Cinco de Mayo, pt. 1: Black bean, red pepper and corn salad with a lime dressing

Cinco de Mayo always makes me nostalgic for the Spanish class I took back in grade nine.  My teacher was one of those fantastically exuberant educators who would bounce around the classroom, laughing playfully as your face contorted as you attempted to pronounce a word.

Our class fell in the second semester of the school year.  Needless to say, that teacher loved Cinco de Mayo.

As I ate my leftover green pepper and mushroom quinoa yesterday for lunch, it dawned on be that it was May 5.  Well that was that – the cardinal rules of food blogging say that a themed holiday must not be overlooked.  Sitting on the floor of my living room (we don’t have a single chair in our house yet), I started sketching out my dinner plans.

(Aside: This whole planning my dinner while eating my lunch thing is starting to become a dangerous trend, I’m practically living from meal to meal)

In true Hilary fashion, I ended up going all out for my fiesta last night.  As a result of my hard work and kitchen toils, I’m going to be doing three different posts, one for each of my three course.  That’s right.  On a Thursday night, I cooked myself a three course meal.  I am the queen of indulgences.

For my first course, I decided to make a salad that was inspired by a nacho dip my mom makes at home.  As my good friend Gord informs me, this is also quite similar to a sante fe salad he made back last September.  Please visit and shamelessly refresh his blog.

I had red pepper and red onion lying around already, meaning that I just had to run out (bike) and get a few more things at the grocery store.  At the last minute, I realized I had accidentally bought kidney beans instead of black beans (I tend to do a lot of incorrect buying, tsk, tsk), so get this – I ran to the corner store that is literally ten steps away from my front door, and bounded back to the kitchen in a record-breaking 30 seconds.  I love my house.

One more thing – in a complete and utter Cinco de Mayo fail, I realized we didn’t have chili powder.  Yeah. I know, what sort of sad Mexican-inspired meal doesn’t have this spice?  Luckily, a combination of oregano, cumin and hot pepper sauce saved my life.  Thank you Yahoo Answers.

The salad turned out to be refreshing and fast/inexpensive to make, meaning that it would be the perfect potluck/BBQ/quick dinner meal for any night this summer.  ENJOY.

PS: Just ate this for a leftover dinner.  The leftovers are actually BETTER.  A little bit of refrigerator chill time will make all the difference.

Recipe: Black bean, red pepper and corn salad with a lime dressing
– 1 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
– 1 1/2 cup canned or fresh corn kernels
– Half a red onion, chopped
– One red pepper, diced
– 2 green onions, chopped
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing
–  6 tbsp lime juice
– 4 tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp oregano
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/2 tsp salt

In a large salad bowl, tossing together beans, corn, red onion, red pepper, and green onions.

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.  Pour the dressing over the bean combination and add parsley.  Toss and enjoy (it’s THAT easy).

Alternately: let the salad chill for a few hours before serving.  This means it’s a great make-ahead or perfect for a late night snack!  So yummy.

Makes four servings.

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