Breathing Greens

Fruits and vegetables, as I am sure you already knew, are living organisms. But rarely do we consider that our produce is actually breathing. Yes, breathing; or rather, respiring. Produce is taking in oxygen, breaking down the complex compounds into energy, water, and carbon dioxide. And unlike photosynthesis, in which carbon dioxide, along with sunlight and water,  is taken in by plants to produce sugar (food), respiration is the process in which plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide, much like muscular breathing.

So, you say, what does all this respiration talk have to do with my daily interaction with produce? Well, if you want to preserve your precious produce effectively, you need to slow down its respiration, or rather, its metabolic breakdown. When the respiration process is happening at a rapid pace, so is its deterioration. Keeping your produce cold and limiting its oxygen supply aids in slowing down the deterioration process. In other words, fruits and vegetables that have low respiration rates, such as potatoes, grapes, and apples, are able to keep well for longer periods of time than produce with high respiration rates, such as ripe bananas, lettuce, and green beans.

When you bring your produce and fresh herbs home from the market, be sure to wash them in cold water. This process not only removes any dirt or debris lingering on the stalks and leaves, but also allows the plants’ cells to fill with water. Plant cells begin to lose their water after picking, which causes wilting. Slowing this process, by keeping the humidity high and limiting air flow, is best achieved by spinning the produce in a salad spinner, wrapping a layer of paper towel around the produce, then placing it in a plastic bag. When stored in such a manner, it is possible to keep your produce for about one week in the fridge, sometimes slightly longer. Plus, whenever meal time comes along, you don’t have to worry about cleaning and drying your produce prior to cooking, saving you a bit of time.

Ever wonder why you are left with soggy, wilted greens when you dress your salad far in advance of serving dinner? Greens are somewhat water-proof, so the culprit of this mushy mess isn’t the vinegar in the dressing, but the oil and salt. Your best bet is to chop all the vegetable ingredients into a bowl, and save the actual dressing for a minute or so before you actually serve the salad.

1 Tbl. unsalted butter
1/4 c. raw pine nuts
1/2 shallot, peeled
1 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. honey
1/2 c. canola, peanut, or mild olive oil
1 large bunch spinach, rinsed and dried
1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
salt, pepper to taste

Melt the butter on low heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for about 2 minutes, being careful to stir and avoid burning the nuts. Transfer the nuts to a paper towel-lined  plate and sprinkle a bit of salt on top. Set aside. Add the vinegar, shallot, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Slowly add the oil. Add 2 Tbl. toasted pine nuts and process the dressing until it is thoroughly puréed. Set aside.

With a sharp knife, remove the orange’s peel, following around the fruit’s contour. Slicing between each inside membrane of the orange, carefully slice 1/4″ slices. Arrange the slices onto a salad platter. Remove the spinach stems and finely chop the spinach leaves, placing them into a large mixing bowl. Toss with the dressing.

Pile the spinach into the center of the salad platter. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve immediately.

Pineapple-Mango Salsa

On New Year’s Eve this past year, a friend brought over a chutney-like salsa that she had purchased at a deli. We were both so enamored by the product that I immediately vowed to recreate it at home, and this is what I came up with. This salsa is so fresh and flavorful, sweet yet tangy, that I just can’t get enough of it.

This salsa can be served with tortilla chips, used as a garnish over fish, or just eaten by the spoonful (which is what I like to do!)

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced (about 1 cup, measured)
1 c. diced pineapple
1/3 c. chopped red pepper
1/3 c. chopped red onion (rinsed under cold water after chopping)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp. finely chopped jalapeño (optional)
a pinch of chili powder (optional)
Salt and pepper

Prep all the ingredients. Combine the mango, pineapple, red pepper, red onion, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño (if using) in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle with the chili powder, a pinch or two of salt, and a twist of freshly ground pepper, then squeeze the lime juice over everything and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour before serving to allow the flavors to mix. Enjoy!

Cucumber Crunch Salad

I often shamelessly glean inspiration for new recipes from the prepared foods section at my local food stores. On a busy night, I’ll pick up a pound of something fresh from the deli, and if it’s good, I’ll try to recreate it at home. The recipe below is loosely based on something I bought from my local Whole Foods store called Mediterranean Crunch, but the version that I made is simpler and better (at least in my opinion). I’ve made it three times within one week (twice for eating at home and once for a larger family get-together), and each time it’s all been consumed right away.

(Yields 4-6 servings)

Salad Ingredients
one cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and diced
1/2 c. chopped red onion, rinsed under cold water
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes (about 1 c., measured)
1/2 c. Kalamata olives, halved or sliced
1 c. cooked garbanzo beans
1/3 -1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. chopped dill

Dressing Ingredients
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar (optional)
salt and pepper

Prep all the salad ingredients and combine them in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or a spouted measuring cup, combine the dressing ingredients, then drizzle it over the salad and stir to combine. Add the salt and pepper to taste (very little is needed).

I love this salad because it is easy, fresh, tasty, and healthy, and the garbanzo beans make it very hearty. It’s great served alone, but to truly make it a meal, it can also be served atop lettuce or a grain, such as bulgur, along with some crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!

Spinach Salad – Nutrition Made Simple

So how does one emerge from the holidays and their aftermath without completely running the nutrition tank on empty? With party after party, it’s certainly easy enough to overdo it on rich foods that are full of sugar, fats, and salt…and within days the effects on our bodies can be felt inside and out. I know that many families, like mine, use the holidays to indulge in some of their less healthy, but favorite family recipes. Well, after a couple days (or weeks) of those rich foods, I found myself going a little crazy on a spinach salad at my sister-in-law’s house the other day instead of filling up on the various tasty, high-fat and carb-heavy offerings available. Now, being pregnant and vegetarian, I am well aware of my daily nutritional needs, and when I go to fill my plate, I’m not happy unless there is a fair amount of green covering it. But this salad was so delicious and so simple that I was thinking about it well into the next day. (Luckily, there were leftovers!)

So here’s the recipe:  baby spinach leaves, chopped roasted red pepper (in olive oil), and some crumbled feta cheese. That’s it! Add a vinaigrette, if you so desire, but, honestly, the oil from the roasted red peppers is more than enough to dress it up, especially if you buy (or make) the kind that is seasoned with a couple garlic cloves.

Granted, I am a huge lover of spinach, and I use it in salads all the time, incorporating all kinds of things, like hard-boiled eggs, onions, tomatoes, berries, sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc. But this one is simple, pretty, and delicious, and it will likely become a new staple on my table.

Tips on fresh spinach:

  1. Unless you can get locally-grown spinach, go for the pre-washed bagged kind. It’s so easy to just pull a handful of it out anytime you want a quick salad.
  2. If you are already a big fan of spinach (like me), don’t bother splurging on the baby variety. The full-grown version is not quite as sweet and tender, but it’s delicious, nutritious, and much more affordable. But if spinach is a new flavor that you are acquiring, or if you are serving it to guests, the baby leaves are probably worth the extra cost.
  3. Baby spinach requires little preparation, but you may want to remove the stems and thick spines from some of the larger leaves of other varieties.
  4. Buy organic, if possible. There’s a lot of surface area on those leaves for pesticides and other chemicals to penetrate.
  5. Never let your spinach go bad. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, and there are so many other uses for fresh spinach that there’s no reason to let it spoil. You can add it to soups, dips, pasta sauces, etc. Just be careful when adding it to something like eggs — a lot of moisture is held in the leaves, which needs to be removed before cooking anything with a delicate moisture balance.
  6. Nutritional information of raw spinach – this food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.*

Healing Essential Oils for the Winter

The following post was written by Claudia Sherwood, who has been a guest blogger on Two Dancing Buckeyes in the past about the health benefits of honey. We hope you enjoy her latest post on honey and essential oils to combat all those coughs and runny noses during cold season. Enjoy!

I am a Reiki practitioner and beekeeper.  I use raw local honey internally (and externally –more on this in another blog). In my Reiki practice I use essential oils for de-stressing and centering, as well as with my volunteer work in hospitals. I also use them in helping my daughter to build immunity, to calm down, and sleep restfully.

I use oils known to be safe for internal use, in honey, and in capsules, as a natural medicine. Please note that many essential oils are adulterated or mislabeled, so I would not consider internal use without knowing proper information on internal or external use, and if you have a health condition you should check first with your health care practitioners.

Aromatherapy in Europe is so highly valued that there are strict requirements for a license in this practice, unlike in the U.S., where practice is generally much looser throughout the country.  However, high quality medicinal grade essential oils and aromatherapy are a highly successful way to heal with low risk of side effects.  So, I have come to feel quite comfortable using therapeutic grade oils on my family internally, with great benefits to our health. My medicine cabinet is lined with essential oils in place of conventional medicine, which I have not used on myself, or on my daughter, for years.  In fact, I also use them in my kitchen!

But how to use them internally and make them palatable? My latest work has been combining essential oils with raw honey. It is a tasty way to deliver the healing oils into our diet.  So a spoon of honey and a drop or two of therapeutic grade essential oil of cinnamon bark or lemon mixed into honey is very good for boosting my family’s immune system. I also use them in my salads, and it’s catching on with my friends.

Claudia’s salad dressing recipe –

2 or 3 drops of essential oil of Lemon (or Orange)

1 drop of Thyme oil

Hemp seed oil as a base

A dash of salt

My morning boost –

Clove: One drop can be mixed with honey for boosting immunity against winter colds, and clove has the highest ORAC on the anti-oxidant scale of any food.  It is great for the health of gums and toothache.  For kids, cinnamon bark is not as strong as clove and can be mixed with honey. I am also creating my own combinations of honey with healing essential oils including cinnamon bark and lemon.

Many so called essential oils available today are commonly mislabeled and/or chemically adulterated and are potentially toxic. For internal use, use only oils with a “Supplement Facts” label included on the bottle. For further information about oils that are safe to ingest, please contact me through my Healthy Living section at:  www.claudiasherwood.com

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

I love to eat pomegranate, so I always become excited when the winter holidays roll around and pomegranates are in season. There’s a certain hidden beauty about pomegranates. When you cut through their unassuming leathery skin, luscious seeds, just waiting to explode with dark red juice, reveal themselves. I have fond childhood memories of myself spurting red juice all over the kitchen while I attempted to remove the seeds from their membrane casings. The intensity of each little pomegranate seed’s juice, followed by the crunchy inner core will forever remain one of my cherished holiday memories.

The spicy, peppery taste of the arugula pairs nicely with the sweetness of the pomegranate. If you don’t have any garlic oil on hand, don’t feel that it is absolutely necessary to run out and buy some. Making your own is ridiculously easy. All you need are 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into fourths. Heat about 1 cup of olive oil in a small butter pan on low heat. Add the garlic and allow its flavor to infuse into the oil. Make sure that you keep the flame as low as possible, or else the garlic will burn too quickly. Continue cooking the oil for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the oil to cool. Strain the oil into a glass container and toss the leftover garlic.

7 oz. baby arugula, cleaned and dried
1/2 a pomegranate
1/3 c. garlic oil
2 tsp. fig balsamic vinegar
2 Tbl. pomegranate seeds
2 Tbl. toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Remove about 2 Tbl. of the pomegranate’s seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, gently squeeze the sliced half of pomegranate, allowing the juices to flow. It’s ok if a few loose seeds fall out into the bowl as well. *Please wear an apron while squeezing the pomegranate. No matter how “careful” I think I will be, I almost always end up squirting bright red juice someplace!* Add the fig balsamic vinegar. While whisking, slowly pour the garlic oil into the bowl. When the dressing is mixed together completely, taste and adjust ingredients according to your taste. Set aside.

Place the arugula greens into a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Pour over the dressing. Toss to coat. Serve immediately. If you would like to dress up this salad even further, feel free to add some small pieces of chopped orange, or even turn the salad into a main course by including some pan fried potatoes with rosemary.

Cranberry Slaw (An Alternative Salad for Turkey Day)

Can it really be that Thanksgiving is only a few short days away?? I checked my calendar yesterday, and realized that indeed, it is. Luckily, this year we are invited over to a friend’s home for the big Turkey Day, so I won’t be stuck roasting, basting, blanching, and baking solely. (Ok, enough crudité, which will be my addition for the planned fiesta, for about 36 people is quite a bit of work, but at least it only requires peeling and chopping!) For those of you who may not want to go the traditional route, I thought I would offer a healthy and extremely tasty salad, which incorporates that quintessential Thanksgiving ingredient: cranberries.

During the winter months, when cabbage is plentiful, I usually make a cabbage salad, with grated carrots, chopped parsley, and fresh lemon juice. But one day, my father, who tends to call me when he’s come across an exciting recipe, was itching to tell me his latest find. Apparently he stopped in for a quick lunch at his local deli, and they were serving a cranberry slaw alongside their sandwiches. My dad enjoyed it so much that he went home and recreated it for a dinner one night. (Hmmm, maybe that’s where I get my obsession with food.) He sometimes adds baked strips of chicken, on occasion, to turn this salad into a main course. However, it could be a welcomed side to just about any main dish.

Whether you end up making this slaw for Thanksgiving, a lunch, or dinner, I hope you enjoy it as much as my father and I do. Thanks for checking in with us. We hope you all have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving. And if you have a few moments to spare, share some time and food with someone you know who may need it. Happy Eating!

Cranberry Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage chopped (red or green)
1/2 c. dried cranberries, or orange flavored cranberries
1/2 c. unsalted peanuts
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 large carrot, peeled and grated (optional)
3/4 cup sweet and sour salad dressing *
salt, pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

*Sweet & Sour Dressing Recipe:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, or liquid measuring cup with a spout. Whisk and chill in the refrigerator. Tweak the ingredients to your liking. I have seen recipes that include celery seed and use dry mustard powder instead of Dijon.

This salad can easily be prepared hours before your meal or event. Just place it in the refrigerator and allow the dressing to nicely blend with the cabbage. Because you don’t have to worry about any of the ingredients wilting, this salad also makes for some fantastic leftovers!

Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh (or tabouli) is a staple in my house.  Not only is it one of my favorite dishes as a vegetarian, but my meat-eating spouse and child love it too!  Tabbouleh typifies many cuisines, particularly Middle Eastern ones.  And as with dialects, customs, and so many other edible treats, the nature of tabbouleh varies from country to country, region to region, and household to household.  Therefore, recipes for this healthy and fulfilling dish are plentiful, but traditionally it consists of a combination of bulgur (bulghur, cracked wheat), fresh herbs, chopped vegetables, spices, lemon, and oil.

Below is my favorite recipe (that I’ve found so far!) for a tabbouleh salad.  It is based on a recipe found in a book called Living the G.I. (Glycemic Index) Diet by Rick Gallop.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chick peas)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
  • large handful of chopped parsley
  • large handful of chopped basil
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • approx. 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil the water in a medium saucepan, then add the bulgur.  Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.  Remove the cooked bulgur from heat and fluff it with a fork.  While it cools, chop your veggies and herbs.  Note:  the cucumber can be peeled, if you prefer it that way.  When using organic cucumbers, I tend to leave the skin on because it contains many healthy nutrients and is high in fiber.  However, peeling may be more advisable for conventionally grown cukes, which carry concerns of wax and pesticide coatings.  Add to the cooled bulgur the beans, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper; pour it over the bulgur mix and toss to combine.  Set the mixture aside to allow the flavors to blend for a couple hours.  Serve at room temperature.

By the way, I often go heavy on the herbs in this recipe when they are abundant in my house, but I don’t recommend skimping on them at all — at least 1/4 cup of both basil and parsley should be the minimum.

I use the chick peas to make this dish more hearty, particularly for the non-meat-eating crowd, although it’s not a traditional ingredient.  Additionally, you can serve this with crumbled feta and over a bed of lettuce.  It is quite delicious this way.

To round out a meal, I recommend serving tabbouleh with Greek meatballs, tzatziki, and a flat bread, such as naan.  With an appetizer of crudités and hummus and a nice bottle of red wine, you will have a dinner that is healthy, yet totally worthy of serving to guests.

Do you have a favorite recipe for Tabbouleh that you would like to share?  Let us know by commenting on this post or by emailing us at twodancingbuckeyes@gmail.com.

How to beat the heat and not go hungry — some tips from a foodie living without central A/C

 

Most of us in the U.S. have been very aware of the heat lately, particularly in the country’s mid-section which has been baking!  But speaking of mid-sections, a family still has to eat, heat or no, right?  I happen to live in a charming old house with a lot of nice features, but no central air conditioning.  So any amount of stove or oven cooking makes my kitchen feel like the surface of the sun.  And since installing central A/C would cost more than most new cars, I have had to learn to live (and eat!) with the heat.

Now, the simple answer is to go out to a restaurant, order in, or just eat a bowl of cold cereal for most meals.  But when the heat drags on, our health, our bodies, and our wallets beg for some cool and nutritious options. The following is a list of my favorite ideas to beat the heat and still eat healthy, homemade meals.  Maybe you have a few ideas of your own that you would like to share — please do!!

1.  Salad, salad, salad!

When it’s hot out, I make as many kinds of cold salads as possible that require little or no heat to prepare.  If you can handle the added steam of a boiling pot of water, potato salads are certainly tasty (especially this one by Ina Garten), and pasta salads are great for using up leftover anything in the fridge, but for me, these are very heavy eating, and the cooking creates too much heat, so here are some alternatives:

  • Green salad –  Of course, for many, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers with dinner every night is a no-brainer, especially when all the fixings are in season.  But try giving your salad a little more “umph” and add some of your favorite nuts and seeds, like walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and flax.   Include some croutons, dried cranberries, or crumbled feta and you can hit all the major food groups.  Not only will your salad turn into a meal, but with those brain-boosting omega-3s, your dinner just got smarter!
  • Corn salad — Try this recipe for a corn and bean salad or check out some other ideas from a TDB post about frozen veggies Yes, if it’s fresh, you do have to cook the corn, but when you do, make extra to cut off the cob and save.  Or just buy a bag of frozen corn!
  • Bulgur Salad — Bulgur (or cracked wheat) is my go-to grain to avoid lengthy cook times and lots of steam heating up my kitchen.  It takes a scant 10 minutes to cook, so I like to make a big batch at the beginning of the week and live off the leftovers.  If you’re new to cooking and eating bulgur, Tabbouleh salad is a classic preparation, but there are many ways to use this delightful ingredient.  It can be combined with just about any vegetable, herb or spice….tonight I made some with a traditional basil pesto — let your taste buds guide you!
  • Crab salad — mix some jumbo lump crab meat with chopped onions, fresh dill, lemon zest and juice, a little Dijon mustard and just enough mayonnaise to hold it together.  Serve it with whole-wheat pita, and watch it all disappear into happy, hungry mouths.  Good crab can sometimes be pricey, so consider frozen, cooked shrimp as a more cost-friendly alternative.
  • Spinach salad — fresh spinach, cut strawberries, red onion, walnuts, crumbled feta, and a raspberry vinaigrette.  Try it — it’s delicious!
  • Wheat berries — fully cooking wheat berries requires 30+ minutes on the stove, but it’s great served at room temperature, and it’s a healthy alternative to starchy options, like potatoes or pasta.  Check out two delicious recipes for wheat berry salads from a friend of Two Dancing Buckeyes.  In our house these always get rave reviews.

2.  Go Raw and Vegetarian!

It’s fortunate that the heat of summer coincides with the harvest season.  Each week I pick up as many seasonal veggies from the farmers markets that can be consumed raw, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, green onions, and tomatoes.  I serve these almost every night with a cold dip, such as tzatziki, hummus, or salsa.  Seeds, nuts, and dried fruit combined like a trail mix also make a filling snack or meal accompaniment.  Take this opportunity to consume more of the foods that are available to eat straight off the tree or out of the ground.  Many veggies are very hydrating and easy to digest.  Meat, on the other hand, is harder for your body to process, which can make you feel hotter.  Best of all, fresh veggies are delicious and good for you and many require no cooking at all!

3.  Friendly Fruit

Of course, eating a lot of ripe, seasonal, and local fruit is also a great way to beat the heat.  While peaches, berries, and melons abound, pack as many as you can into your daily diet.  Blend them with milk and yogurt for a refreshing smoothie snack.  Or top your fruit with a little Greek yogurt and drizzled raw honey, to make a delicious dessert to top off a healthy summer meal.

4.  Iced Coffee

If you are a caffeine addict, like me, chances are that you can’t go without that morning coffee (I never claimed to be without a vice!)  But who wants to put something that is 100+ degrees in the body when it’s 100+ degrees outside the body, too?!?!  Instead, simply make a full pot of strong coffee, and promptly transfer it to a container with a lid.  Add sugar and cream to your liking, shake it up, and let it chill in the fridge for a couple hours.  My preferred ratio is 8 oz coffee / 4 oz milk / 2 teaspoons sugar.  Serve it in a chilled glass the next time you desire a cool pick-me-up.  You can also blend it with ice for a frosty treat or some vanilla ice cream for a tasty milk shake!

5.  Slow Cooking

Many people turn to the outdoor grill as their cooking apparatus of choice when the temperatures are on the rise, but what about some other alternatives to the oven and stove?  Admittedly, I am not normally a huge Crock Pot user, but when it’s hot outside this portable source of heat becomes my friend.  Many recipes can be adapted to be made in a slow cooker, such as baked casseroles, lasagna, and stews.  Find a spot in your house that will not be so affected by the heat (such as an unused room or an enclosed porch), and cook away.

6.  Smoked Salmon

Finally, I have to include my 3-year-old son’s favorite food – smoked salmon.  It can be served many ways, including on salads, in scrambled eggs, with pasta, or between slices of bread.  The sandwich, in particular, makes a great summer evening meal option.  Spread some cream cheese mixed with chopped chives on two slices of toast, then add thinly-sliced cucumbers and a single layer of sliced smoked salmon.  It’s a nice alternative to processed deli meats.  Tip — rinse the salmon briefly with cold water, or if serving with pasta, dip the salmon for just a few seconds in the hot pasta water.  This helps to remove some of the excess salty flavor leftover from the smoking process and loosens the layers of pre-sliced salmon.

What are some of the ways that you have been beating the heat?  Send us an email at twodancingbuckeyes@gmail.com, or comment on this post.  We’d love to hear from you!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion or scallions
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill (optional)
  • zest and juice from one lime or one-half lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the corn, red pepper, onions, herbs, and beans in a large bowl.  Stir together the zest, juice, oil, spices, vinegar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.  Drizzle the dressing over the corn mixture and toss it a few times to combine.  Let the flavors mix for about 30 minutes and serve at room temperature.

Easy, quick, healthy, and flavorful — all describe this tasty summer salad.  Missing some of the herbs?   No problem.  Want to leave out the beans?  It’s up to you and the contents of your pantry.  Enjoy!