I’m going to tell you a secret. I don’t actually like to cook. No, not true–really, I’m just a lazy cook. I love to eat food, I love to talk about food, I love reading cookbooks (cover to cover, like a novel!) and food blogs (so much good stuff out there!) and I devour everything I find on sites like sunset.com and marthastewart.com (even though I am no Martha fan). I love to bake things. But actual cooking, as in, food that might comprise a meal? Meh. All the prepping and the chopping and the stirring and the . . . well, work. I want to like it, really I do! But mostly it just makes me feel tired. I blame it on all the hours I spend in my chocolate kitchen. Could be true.
At any rate, when I do stir myself to cook something that resembles real food, my favorite recipes are the ones I like to describe as “flexible”. As in, exact ingredients and amounts don’t really matter all that much, as long as you stick to the concept. As in, I make one thing, and it can turn into all kinds of different meals. Flexible, simple, and yummy–that, I can do. This recipe is all of those things. Make it with just one can of corn and one of beans. Make it with a green pepper. Toss in a carrot, leave out the peppers. Trade parsley for the cilantro. Spice it up with a minced jalapeno. Do whatever you like to make it yours. Just make it. You’ll thank me later.
This dish is a fabulous side for almost anything–grilled chicken, fish tacos, pork tenderloin. Or, toss it into a cheese quesadilla. Scramble it up with some eggs and cheese for breakfast, or fold it into an omelet. Eat it warm, cold, or room temp. And feel good about it, because this is a dish that is as healthy as it is yummy!
I picked up this recipe from a friend (who hails from Texas, natch) a few years back, I have no idea of the original source. And since I make it from memory now, it may not be all that close to the original anyway!
Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 can sweet corn
- 2 peppers (I used red and yellow, use what you like)
- 1/4 cup or so of minced red onion
- 1/4 cup or so of minced cilantro or parsley
- juice of one lime
- olive oil
- garlic powder
- kosher salt
Drain and rinse the beans and corn; place in a large bowl. Chop the peppers, mince the onion and cilantro (see tip below). Add to the bowl and toss to mix. Squeeze the lime over the top of the mixture and drizzle with olive oil (approx 1 tbsp). Sprinkle with cumin and garlic to taste–start with approximately a 1/2 tsp each and go from there. I use around a teaspoon of each. Throw in a pinch or so of kosher salt, mix well. Taste and adjust your seasonings as needed.
Tip: to easily mince herbs like cilantro, start by cutting off a small bunch and placing it in a coffee mug or drinking glass. Take a pair of kitchen shears and hold them with the points down, with your thumb and forefinger through the finger holes (however is most comfortable for you). Use the shears to chop the herbs, using an up-and-down and stirring motion while you open and close the blades. Works like a charm, very fast, and doesn’t bruise things the way a knife does. Of course I forgot about this method until I was mid-way through chopping up my cilantro with a knife, and being very frustrated by it.