Monday, August 17, 2009

Spicy Summer Black Bean Salad

The days of overflowing gardens and refrigerators full of produce are upon us! What to do with all of those peppers, tomatoes, and onions? I got it! A fresh black bean salad!

On Saturday, the girls and I went to the market to pick up what is not growing in our garden, such as peppers (mine aren't ready yet), cucumbers, carrots, and garlic. While I was picking out a few hot peppers, my girls saw some "pretty tomatoes" that they really wanted to buy. Apparently the tomatoes in our garden aren't pretty. So I bought tomatoes as well.

On the drive home my mind was pairing peppers with quinoa, no. Peppers, cooked, with a sauce, maybe enchiladas, no. How about a cold black bean salad, alright now we're talking. Oh and I could use the tomatoes that the girls just had to have. The mammoth-sized green onions in our garden would go well here too. Now I just need some limes.

How is that for a sneak peek into my mind?

This evening, as I was preparing this salad for dinner, I snitched a piece of pepper. A spicy hot blast of fiery red pepper burnt my lips. Tom walked in the door just at that moment to hear me cussing in front of the kids. He quickly went into the fridge and opened up a bottle of Green's gluten-free beer. "Here" he said, "this will help." I have not had a beer in quite a while but that tasted so good and immediately calmed the fire on my lips.

I thought I was buying a sweet Italian pepper, they look the same, at least I think? I kept them in the salad and thought we would just give it a try. Mixed with everything else it was totally edible and actually quite delicious, but still spicy.

Needless to say I didn't want to serve this to my kids. For them I made mashed black bean and avocado wraps with roasted potatoes on the side.

Read below for helpful kitchen tips.

Happy Summer!

Spicy Summer Black Bean Salad

This fresh salad is full of antioxidants, vitamins (especially vitamin C), and live enzymes (from the raw vegetables). It is low in fat and high in fiber; a perfect cholesterol lowering meal. Serve it for a party or bring it to a potluck. It can also be served in lettuce leaves as a "wrap" or "taco." Serve it over cooked quinoa for a heartier meal. You can also find this recipe in my Nourishing Meals cookbook. 

6 cups cooked black beans
4 cups chopped tomatoes
3 ears raw corn, cut off the cob *
3 spicy peppers such as jalapeno or banana peppers, diced *
1 mild red pepper, diced (such as a bell pepper or another spicy one if you dare)
2 cups sliced green onions or chopped sweet onions
1 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
the juice from 2 limes
2 teaspoons Herbamare (or sea salt)
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin

Place all salad ingredients into a large glass bowl. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a separate small bowl. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss together.

*Tip: To cut the corn from the cob, hold the corn upright over a plate. Use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing action to cut the corn away.

*Tip: To easily remove the seeds from hot peppers, hold the pepper upright on a cutting board and cut away the sides into fourths, leaving the "core." Rinse the pepper pieces under running water to remove any seeds.

*Tip: For info on how to cook beans, please refer to this post. If you do not want to cook your own beans you can use canned beans. 6 cups cooked beans equals about 3 to 4 cans.

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Ali, I haven't had much appetite lately but this looks good to me. Thanks always for sharing your expertise and recipes! ~Debbie

  2. Yum, the recipe sounds great! I make a similar black bean salad that I love. I use either brown rice or quinoa in mine. I love your addition of fresh corn right off the cob, delish.

  3. Oh Ali, this looks perfect! I am making it today! I am a big fan of spice so I would probably use extra peppers. I usually use gloves to seed my peppers, is this what you do? Or do you have any tricks for getting the fire off of your skin? Thanks! :-)

  4. I love the colors of your salad!

  5. Sounds great. I love black beans. You mentioned that you made black bean-avocado wraps for your kids. What kind of gluten-free tortillas do you use? All the ones I've tried are stiff and hard to chew. Any suggestions for softening those buggers up?

  6. Debbie - Must be hot where you live, I never have much of an appetite when it's 90+ degrees (doesn't happen often here)! :)

    Wendy - Thanks, I think mixing this black bean salad with cooked quinoa would create the perfect grain/bean salad. I am sure yours is delish too! :)

    L - Thanks, hope you enjoy! No I don't use gloves, I just deal with my hands burning for a few hours. Rubbing baking soda on wet hands does lessen it though. Sorry I am not much more help here. :)

    Pam - Thanks, this is a colorful meal! :)

    Anon - I do have a number of tricks for softening gluten-free tortillas. I used store-bought brown rice tortillas last night. I did a post on this a few months ago that you can refer to, though what I did yesterday is toss the tortillas over the roasting potatoes in the oven. The combo of the heat and steam from the potatoes softened them very quickly. --

    Happy Summer -Ali :)

  7. We think alike...or maybe all of us who love cooking think like that. I'm always thinking of what goes together, what doesn't. I am notorious for bringing home tons of produce that wasn't on my list but couldn't pass it up.

    I can't imagine you cussing. :)

  8. Amy - I do the same when I am shopping. I walked by the fresh figs the other day while in the co-op and instantly thought about roasting them with a whole chicken, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar. I have always thought that others who create recipes so often like I do must think like this. Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. I made it today using peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and lemons (instead of limes) from our garden. I used frozen corn since I didn't have any on hand. I am sure it'll taste even better tomorrow! We have lots and lots of peppers to use, so I was glad that a simple recipe involving peppers just showed up without me having to search for a yummy one!

  10. Thanks Jennifer, glad you enjoyed it! I am so envious that you have lemons growing in your garden! How fun! -Ali :)

  11. I've not been keeping up. As you can tell I'm going backwards and each recipe I find looks amazing. I have tons of peppers to use up and some corn on the cob. Thanks!


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