During the summer, I really like having a salad as a side dish, or even as a light meal. Unfortunately, actual "salad"--that is, the lettuce part--makes me really sick. I miss things like Chicken Caesar Salad, and occasionally I'll decide that it's worth feeling sick afterward and eat lettuce, but I've managed to find a few excellent lettuce-free salads to enjoy in the warmer weather.
I first had this delicious black bean salad about....wow, six or seven years ago. My aunt Janny made it when we were visiting. My cousin Julia always used to whine when she made recipes from the Cooking Light magazine ("Is this from COOKING LIGHT?!"); I haven't tried many other Cooking Light recipes, but I imagine that while they're probably delicious to many adults, the palate of a 10-year-old requires more butter, sugar, hamburgers, etc. However, I'm pretty sure Julia didn't complain about this. My mom got the recipe. It's been something I look forward to in the summer every year since then, and though we use the original recipe as a reference we never quite follow it exactly so it's never exactly the same twice. I think that's okay.
I make this in bulk. It still never lasts more than three days in our fridge. My mom and I basically eat it as or with every meal until it's gone, and I'm usually immediately wondering when I should make it again. I made it probably about a week ago (a little bit more) and I think it's time to make more. It's just that delicious. So, without further ado...
RECIPE: Black Bean Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light
-3 15-oz cans black beans
-A handful of fresh cilantro
-A few sprigs of fresh parsley (2-3 tablespoons, probably?)
-3-or-so green onions
-Juice from one lime
-3 large on-the-vine tomatoes (they'll be medium sized tomatoes, but large for on the vine tomatoes.)
-2 ripe avocados
1. Open, rinse and drain the black beans. I leave them in the colander while I chop everything else up so that they drain better. You could put them in a large bowl immediately if you want.
2. Mince the cilantro, parsley and green onions. Put them in a large bowl.
3. Cut the lime into quarters. Squeeze as much juice from you can out of each wedge into the large bowl.
4. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds (sometimes this is much easier if you cut the tomatoes into quarters). Chop them into small pieces, about a centimeter square (fingernail-sized?) and add them to the large bowl.
5. Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the pits. I find it easiest to cut them by leaving them in the peel and using a butter knife to cut cut a grid into the flesh, then scoop that out with a spoon. I usually cut about four lines up and down and probably six sideways for a good-sized "diced" avocado. You could also extract the flesh from the peel and cut there. (By the way, those little avocado tools that do this for you? I think they're pretty useless. You can do it by hand just as easily, and washing a butter knife is a lot easier.) Okay, so add the diced avocados to the bowl.
6. If you didn't put the black beans in the bowl at the beginning, add them now. Stir (gently, so as not to crush the avocado) with a wooden spatula until everything is evenly mixed together.
7. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (longer is okay) before serving. (You don't technically have to do this, but I always think it comes out better if you do. Somehow the flavors combine during this time.)
Mike hates avocado, and he loved this. (I was glad he did; I would hate to make something he didn't like. I haven't so far.) It tastes super fresh and summery (I think that's the cilantro; for some reason it seems like it's definitely a summer herb) and all the flavors in it combine perfectly. You can serve it over lettuce or as-is. I haven't yet fed this to someone who didn't like it, so try it out, and try not to get too addicted.