Black Bean Salad with Ginger Tamarind Dressing

A very easy, healthy, and filling salad full of flavor. This keeps well in the fridge, so it’s perfect for lunch over several days. It would also be nice as a side dish at a cookout or pot luck.

3 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup corn
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp rice wine (mirin)
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. tamarind paste
1 tsp. sesame oil

In a large bowl, mix the beans, celery, corn, and shallot. Put the rest of the ingredients in a small jar and shake until blended. Pour over the beans, mix, and serve.

More on tamarind paste:
Tamarind paste comes from the fruit of the tamarind tree and has a subtle, citrusy, sour flavor. It is used around the world but is especially popular in Asian cooking. I use it in this recipe for Malaysian Rendang Curry.

The consistency of tamarind paste can vary widely depending on the brand. Some are runny and others are thick (my curry recipe actually calls for tamarind “pulp,” which simply means a thick tamarind paste). Don’t worry too much about the consistency, however — if it’s too thick, you can always thin it in water; too thin, and you can just use more.

In a recipe like the black bean salad, the amounts are entirely up to you. Change the amounts or even the ingredients based on what you have or can find.

Tamarind paste is available at Asian grocery stores and farmer’s markets, online, and even in the international section of some grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can substitute lime juice mixed with brown sugar.

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