Monday, May 19, 2008

Pinto Bean Salad

Everyone should have a few quick meals to prepare on those days when things don't go as planned. Some people have meals in the freezer. Others get take out. I check my pantry once again to look for something quick but satisfying for my family.
I had some canned beans and some vegetables in the fridge that seemed to pair well together. So this salad was born. I wanted something like tacos in flavor without having to cook the beans again. So simple beans and fresh veggies turned into a really nice filling salad. Less work in the kitchen and easy clean up afterward.

Pinto Bean Salad

2 cans pinto beans or other small red bean (3 1/2 to 4 cups), rinsed and drained
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded, chopped (save the seed part for smoothies)
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, chopped or shredded
1 green pepper, chopped
2 thin slices of onion (from top part of onion bulb), finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil (or about 1/2 chopped avocado)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or fresh lime/lemon juice)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cilantro
basil & oregano to taste (optional)
cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients in one bowl and chill for a few minutes or more before serving. Stir right before serving to get the juices mixed again in the salad. You can vary the amounts and vegetables used based on what you have on hand.
When we had this the other night, I warmed up some corn tortillas to use as wraps for the salad. It was very good this way. Kind of reminds me of tacos, but served in a different way. I didn't happen to have lettuce on hand, but this would be an obvious great addition along side the salad (that way it won't get soggy). A delicious garnish that could be eaten along with this would be a small amount of finely shredded purple cabbage.

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