Savory Black Bean Salad is a recipe I learned to make on an educational trip to Mexico.
Another thing I learned quickly was to not refer to this salad as salsa.
Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Mexico many times. Because I studied Spanish for seven years, I decided to immerse myself in the language and culture.
Visiting the home of a new friend I made in Mexico, I was invited to dine with the family about ten minutes after they had welcomed me into their home.
That’s not uncommon in Mexico, as they are hospitable people. And, they will share whatever they have with their guests, con mucho gusto, meaning: with much pleasure. The phrase “mi casa es su casa” (my house, is your house) is not just a saying but a way of life.
In fact, guests in Mexican homes are treated like family but with special honor. That honor is that you are mothered and fussed over and fed. But, you aren’t required to help wash the dishes.
My friend’s mother, Linda, served the most delicious salad I’d ever tasted. However, I made a faux pas and called it salsa. As it turns out, that’s a serious infraction in Mexico. They take their salsa seriously, and that’s no joke.
Salsa is the translation of the English word “sauce.” It’s used as a condiment, relish, and for dipping in Mexico. Salads are salads and salsas are salsas. And, so I was firmly but kindly corrected on my error.
But, that was okay. After all, I was there to master the language and learn more about the culture. When all was said and done, we shared a good laugh over it.
Nothing Goes to Waste in A True Mexican Kitchen
Another interesting fact that I learned from Linda was that nothing is wasted in a Mexican kitchen. Ever!
Most Mexicans live simply and without pretense. They take nothing for granted and practiced zero-waste living before it was a trend.
So, Linda made this bean salad, ensalada de frijoles in Spanish, several days a week. While the salad was dressed the same and the black beans were a constant, the other ingredients changed.
Why? Because making this salad allowed her to utilize every single vegetable and discard nothing. Also, this simple method cut down on her weekly grocery expenses because she purchased the main ingredients in bulk sizes.
All in all, I’d say Linda is a pretty smart lady as well as a fantastic cook!
Now that you have met Linda, this is how you make her delicious black bean salad.
Savory Black Bean Salad
I have taken the liberty of customizing this salad to suit my dietary needs and fitness goals.
For example, the original method utilizes an inexpensive vegetable oil blend, but I swapped that out for extra virgin olive oil.
Also, I used cherry tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes for no other reason than thinking they are super cute. 😉
The final significant substitution I made was switching out 2 tablespoons of white sugar for one packet of stevia. I try to avoid sugar whenever possible these days.
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 6mg Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 2g Protein: 5g
Feel free to do as Linda does, and use whatever fresh vegetables that you happen to have on hand.
Whether you have a leftover ear of corn or a few baby carrots left in the bottom of a bag, toss them in there!
Try This Unfussy Salad
Try serving this unfussy salad the next time you have a last-minute get together or forgot to defrost dinner. It’s created from pantry staples and veggies that you probably have on hand already.
Plus, you’ll join Linda and the zero-waste movement by utilizing those vegetables from the bottom drawer of your fridge.
Craving more bean recipes? Take a look at our satisfying Vegetarian Bean Burgers.