Southwestern Bean Salad
This is taken from Michael Smith’s “The Best of Chef at Home: Essential Recipes for Today’s Kitchen“. I loooove this book. Love it, love it. There aren’t a lot of recipes in the book (about 120) … which means over the two or three years I’ve owned it, I’ve made just about everything in there, and have loved nearly all of them.
This one is a great favourite, and shows up at least once a month in our home.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) hot sauce
one can (398 mL, 14 oz) mixed beans, rinsed well
1 cup corn niblets
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 basket of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, thinly sliced
handful of green beans, steamed and cut into bite-sized pieces
a bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard and hot sauce. Add everything else, toss to combine. Serve immediately or let sit a few hours. I prefer it at room temperature, but you can refrigerate it if you like. (Ours rarely lasts for left-overs!)
A few notes:
the original recipe calls for half a cup of oil. In the interests of reducing calories and being heart-smart, I reduced it to a quarter cup and it tastes just fine to me! Any less than that, and while the flavour is still good, the gorgeous creamy texture of the oil-with-canned-beans is compromised. Texture is hugely important to me with my food; if it’s not so important to you, you might try reducing it further.
Cherry tomatoes are quite expensive here in February. I use four or five of the less expensive plum tomatoes, chopped. (In the winter, regular tomatoes, shipped up from California or Mexico, taste and feel like paste in the mouth. They’re just gross. Plum tomatoes retain more texture and flavour, though they’re still not great. Let’s face it: tomatoes are really best eaten seasonally, and local! The toddlers don’t tend to like tomatoes at the best of times (AUGUST!!), so when I’m making it for them, I reduce the number of tomatoes and up the amount of corn, which they love.)
The original recipe also calls for yellow wax beans, but I hate them (a texture thing), so I skip them. (Yes, I make them eat tomatoes, but don’t make myself eat yellow beans. When the toddlers get to the point that they’ll eat everything I serve without complaint (three, usually) they’re allowed the occasional opt-outs, too.)
Red onions come in an enormous range of sizes. Obviously, you put in as much as you want and no more.