantro and corn. You can’t go wrong with that combination. And so this Mexican inspired black bean and corn salad was born.
During the summer, I love serving salads as a meal. On a hot day, I don’t want to slave over a hot stove or turn on the oven. Salads are a great alternative. There is no need to be limited to leafy green salads, as this black bean and corn salad shows. It’s packed with protein and fibre, so makes for a satisfying meal. I served mine in tortilla bowls, making it really feel like a meal. Alternately, you could forego the tortilla bowls and serve it as a side to accompany grilled meat or tacos.
I highly recommend squeezing your own fresh lime juice for this vinaigrette. I always keep a few limes in the fridge, because fresh lime juice has such a nice flavour compared to bottled.
A quick tip to get the most juice out of your citrus fruit, in this case, the limes. Take your limes out of fridge a few hours before you need them (you can even take them out in the morning before going to work) to let them get to room temperature. Before cutting limes to juice them, roll them between your palm and the counter, gently pushing down. This technique will produce much more juice than if you use cold limes.
Recipe: Mexican Inspired Black Bean and Corn Salad
- ¼ cup (60 mL) lime juice (from 2 to 3 large limes)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- Squeeze lime juice into medium size bowl, removing any seeds. Add cumin, paprika, chili powder and salt. Whisk.
- While still whisking, gradually pour in olive oil and whisk until well blended.
Black Bean & Corn Salad
- 1 ½ cup corn kernels
- 1 can (19 oz, 540 mL) black beans, no salt added
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced small
- 4 green onions (scallions) white and green parts, finely chopped
- 2 cups packed cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped
- Lime vinaigrette
- Tortilla bowls, optional
- If using frozen corn, add ½ cup water to small pot. Add corn and bring water to a boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and let corn cool to room temperature.
- In large bowl, add black beans, peppers, onions, cilantro and corn. Mix all ingredients together.
- Stir lime vinaigrette and pour into salad bowl. Toss until all ingredients evenly coated.
- Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving, so that ingredients absorb flavour of vinaigrette.
- If serving as a main dish, serve salad in tortilla bowls.