Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sides of Summer

Summer sides around here take the form of cool salads, whether made from potatoes, grains or, one of my favorites, the much-maligned legume. The mention of a bean salad causes most folks to think of those terrible three-bean salads from the grocery-store deli made from canned green and yellow beans, with canned kidney beans and a sickeningly sweet, oily dressing.

So when I ran across this recipe for a black and white bean salad that called for fresh corn, red onion and red pepper, it didn't even take the mention of the cumin vinaigrette dressing to bring me on board. Easy, tasty and ideal even for the vegans in attendance, this salad will be the star of your summer gatherings.

Black & White Bean Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

For the dressing:
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. olive oil

For the salad:
2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained (or 8 oz. dried beans, cooked)
2 15-oz. cans cannellini or navy beans, drained (or 8 oz. dried beans, cooked)
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 15-oz. package frozen corn (or two ears corn, boiled and kernels cut off)
1/4 c. cilantro leaves, minced

Make the dressing by placing the vinegar, mustard, cumin, garlic, pepper and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Slowly pour in the olive oil while processing till mixture is emulsified.

In large salad bowl, combine all salad ingredients, pour the dressing over the top and stir gently. Best when refrigerated for at least one hour before serving.

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