I just came up with this recipe after testing two others that had been in my cookbook for years — and deciding I liked neither. What I wanted was a black bean salad that focused on the beans, with a little bit of of crunch and a lot of flavor, so I just mixed together the things I liked and wound up with a winner. I should have done it that way all along.
The flavor is a bit Tex-Mex (I seem to be on a southwestern kick lately). Adjust the chili powder to your liking — I accidentally made mine hotter than I intended, but I love it, and that’s the amount represented here. You can also add whatever other ingredients you like to make it your own — onion, chopped chicken, grated cheese, tortilla chips, or lettuce would all be very nice.
Serves 2 (easy to double)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 red peppers, chopped
About 10 sprigs of cilantro (fresh coriander), finely chopped
1 tsp. grated lime zest
2/3 avocado, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder or cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!
This southwestern chicken salad won my cook-off at home last night. It looks and tastes like a main-dish salad at a restaurant — big, delicious, with bite-size pieces and plenty of crunch. The recipe calls for cooked chicken, which makes this a great way to use up leftovers. If you don’t have leftovers to use, I recommend placing some chicken pieces in boiling water until cooked through, then chopping or shredding it as desired.
Serves 4-5 as main dish
6 cups Romaine lettuce, torn in pieces
4 oz. corn tortilla chips, crushed by hand, with a few whole chips saved for garnish
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. chili sauce (use a thick opaque one — I like Nando’s Hot Peri-Peri Sauce)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, like Tabasco
2 cups chopped or shredded chicken meat (from roughly 4 chicken breast halves)
5 green onions, chopped
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and rained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and sliced into thin wedges, then halved
2 tomatoes, cut into think wedges, then halved
Line plates or pasta bowls with lettuce, then top with chips. In small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, chili sauce and hot pepper sauce. Pour into larger mixing bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients, tossing to make sure everything is coated. Place the mixture on top of the chips and Romaine, then garnish with a few whole chips.
For best presentation, pull out some tomato or avocado pieces from the mixture and lay them on top.