Black Bean Salad
Black bean salad is a simple and delicious recipe with a Latin American or Southern USA feel. Corn and black beans are both classic foods native to the American continents. This recipe stands out, too, with its colour: the black of the black beans contrasts with the yellow of the corn, the green of the bell peppers and the red of the tomatoes. Mesmerising! Oh, and did I mention it tastes good?
Black bean salad is a great recipe for summer weather, as it is fresh and cool. It is also filling enough to provide a light meal. If you’re bring it to a party, consider also making some black bean dip with your leftover beans.
3/4 cup dry black beans and 1 tsp baking soda, or a standard size can (15 ounce) of ready cooked black beans
4 cups frozen sweetcorn, or 2 standard size (15 ounce) cans
4tbsp cooking oil (any works, but I particularly recommend sunflower for this recipe)
1 green bell pepper
1 small clove garlic
8 spring onions (green onions)
1 bunch leaf coriander (cilantro)
2 jalapeno peppers
Salt to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
First, prepare your black beans. You can use a can of black beans, but for best results I recommend cooking your own from scratch.
First, soak your black beans overnight. You’ll need to cover them with ample water and one teaspoon of baking soda. Mix briefly, and leave overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Now drain the soaking liquid and add the soaked black beans to a pan with some new water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-25 minutes, until the beans are soft. You can test the beans by leaving one or two on a chopping board until they cool off a bit, then eating them. (See also: How To Cook Black Beans)
While these are cooking, chop your garlic finely. Now add four tablespoons of cooking oil to a pan. Heat it up for a couple of minutes, then add your sweetcorn and the garlic. Fry the mixture on a high heat, stirring constantly. In about five minutes, they should have browned and have a rich, nutty taste. Perfect.
(Note: frying the garlic makes it milder and prevents stomach upsets).
Drain the beans, conserving the cooking liquid for some future time when you may want a rich, flavourful vegetable stock. (It can even stand in for meat stock). Leave both the beans and the sweetcorn to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Chop your bell pepper into 1 1/2 cm (1 inch) squares. Chop your tomatoes in 1 cm cubes. Slice the spring onions; the white bits should be chopped finely, while the green bits can be a bit more chunky. Chop your leaf coriander quite well. Deseed your jalapenos and chop them finely. Squeeze your lime.
Hopefully by this time the beans and the corn will have cooled sufficiently to mix with the vegetables without causing them to wilt. They should be comfortable to the touch. If not, leave them longer. At the last minute, chop your avocado into 1cm chunks.
Mix everything together.
Place in the fridge and leave to sit for one hour. By this time the flavours will have blended wonderfully and it will be nice and cool. Serve!