Tropical Vegetable Salad

tropical vegetable salad with black beans

When Mark and I started dating, he wanted to impress me by making a vegan lunch. And impress me he did! I figured any man who was not vegan but was willing to make me a vegan lunch was worthy of consideration. We recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary… and this tropical vegetable salad was part of what sealed the deal.

This amazingly versatile salad highlights our fresh vegetables and one of Guatemala’s national foods, black beans. You can vary this recipe in dozens of ways. Don’t have black beans? Use any other beans instead. Add this salad to a grain, such as rice or quinoa, for a heartier version. Mix it into soups, or add it to a tofu scramble. Add sweetness with chopped mango. Make it into tacos…you get the idea.

Since we use this salad in so many ways, we don’t add a dressing to this salad until we’re ready to serve it. Try it with a light vinaigrette, a chunky mango salsa, or as shown here with our rich and creamy avocado dressing.

I cook the corn first, then use the same water to cook the green beans and carrots. The remaining cooking water makes a great stock for soups or cooking rice. Have an ice water bath ready to stop the cooking of the corn and green beans when they reach the perfect level of tender-crispness.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 ears sweet corn, husks removed (frozen corn is acceptable)
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in 1″ lengths (or substitute snow peas!)
  • 1 red bell popper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (or other beans of you choice), rinsed and well drained
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Boil the corn on the cob until it is tender-crisp. Remove from the pot and allow to cool while you cook the carrots and green beans.
  2. Place the carrots in the boiling water and cook until tender-crisp. Remove from the pot into an ice water bath until completely cooled, then remove from the ice water and drain. Place the drained carrots in a large mixing bowl.
  3. While the carrots cool, put the green beans in the boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, then remove from the pot into the ice water bath (you may need to add more ice). When cool, drain the green beans and add them to the mixing bowl with the carrots.
  4. Cut the cooled corn off the cob and add to the mixing bowl with the carrots and green beans.
  5. Add the black beans and onion to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  6. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro if desired.
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