Serve this vegan delight as a starter or a main
The weather is warming up in our part of the world. So? Salad days!
This classic combo of cucumbers and tomatoes is one of our faves. We’ve added black beans and sweet corn, then infused the vinaigrette with lime, cumin, and coriander.
The result? A terrific Mexican-themed salad. You can serve this as a first course, but we prefer to make it a main. Add some crusty bread or tortillas, and you’ll be happy chompers.
Recipe: Mexican Cucumber, Tomato, and Bean Salad
This dish is a cousin of our Tomato, Cucumber, and White Bean Salad.
It’s easy to make this salad ahead of time. You can mix the vinaigrette ahead and chill it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. You can also prep the salad ingredients and mix them together, then refrigerate them for an hour or so before you’re ready to serve. When it’s time to eat, just mix in the vinaigrette and you’re good to go.
Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes. This recipe yields about 3 main-course servings or 6 to 8 first-course servings.
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste; see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano (about twice that if using fresh)
- a few grinds of black pepper
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn (or more to taste)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans (or another bean of your choice)
- 1 bunch green onions/scallions (can substitute half a large onion)
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 red bell pepper (optional; green bell pepper is good, too)
- ~¾ pound tomatoes (or to taste; we prefer cherry or grape tomatoes, but slicers work too)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)
- Mix the vinaigrette: Peel the garlic and mince it finely. Place the chopped garlic in a small, lidded jar or other container. Add the olive oil. Squeeze the lime juice and add it to the container. Add the salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, and black pepper. Shake the mixture vigorously, then taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate the vinaigrette until you’re ready to make the salad.
- Place the frozen sweet corn in a small, lidded microwave-safe dish. Add a couple teaspoons of water, cover the container, and nuke until the corn is done (2 to 4 minutes for most microwaves). Drain the sweet corn into a strainer. Spray the corn with cold water to chill, shake the strainer to remove any excess water, then add the sweet corn to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, open the can of beans. Rinse off the gunk they’re stored in. Add them to the mixing bowl.
- Rinse off the scallions and shake them dry. Remove their root ends, along with their loose first layer. Remove about half of the dark green ends (more if they look wilted). Mince the scallions and add them to the mixing bowl.
- Peel the cucumber, then cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut each half of the cucumber in half lengthwise (again). Then cut slices of about ¼ inch across the width. Add the cucumber pieces to the mixing bowl.
- Wash and dry the red bell pepper, if using. Remove the stem end, then core the pepper and remove the white ribs. Cut the pepper into dice of ½ inch or so, then add the pieces to the mixing bowl.
- Wash and dry the tomatoes. If using grape or cherry tomatoes, cut them into halves or quarters. If using larger tomatoes, cut them into chunks of ½ inch or so. Add the tomatoes to the mixing bowl. (Note: Tomatoes shed a lot of water, so you may want to do this step right before you mix the salad.)
- Wash the cilantro, then spin or shake it to dry. Mince the cilantro and add it to the mixing bowl.
- Stir the contents of the mixing bowl to combine everything. (Note: Cilantro and parsley can discolor, so you might want to do this step right before mixing the salad.) You can refrigerate the salad for about an hour before serving.
- When ready to serve, shake the vinaigrette to recombine the ingredients. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Plate and serve.
- This recipe invites substitutions and quantity adjustments. You might want more cucumber and tomato than we suggest, for instance. Instead of sweet corn, you might want to use green peas. Or string beans.
- If you want a more substantial salad, just double the quantity of beans.
- Don’t want to use black beans? You can substitute kidney beans.
- If you want a spicier salad, add some cayenne pepper to the vinaigrette. Maybe ¼ teaspoon. Or maybe ½ teaspoon of dried chile powder.
- Or, for extra spice and flavor, consider making the green tomatillo vinaigrette that we describe in our recipe for Mexican-Spiced Green Bean Salad.
- Cilantro works well in this dish, but we know many people don’t like it. So feel free to substitute parsley – it adds a different, though equally good, flavor.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If substituting table salt, start with about half as much as we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Bean locked down so long, this looks like up to me,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“That was pretty corny,” I said.
“Careful, cuke boy,” said Mrs K R. “You could be in a pickle.”
“But our love will go on-ion,” I said.
“I fear pun-spiration has struck,” said Mrs K R. “Holy rhymin’ cumin.”
“I’m ridin’ high with my puns and onions,” I said. “Think I’ll call them punions.”
“Gonna bust a move now?” said Mrs K R.
Sure. I’m just a rap-scallion
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