June 14th, 2011
I’ve got a problem: I’m all about main dishes. I tend to think of my protein and grain as the main. I also incorporate veggies in the protein and/or grain parts of our meals. So, it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. Still, salads and side veggies are always an afterthought.
Though I’ve committed to working on my problem, it has an upside and this Corn and Black Bean Salad is proof. I’ve become the master of quickie, last minute veggie dishes. This is not a bad thing.
No matter how well you feed your family, it’s hard not to stress about making sure that everyone, especially your kids, is getting enough vegetables. Parents talk to me about this all of the time. It’s why hiding them is so popular! Having a repertoire of quick, versatile vegetable sides that you can serve with dinner is key to alleviating the anxiousness.
Then you just have work on being okay if the kids don’t eat their veggies. That’s a whole othhhherr issue.
This salad is my latest quick veggie side. It’s dead simple and packed with goodness. Of course it’s tasty, too. Tangy lime and bright cilantro give a beautiful lift to earthy corn and black beans. Avocado adds a rich creaminess that makes this feel more like a salad than a salsa. If you like, you can make this even more salad-like by serving it on a bed of tender lettuce. When I want to change this up, though, I add chopped hearts of palm. Yum.
I most recently served this with a Brazilian-style coconut fish stew and white rice. Oh so tropical! This salad also goes well with Mexican food and fits in with most BBQ fare. Throw in some jalapeno and you’ve got a perfect spicy salad for your Father’s Day grill-fest.
I don’t have exact measurements for this one because I truly make it in 3 minutes. I tell myself that I’m going to stop and measure so that I can share this with you almost every time I throw it together, but I seem to only pull this one out when I’m in a rush. So I’m gonna keep it real, because I know you need to, as well. Believe me, though, not having exact measurements will not be a hinderance. I’ve done this lots and you will, too.
PS: This is a great dish to serve kids starting to master smaller finger foods. Can I get an amen for the pincer grasp and practicing fine motor skills!
Corn and Black Bean Salad
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)
fresh lime juice
salt & pepper
frozen corn kernels (frozen grilled corn works nicely, too), thawed
avocado, peeled & chopped
1. To make your vinaigrette, add about 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lime juice, a pinch or two of lime zest, a squirt of honey, salt and pepper to a jar. Seal and shake vigorously until the dressing emulsifies. Taste and add more of whatever you need to get it just right. (If you want a more tart dressing, add lime juice; if you want more pronounced lime flavor, add zest; if it’s too tart, add a bit of honey.) Set aside.
2. Combine corn (if you don’t have time to let the corn thaw on the counter, microwave it for a few seconds at a time being careful not to heat it through) and black beans (use two cans for 4-6 servings, depending on how hearty dinner is). Add cilantro and dressing to taste, toss to combine well.
3. Lastly, stir in the avocado (use 1/2 an avocado for every can of beans). You don’t want to be so gentle that the avocado doesn’t break down at all—it should add creaminess to the dressing—but you don’t want it to get mushy. The pieces should hold their shape. Serve!
*Note: This is a great salad to share with little ones as made, just be sure to pulse to an age appropriate consistency. Outdated guidelines may say that you should hold off on introducing citrus until 12+ months because of it’s high acidity. There’s no research to support that and, especially given that citrus is not a high allergen food, there’s no reason to avoid this salad for little ones. Read here for more on feeding infants and the latest guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics.