You’ve heard about Texas Caviar, Cowboy Caviar, Bean Dip or whatever, right? You probably make it or at the very least, have eaten it. This isn’t exactly that…it’s really a riff on my mother’s Three Bean Salad and we could consider it “friends” with my Three Bean Salad with Potatoes and Corn. What makes this salad different? It has those lovely Tex-Mex flavors. I’m not a big fan of beans and rice, but give me a bean salad and I’m there to the very end…of the bowl! Chips are good, too. Yeah, The Goddess has never really met a bean salad she isn’t just crazy about. The texture, the flavors and it’s just so damn easy and it keeps well. Truly. What’s not to love? The Three or Four Bean Salads of the 1960’s and 70’s were good. My mother made her version all summer long and we always loved that sweet and sour-type vinaigrette that bathed her salad. It’s still a great salad. And I still love it. However, this salad, though it’s pretty much the same salad ingredients, but the dressing and the seasonings are different. I use a fraction of the oil that she used and I think the salad is even better. It’s less heavy, but still loaded with flavor.
What I’ve given you are approximate amounts. Use more. Use less. Omit some things…whatever works for your taste buds. I do like the jicama, as it adds texture and just a bit of sweetness that balances the lime juice. And usually there are some jalapeño peppers, but I decided to use the Candied Jalapeño Peppers. I’m really happy with that choice. The added sweetness played well with the lime juice…balance. You’ll find if you toast whole cumin seeds, then use your handy, dandy mortar and pestle to crush them up, the flavor will be spectacular. I kid you not. It makes a huge difference.
This is an easy salad. You simply put everything in a bowl. Just dump it all in. And in that small bowl at the top of the picture, is your vinaigrette. Just pour it over and stir it all together. It’s best to make this salad a few hours ahead, cover and chill so the flavors can meld, mingle and just get down and dirty. I thought it might be good with a Cuban Sandwich…I sensed a theme. They worked very well together.
And finally, I never, ever use tomatoes in this salad unless it’s going to be eaten in one sitting. And I only add tomatoes when they are in season, right out of the garden. Refrigerating a tomato destroys so much of the flavor, I prefer to just leave them out. If you know you aren’t going to polish off the entire salad, and you want to add tomatoes, then remove what you think you’ll use and add the diced garden tomatoes just before serving…that works, too.
South-of-the-Border Bean Salad (or Salsa)
For best flavor, make at least 2 hours before serving. Keeps for at least 1 week in a tightly covered container in the fridge.
- 15-ounce can black beans, well rinsed and drained
- 15-ounce can red kidney beans, well rinsed and drained
- 1 ear of corn, cooked and kernels removed (do not use frozen corn)
- 4 scallions, chopped or about 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 ribs celery, diced (I like the finer interior ribs—about 1/2 cup)
- 2/3 cup peeled and diced jicama
- 1/2 cup diced radishes (about 4 large)
- 1/2 cup finely diced bell peppers (you may use a mixture of colors)
- 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes (optional)
- 3 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, chopped (add to your taste)
- 1/3 cup chopped green stuffed olives
- 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons good flavored olive oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 large limes)
- 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet or hot paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated garlic (about 1 large clove)
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin, (toasted if possible)
- Kosher salt and pepper as needed
Dump everything but the vinaigrette into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; taste and adjust to your preference. Pour the dressing over the salad; toss gently to combine.
NOTE: It is best to make the salad at least a couple of hours before serving. The flavors need to develop and co-habitat a bit. Feel free to change the beans to whatever you prefer—pinto, cannelini, garbanzo, etc. Also, this will keep for at least a week, in an airtight container in the refrigerator. But, it won’t last that long! You can serve this with corn chips, tortilla chips or plantain chips…or by itself. This is a great summer salad and is perfect along side a Yankee Cuban Sandwich any time of the year!
South-of-the-Border Bean Salad (or Salsa) Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
I make an Italian Three Bean Salad, which is a riff on this one. Remind me to make that and share the recipe with you. These are such good summer salads…or anytime-or-the-year salads!