Black Bean and Summer Vegetable Salad


Making dinner in the summer can be so easy. Even if it’s too hot to cook or I barely have time, I don’t have to do much work when I have summer vegetables in the fridge. With my CSA share, I don’t even have to think about which vegetables to use, I just have to decide the best ways to use what I’ve got.

Though improvising and tossing ingredients together is the way I most often make dinner, I am trying to remember to flip through the pages of a cookbook once in a while. I turn to cookbooks for meal ideas more often in winter when I have the time and the desire to turn on the stove. So many recipes are best, though, with good produce which needs to be used now. I’ve been looking at Plenty, Supernatural Cooking, and Local Flavors to make sure I don’t miss the chance to make something really good when all of the ingredients are in season.

The recipe I have here today is something that I throw together regularly. It’s one of our favorite summer salads which didn’t come from a cookbook and hardly requires a recipe. I wanted to share it because it takes minutes to put together and can be used in so many ways. It’s basically a mess of black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, corn and, to get a bit exotic, avocado and lime juice. Eat it as is, wrap it in a tortilla or a leaf of lettuce, or scoop it up with a chip.

What are your favorite summer meals?

Black Bean Salad
I guess this is a salad, but the first time I made it we ate it in taco shaped lettuce leaves with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. When I made it earlier this week, I needed a more substantial meal, so we had it with whole wheat tortillas. I think it is hard to go wrong with these ingredients, so use as much or as little of each as you like and toss in anything else you want.

2-3 ears of sweet corn
2 cups cooked black beans
1-2 tomatoes or 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper

Slice the kernels off the sweet corn cobs with a sharp knife (hold the cob upright with one hand and carefully slice the kernels off, moving the knife downwards. Doing this in a bowl keeps the kernels from going everywhere). Combine the corn, beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, avocado and lime juice in a bowl. Toss to distribute everything evenly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Adjust flavors and vegetable amounts as desired. 

Makes a large bowlful. Serves 2-3 as a meal, 4-6 as a side.




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