Today I’m pleased to feature a guest post from Terry Hope Romero, author of Viva Vegan!, Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. You can learn more about Terry and her books by visiting her website, Vegan Latina.Hey there NMA fans, this is Terry Hope Romero, dropping in for a quick chat about hearty warm weather salads. I’m no triathlete (I’m more at home on a treadmill or a long city stroll down Manhattan avenues) but on moist summer days hot enough to steam a tamale I can appreciate a hearty vegan salad as much as the next active guy or gal. These three recipes have been modified from my latest release Viva Vegan!, switching out more exotic ingredients for those likely to be found at your local grocer or natural food store.
Confession: I used to not be the biggest salad fan (and usually it’s not my first pick when it comes to a good stick to one’s ribs kind of meal) after an early veggie life of having to resort to the salad fixin’s bar when dining out with family or co-workers. But being the salad chef yourself opens up a whole new list of horizons and among them is the infinite flexibility of adding cooked grains and beans, some of the simplest and cheapest protein foods out there to bulk up the usual green leafy fare.
These two salads are based off some of my favorites from my latest book Viva Vegan!, a beautiful hearty bean salad featuring buttery smooth white lima beans and a tangy salad dressing inspired by gazpacho, the classic raw, cold tomato soup used to dress the everyone’s favorite summer salad combo of avocado, black beans and corn. These salads rich with protein and fiber should highlight the best seasonal produce you can find, a perfect showcase for those farmer’s market tomatoes and fresh herbs. Both the corn lima salad and dressing keep very well in the fridge, just cover tightly and enjoy as a substantial meal, or even serve by the cupful nested in lettuce leaves as an uber-healthy snack.
Red Chile Corn Salad with Limas & Cherry Tomatoes
Here’s a quick and nourishing salad with a gentle spicy kick from chile powder or hot smoked paprika. It makes good work of essential Latin American favorites like corn, tomatoes, cilantro and lima beans. I like to serve it on a bed of baby spinach to supply that green element for a well-rounded entree.
Serves 4 as a side or starter.
2 cups fresh corn kernels (frozen is okay in a pinch)
1 1/2 cups cooked white lima beans, if using canned drain and rinse well
1/2 lb. red ripe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes look cute here)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder or hot smoked paprika
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large 2 quart saucepan bring for cups of water to a rolling boil. Stir in corn kernels and cook for 2-3 minutes or until corn is just cooked enough so that it’s no longer starchy but still crunchy. Drain corn into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Shake corn to rid of excess water or let drain for 10 minutes. You may also cook corn in the microwave by steaming with 3 Tablespoons of water in a covered glass container. Drain and rinse corn as directed. Place corn in a large mixing bowl and add rinsed lima beans. Slice cherry tomatoes in half into bite-sized pieces and add to corn and limas. Stir in chopped onion and cilantro.
In a large mixing cup whisk together lime juice, chile powder or paprika, olive oil, agave nectar, dried oregano and salt until combine. Pour over corn and bean mixture. Sprinkle with cracked pepper to taste using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula stir salad ingredients together to thoroughly coat everything with dressing. Cover and chill salad for 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing
Gazpacho, that famous cold fresh tomato soup, is the inspiration for this tangy, sweet and spicy dressing. Love how this juicy and tomatoey dressing hugs fluffy green lettuces like Bibb or Red Romaine and thin rings of red onion or how it elevates that favorite combo of black beans, corn and avocado in the following salad.
Makes about 1 cup dressing.
Time: Less than 10 minutes
1/2 lb. red ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup diced sweet white onion
1/2 green, red or yellow bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar (optional)
freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Use immediately or store tightly covered in the fridge for up to a week.
Black Bean Corn Salsa Salad
Yet another way to dig into everyone’s favorite energy-packed pals black beans, corn and avocado.
Gazpacho Salsa Dressing
6 cups Bibb or Butter Lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
2 cups Roasted Corn Kernels (I love Trader Joe’s frozen corn kernels, thaw by rinsing with warm water)
2 cups (or one 14 oz can) cooked rinsed black beans
1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pit removed and diced
Place lettuce, corn, black beans and diced avocado in a large bowl, add freshly made gazpacho salad dressing and toss thoroughly to coat salad dressing with ingredients.
All recipes copyright 2010 Terry Hope Romero.