Friday, December 24, 2010

Black Bean and Toasted Corn Salad

Yes, I know that salads aren't exactly winter fare. But what can I say? When the body wants a salad, the body gets a salad.

Of course, I'm not about making any sissy salads that consist of some lettuce and fat-free dressing. No thank you. That is not a meal, my friend. That is a sad side salad found in a non-veg restaurant. My salad are meals. They include complete proteins, vitamins from the first half of the alphabet, a variety of texture, and a mad amount of flavor. They are the salads that make you fell full, satisfied, and proud to be a veggie-lover.

This salad is pretty easy to prepare. It's nothing that fancy. In fact, you can toast the corn while you prep the veggies and everything will be done at the same time. If you don't have any leftover grain, both quinoa and bulgur are pretty quick to cook. I personally recommend the quinoa in this recipe. Black beans and quinoa were meant to be together! This recipe is sized to make about two large salads, so you can share with a friend!

Black Bean and Toasted Corn Salad:
1/2 a green pepper, diced
1/2 a red pepper, diced
1/2 a red onion, diced
1/2 a cucumber, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, or 4 campanari tomatoes (super tasty!), chopped
1 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. cooked leftover grains, such as bulgur, brown rice, or quinoa
2 romaine hearts, cored and chopped
1/2 a bag of fancy romaine blend (with romaine, carrots, frisee, and radicchio), or more romaine
2 Tb. raw or roasted sunflower seeds
1 recipe Toasted Corn

Toasted Corn:
2/3 c. frozen corn, thawed, and squeezed dry with a paper towel (I nuke it in the micro for about a minute)
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked or regular paprika
Nonstick spray

To make the toasted corn:
In a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, place the corn in a single layer and dust with the spices. Toast over medium-high heat until the corn is dry and slightly blackened and spices are fragrant. About 5-7 minutes. You'll need to stir the corn around occasionally.

To assemble the salads:
Thoroughly wash all the ingredients, and prepare as specified above. Layer all the ingredients, starting with the lettuces and then up through the grain, the beans, and the rest of the vegetables. Top with the toasted corn and the sunflower seeds.

There is a strategically placed fork in this photo. 

Not gonna lie, my salad is lacking the grain, because it was 8:30 at night, I'd been away from home all day, and I was ravenous. However, I've made this salad many times and I like it best with some quinoa added to it.

I've been eating the salad with a champagne caper vinaigrette (which is what is in the photo). It's made with capers, agave, champagne vinegar, dijon mustard, and garlic. I need to get it perfect and then post the recipe on here for this salad. However, I used to just eat it with salsa, and that is just as good. I prefer the ChiChi's brand of salsa for salads because it's pretty tomato-y (meaning, I don't exactly recommend it for chip dipping, lol). The toasted corn really gives it a little something special.

Also, feel free to add alfalfa sprouts and avocado chunks. They're also good with this particular salad blend.

Anyway, have a great Christmas! I hope everyone remembers to eat their veggies! Bwahaha!!

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