My house isn’t well ventilated. I have this huge bay window in my living room and only one of the panes opens, the one in the top right hand corner. It needs to be replaced desperately because it’s not very energy efficient. But it’s ridiculously expensive. One window company quoted us $16K, another quoted us $12K, another $8K. When I find the one who’ll quote us $4K, we’ll do it.
Anyway, because of the window that only opens in one corner, cooking in the summertime can be especially brutal. But a lot of the really great, tasty salads of the non-green variety have to be pre-cooked first. Boiling potatoes or pasta in a poorly ventilated area when it’s 90 degrees outside is insane. Last summer the heat was brutal and because the house was already hot, I tried to find new side dishes I didn’t have to boil, bake, or steam.
Enter the all purpose, ever wonderful canned black bean.
The dressing was mostly the result of me playing around with different flavors. I make a fantastic Southwest Salad with a lime garlic dressing, but sometimes it can be too sharp or too tart. I wanted something smoother for this because the salad has jalapenos and the veggies in it are raw. Honey seemed like a good choice because I can’t think of anything smoother than honey.
You could also call this confetti salad because it’s very colorful and everything is chopped up tiny. Black Bean Salad with Garlic Honey Lime Dressing sounds way more dramatic, though.
It’s painstaking work to chop everything so small, so make sure you have a sharp knife and an even surface on which to chop. This is a pretty easy recipe to double or triple and it will feed a crowd even as I’ve written below. It’s completely vegetarian and because there’s no mayonnaise in it or any dairy it travels well to places like the beach or the park where you can’t refrigerate it. I made this a lot last summer and brought it to various functions and it was a hit wherever it went. It’s also a good recipe for people who can’t do gluten or wheat or soy. Which means my mom can eat it (she has a soy allergy which can sometimes make eating out a dicey experience).
Word of caution: dress this right before serving. The dressing can make the beans soggy. Leftovers are really good for the first day or two, but after three days in the fridge it’s almost too saturated.
Black Bean Salad with Garlic Honey Lime Dressing
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained well
- 1 yellow pepper, diced small
- 1 orange pepper, diced small
- 1 green pepper, diced small
- 1 medium red onion, diced small
- 2-3 jalapenos, cored, seeded, & diced small (you can leave core and seeds for more heat)
- 6-8 limes, juiced (you want between 1/4 and 1/3 cup)
- Zest of 2-3 limes
- 1-2 tbsp cumin
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, grated or finely minced
- 1/4 cup honey (or to taste)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Honestly, the measurements for the dressing are just guesses. I do this mostly to the taste. If it’s too sweet, I add more lime. If it’s too tart, I add more honey.
Combine peppers, onion, and beans in a large bowl.
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over beans and veggies and stir gently to combine.