South-West Salad

I use the term salad very loosely.  It refers to any and many combinations of warm, hot or cold ingredients tossed together in a bowl and then plated (or just dumped on an eating medium of some kind – sometimes hangry gets the better of kitchen-pretty).  Like some of the other recipes on the site (think veggie burger or kale stem soup), this is more of a general idea than a specific recipe – so get creative, substitute and look at the different variations.

A note on dressings before we get into the actual cooking: the fresher the veggies and the more pronounced their flavors, the less I dress.  But that’s a very personal thing.  Feel free to smother it all in a Chili-Lime vinaigrette or go creamy with a Chipotle-Aioli.  Whichever way you go, if you sauce – make it yourself, your taste-buds and body will both thank you!  Or rather than a classical “dressing”, try a 1/2 cup or so of salsa instead.

Yield: 2 main course servings, 4 as a side

What you need:

  • 1 cup cooked beans (cranberry, black, pinto, kidney, lima, cannellini, anything big)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob (or about 1 cup of thawed frozen kernels – make sure they’re dry rather than soggy though)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • as much or as little coarsely chopped cilantro as desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime juice to taste (or dressing, read the note on dressings above)
  • drizzle of hemp, flax or olive oil to serve (optional, or dressing)
  • warm tortillas to serve (optional)

What you do:

  1. Place the cooked beans, carrot and avocado in a mixing bowl.
  2. Heat a large pan (cast-iron is good) on medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and corn and a healthy pinch of salt.  Stir pretty constantly to avoid things sticking, until you get lovely browned bits on the veggies and they’re cooked through (6-8 minutes).  Add the chopped cilantro, turn off the heat and stir to mix/wilt.                    IMG_1918.jpg
  3. Transfer the contents of the pan to the mixing bowl with the rest of the vegetables.  Mix well, adding lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve, with warm triangles of tortilla, a drizzle of hemp seed oil and extra lime wedges.

Variations (use one or many):

  • Add half a bell pepper, finely diced, either raw to the veggies in the bowl – or cook it up along with the corn and onion;
  • Add a couple of finely sliced scallions to the veggies in the bowl;
  • Add a dozen halved grape tomatoes to the mix;
  • Add 1/4 cup of finely sliced black olives to the salad when tossing;
  • Add some ground roasted cumin and oregano to the pan for extra flavor when cooking the corn and onions;
  • Make things more substantial (and serve more people) by adding a cup of cooked quinoa, farro or rice.  Adjust the amount of seasonings upward.


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