Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Southwestern Bean Salad

This is my favorite summer salad recipe and has been for a number of years now. I guess you could say it is my go-to dish! I bring it to parties and dinners and people always enjoy it (that is, those who like the ingredients). Joe won't touch the stuff! The tropical fruit and jicama takes it out of his comfort zone. But I can't get enough of it!

In the version I made today, I used mango. I actually was looking for papaya, but the store I visited only had the huge ones, and they were expensive. The mangoes, however, were half price! It was good and ripe too. Really, I like both fruits equally in the recipe, though I've never used both at the same time.

Speaking of tropical ingredients, the one that might be new to some people reading this, is the jicama.

a beautiful

half-naked view

I've heard jicama described as a cross between a potato and an apple. I think that is a good description. It grows like a potato, but the inside is light and crisp. It isn't as bland as a potato in taste, nor is it as sweet as an apple. Mine was about the size of a large grapefruit. But sometimes they are smaller, like the size of a softball. They usually are somewhat flat from top to bottom, like the example picture shows.

I'm going to use my leftover jicama for something else - maybe a jicama slaw, or jicama sticks with some sort of dressing. I only used about half of the smallest one that the store had.

Getting back to the recipe, it came from a book that I purchased in the late 1990's. At the time, and maybe to this day, it was one of the only Mexican cookbooks that listed nutritional information. Since I changed the recipe ingredients and measurements, I don't feel confident showing that information, but I am sure I knocked down the calories significantly since one of the changes I made was to cut the amount of oil in half.

Southwestern Bean Salad
Adapted from The Ultimate Low-Fat Mexican Cookbook

The Dressing:
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
¼ cup light-colored vegetable oil
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. salt

The Rest:
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can small red beans, drained and rinsed

1 small bunch scallions, sliced (green and white parts)
1 ½ cups diced jicama
1 small can of corn kernels, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped mango or 1 cup chopped papaya
1 minced jalapeno (seeds removed)
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

The Process:
Chop-up all of the fruits and vegetables.

Combine them with the beans and corn in a large bowl.

In a small Tupperware, combine the dressing ingredients by covering the dish and shaking really hard. Add it to the rest of the ingredients and toss to coat.

Refrigerate for 4-5 hours before serving.

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