Being mindful about your diet can have unintended consequences on your social life. You know the drill…an invitation to a potluck or a picnic arrives and in your mind’s eye you see the overloaded table full of pasta salads, potato salads, salami platters, and barbecued spare ribs. Sigh. Then you see your whole week of hard work going off-track – plus it’s hard to know what dish you could share that will honor your commitment to healthy eating but still be appetizing to others. Groan…so you decide to take the easier course and stay home instead. But no more! Here’s a delicious, healthful, quick, and easy salad that you can happily take to share with others.
The salad is colorful, so it’s attractive, and it requires no cooking, so it’s easy to transport. This version of the salad is vegetarian, so you don’t have to worry too much if it warms up to room temperature. It’s economical to make, so you don’t have to worry about your bank balance! On top of all these things, it’s full of healthful ingredients that taste great.
If you don’t usually include beans as part of your daily diet, don’t jump in feet first! Start off slow, with small quantities, and work your way up to eating them regularly. Our bodies do get used to them, and gassiness becomes less of an issue. Some brands of canned beans (such as Eden Organics) include kombu seaweed, which also help reduce gassiness (and has no impact on the flavor of the beans). If you use canned beans (as I did), look for cans that are BPA free, or for tetra packs. BPA is a chemical (of “concern” to the FDA), which is used in the lining of cans and is suspected of leaching into the can’s contents.
Whenever possible, use organic corn. Most corn in the US is genetically modified (GMO), so if the package or marker doesn’t say “non-GMO” or “organic” you can assume that it has been harvested from genetically modified plants. The chances are that if the corn is non-GMO, it’s also organic, but you should look at the label to be sure. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to buy wholesome corn (and a ton of other health-friendly produce). Many products include corn, so be sure to look for the organic label on things like corn tortillas.
For the most part, when people look at a salad they’re deciding whether it seems fresh, crunchy, and appetizing. Most people don’t analyze the salad for its nutrient content. But if they did, they would be impressed with what they’d find in this dish.
Yields 16 servings
Serves 16 servings
Black bean power salad | Foodie Friday
A healthy and colorful salad that's perfect for a picnic or your daily quota of beans...
If using fresh corn, add to boiling water and cook for 1 minute, drain and rinse in cold water.
If using canned beans, drain and rinse well under cold water.
Place the chopped onion into a sieve and briefly rinse under cold water. Drain well. (Skip this step if you enjoy a strong onion flavor.)
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
In a large bowl, add the beans, corn, onion, and bell pepper.
Pour the dressing over and mix to combine.
Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for a couple of hours to chill and to integrate the flavors.
Just before serving, finely chop the cilantro and mix into the salad.
Taste, and adjust the seasonings as preferred.
I used Eden Organics canned organic black beans; this brand includes kombu (a type of seaweed) which helps to minimize gassiness. Don't feel constrained by the beans I used; the recipe is versatile and you can use any bean that you enjoy.
This is a low-calorie salad that’s perfect to take to work for lunch, or to a picnic for sharing.
If you use canned beans and frozen corn, it will take you 15 minutes to assemble the entire dish!
The salad is very forgiving because you can use whichever type of beans, color of bell pepper, flavor of olive oil and vinegar that you enjoy — make the dish your own!
When you use canned beans and frozen corn, you can enjoy this summery salad during the depths of winter for an easy lunch or snack.
You can add other ingredients to the salad to make it into an even heartier entree salad — chopped cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and tempeh would all be good additions.
The salad keeps well in the fridge for up to three days.
What’s good about this recipe
The black beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro bring an impressive array of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Canned beans lose almost no nutritional value during the canning process, so you can enjoy the convenience without worry.
Beans and corn each contain a wonderful balance of protein and fiber, which help to regulate the absorption of sugar into your blood and prevent blood glucose spikes.
Fiber is an essential ingredient in our daily diet. It not only reduces the chance of constipation, but it’s vital for flushing toxins, cholesterol, and fat from our systems.
Nutrition label for black bean power salad
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