A creamy, beany Southwest-style salad

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Sometimes I just need salad. Not often, but it happens (I have to consciously choose to eat my leafy greens). This salad is colourful, crunchy, hearty enough to eat as a meal or fun to serve as a side with Mexican food.

Ingredients

The salad

1 head of lettuce, chopped. Use a sturdier lettuce such as romaine or even kale

1 green, red or yellow pepper, chopped

15 ounces (1 ½ cups ) black beans – drained except reserve 1 tablespoon of the brine for the salad dressing

½ a small red onion, chopped

1 cup corn niblets (I use frozen corn and just let it defrost).

2 tomatoes chopped

 The dressing

1 avocado

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp brine from the canned black beans

2 Tbsp pickled jalapenos

1 Tbsp brine from the pickled jalapenos

2 -3 Tbsp cilantro

The juice from one lime

Directions

Add all dressing ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth.

Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Toss with the salad dressing and enjoy.

If you do not dress the salad or add the tomatoes, this salad will last covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just add the dressing and tomatoes before serving.

Omit the lettuce and this salad makes an amazing creamy, beany salsa to eat with natchos.

My recipes is closely based on one I read on Buzzfeed, but I modified it to lower the fat in the dressing and turn up the heat.

 

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Refried beans and rice – casserole style!

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Beans and rice are such an easy, affordable and comforting meal. Here’s my casserole version that everyone loves. This dish comes together quickly and is easy and no fail. It freezes well and is just one of those friendly, favourite recipes that you’ll be so glad you invited into your kitchen.

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

1 cup jarred tomato salsa – whatever brand and heat level you prefer

3 cups fresh spinach

400ml can refried beans

½ cup pickled jalapenos – optional but I love the heat!

½ cup shredded vegan cheese. I use Daiya mozzarella or cheddar style cheese.1

½ cup corn – fresh, frozen or canned as you prefer

1-2 Tbsp chili powder

½ tsp oregano

¼ tsp basil

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp ground pepper

½ to 1 tsp salt (to taste)

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Directions

Place the rice and 2 cups of water in a covered saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Add the salsa to the cooked rice and stir to combine.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Grease a casserole dish.

Mix the refried beans, the seasonings and corn in a bowl.

Layer half the rice-and-salsa mixture in the bottom of the casserole.

Add the spinach on top in a layer and tamp down. Add the refried bean mixture on top and smooth out. Scatter the pickled jalapenos on top, if using. Place the remaining rice-and-salsa mixture on top and smooth out. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. This dish makes 4 servings.

P.S. Okay, I’ll confess now…. I secretly call this dish Mexican dog food because while it’s delicious it never looks too pretty on the plate. So go ahead, fill up your plate, add some natchos, bark at the neighbours and eat up!