Saturday, July 23, 2011
If there is any time of the year when a big bowl of fresh vegetables sounds good, it's these hot days of summer. I made this salad after a long, overindulgent Fourth of July weekend, as an apology of sorts to my body for eating Doritos, drinking Bud Light and staying up late for several days straight. Hey, I never said I don't eat junk food, in fact, I love junk food. But I try to keep it to a minimum and balance it out with really good, healthy food.
This salad is a great compliment to chicken on the grill, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, or just add some grilled shrimp to make it a meal unto itself. Actually, I think it's a meal with adding any meat, so leave out the bacon and make it for Meatless Mondays. If you leave off the cotija cheese as well, you've got a hearty vegan main dish.
The leftovers can be tossed with some hot pasta or stirred into eggs for a quick frittata. Or you can do what I do and make a huge bowl to eat for a couple days.
Black Bean, Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette
As with most of my recipes, this is a guideline, so feel free to change the quantities and ingredients to suit your taste.
1 14.5 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small onion
1 bell pepper, any color
3 stalks of celery
3 carrots or 1.5 cups of shredded carrots
1 cup corn
1 cup cooked brown rice*
4 strips of crispy bacon
4 oz Cotija cheese**
handful of chopped cilantro
2 limes, juiced (should be about 4 tablespoons)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Dash each of cumin, cayenne, chili powder, salt, pepper, sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
Dice all the vegetables and bacon to your preferred size and throw them in a big bowl with the beans and rice.
For the dressing, combine the lime juice, vinegar and seasonings in a small bowl and drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Adjust amount of oil until you have the consistency you want.
Now, just drizzle the dressing over the bowl of veggies and black beans and stir. Adjust salt if necessary. Top with crumbled cotija cheese and cilantro, and you're done! You can eat it now, but the salad will be better if you let it sit for an hour or two.
*I cook my brown rice in vegetable stock for more flavor.
**Cotija cheese is a crumbly Mexican cheese similar to feta.