Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cool Beans: Cilantro Vinaigrette Bean Salad

School bells are ringing, the days are getting shorter, and the temps are dropping...sort of. While autumn is nipping at summer’s heels, and a slight chill is wrapping itself around the morning hours like a light cardigan, there is still time to have a picnic or outdoor barbecue. 

Side dishes have always been my favorite part of any outdoor feast, but it’s been my experience that the traditional Bean Salad has never been a huge crowd pleaser. The dressing is always watery, and often a little too vinegary for my taste. I’m not a big fan of canned wax beans, and can’t understand why they are often included in this dish. 

This Bean Salad below is a tasty twist on the classic. The Cilantro Vinaigrette is a bit thicker than the standard sweet/sour dressing, thus the beans don’t get as soggy. It can be prepared ahead of time and added to the rest of the ingredients just before serving.  The combo of beans can vary according to your taste. I like to use a variety of colors and sizes. The corn also adds color and a bit of crunch.

Head outside and warm your face in the sun for just a little while longer.  Don’t forget the  sunscreen...and the picnic basket.

Cilantro Vinaigrette Bean Salad

1/2c. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until almost smooth

1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1/2 large red onion, minced
Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top.  Gently mix until everything is well coated with dressing.

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