Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southwestern Rice Salad

Black beans are corn are an irresistible combination. The Bon Appetit recipe that inspired me didn't have black beans, a huge oversight in my book. It was intended as side, but adding black beans transforms it into a healthier, more filling dish that can be either a light main course or side. This can be served cold, room temperature, or warm and makes a great lunch or light dinner. Quinoa would be a nice substitute for the brown rice and would increase the nutritional value, but most people aren't familiar with quinoa and it is significantly more expensive than rice. Lime juice would also make a nice substitute for the lemon juice, any kind of peppers or summer squash could be used (add a jalapeno, habanero, or serrano for some heat), and white or yellow onions could be substituted for the green onions, cooking them with the peppers and squash.

Southwestern Rice Salad with Corn and Black Beans
adapted from Epicurious, who got it from Bon Appetit

serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side-dish

1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 ears) or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped fresh poblano chiles or green bell pepper
1 cup diced seeded red bell pepper
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes yellow zucchini
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and 3 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add corn, poblanos, red bell pepper, and zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables are just tender, 6 to 7 minutes, adding black beans in the last minute or two of cooking (just to heat them through). Scrape into large bowl. Add rice, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

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