Thursday, January 20, 2011

Southwestern Salad

It's not summer but I feel like the 'Salads of Summer' section of La Pure Mama is as neglected as a red headed step child, and it's one of my favorite sections so I bring you a salad. In the middle of winter.

I find myself severly lacking in the fresh fiber department lately so I have been making a conscious effort to make it a pre-requisite for our meals. Fresh fiber first; that's what Dr. Chestnut says and Dr. Chestnut is not only really really ridiculously good looking, he is also a very healthy (or 'normal' as he would say) and intelligent man.

This delicious little jewel of a salad came about rather randomly, as most of my dishes do. We were headed to a dinner get together last week and my charge was salad. And wine...

Of course, originally I was going to make an actual green salad just like the one Miss Victoria brought over for dinner with the Peens a while back; man that was a good salad. But as I got started, it morphed into a cool 2011 version of a classic coleslaw. Only better. And way more interesting. And much healthier. And funner!

Our dear friends were making empanadas so I conjured up some southwestern inspiration and threw together this simple, yet fun and colorful dish bursting with fresh vegetables, black beans, roasted corn and a tangy cumin garlic dressing. Serve it with homemade tortillas if you like, because they make awesome 'scoopers'.

For the dressing:

1/4 cup, plus a little more extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup, plus a little more apple cider vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced fine
1 Tablespoon cumin (add more or less depending on your taste... I love cumin)
pinch red pepper flakes (add more or less depending or your spice habit)
pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

For the salad:
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
3/4 english cucumber, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bag shredded cabbage
1 to 1 1/2 cups roasted corn (you can roast yourself or get the frozen roasted corn from Joe's and defrost it)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Optional add ons:
Queso fresco (I added it to the non-vegan's salad)
1 batch fresh homemade tortillas

In a shakeable jar, aka mason jar, old olive jar, etc... combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Seal jar and shake really well. Let the dressing sit for a few minutes then shake again. Repeat this process while you chop your veg/prepare the rest of the salad. The longer you let the flavors marry, the happier you will be with the dressing.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine onion, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, cabbage, corn and black beans. Stir gently to combine. Don't smash the beans.

If you are going to serve this right away, go ahead and dress it; if not, take it with you or set aside until you are ready to serve. We traveled with our salad so I brought everything with me and dressed it 8-10 minutes before we were going to eat. This salad is hearty enough that you can dress it a little early without fear of wilting.

If you are going to use queso fresco, top salad (or individual portions) with crumbled queso fresco. Serve homemade tortillas on the side for easy scooping.

This salad goes perfectly with empanadas, tacos, etc.. It would also be a great filler for tofu tacos or the like. The tang of the cumin dressing is the perfect partner to the crunch of the cabbage, fresh flavor of the vegetables, sweetness of the roasted corn and heartiness of the black beans.


Black Bean


  1. sounds delightful, we dont eat enough salad here. anything with cilantro I just LOVE

  2. Mmmm yummy. Interesting spices in the dressing.



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