‘Viva Vegan!’ Author Terry Hope Romero Shares Three Summer Salad Recipes

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.

Terry's Red Chile Corn Salad with Limas and Cherry Tomatoes

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.



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  1. I love Terry, and I LOVE Viva Vegan! I was so ready for a vegan Mexican cookbook! :]

  2. Thanks for this great NMA guest post. I cannot wait to try the Red Chili Corn Salad on a hot summer night!

  3. I’ve always adored salads but the older I get and the more I learn about food the more fun it is to load up a salad full of body fuel and enjoy the taste!

  4. Love that cookbook! I have yet to make that corn salad with lima’s but I will need to substitute the lima’s out for another bean. I’ve never liked lima’s as a kid and still don’t to this day. Maybe a fava bean or northern bean? hmmmm.

  5. The hotter it gets (stays?!) the more I want nothing but salad. These recipes look fantastic!

  6. Terry will always hold a special place in my heart for bringing Vegan cupcakes into my life!! Birthday parties and other events have been sweeter and more interesting because of Terry’s books in my kitchen!

  7. This looks like the perfect recipe for summer! I need to get my hands on that book already. 🙂

  8. Viva Vegan is my favourite cookbook to come out in a long time. Hooray for salads and hooray for Vegan Latin food!

  9. I adore the Veganomicon!!! It’s pretty much my favourite cookbook. Even my carnivore of a boyfriend loves the recipes from it.

    Thanks for the awesome summer salad ideas 🙂

  10. Terry these recipes look sooo tasty and quite simple. There’s nothing like an easy healthy salad to cool you down in the summer time. My daily cravings involve colourful local produce in season. I can hardly drive by a farm stand with out swerving off the road to see whats being offered. Thanx for sharing some yummy ideas.

  11. I totally needed to see this. I’ve been getting lazy with salad creations lately and have been burned out on the same old thing every day. The Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing sounds REALLY good.

    Also, on a side note, I Googled compression socks today to show a friend and your site came up on the first page. Nice job on the search rankings!

  12. Having trouble finding non-GMO corn. :/

  13. I made the fresh gazpacho dressing with the black bean corn salsa salad for a potluck thing on Tuesday (doubled it). I thought it was delicious, and apparently others liked it too – it was virtually gone! The gazpacho is definitely worthy of eating on its own.:)

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