Squeeze Out the Last Bit of Summer With This Black Bean Salad

Black Bean, Corn, Red Pepper, and Avocado Salad

Even though there’s a good three weeks before the official start of fall, summer’s been winding down for a while now, and for most people, this weekend marks the end of the summer grilling season. If you’re hosting or attending one last cookout this weekend and looking for an extra side dish, have I got a salad for you.

Tangy and spicy, crisp yet creamy, refreshing, never mind healthy, it’ll complement anything grilled, from your basic hot dog all the way to a fancy grilled steak or fish. Plus you have to make it ahead of time, so no rushing around last minute to prepare a side dish, whether you’re grilling at home or elsewhere. What’s not to love?

I usually serve this alongside grilled chicken drenched in barbecue sauce, but it can even stand on its own in a pinch. Just add a cooked grain—brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, you get the idea—and it’s a vegetarian main course salad, a.k.a a “rice bowl” or “quinoa bowl” (which just so happens to be one of the latest food trends according to my completely informal and anecdotal research on Pinterest).

And shhh, here’s a secret: if you don’t get around to making it until after the summer growing season, I’ve still had success with using frozen super sweet corn (Aldi brand specifically, although it’s probably GMO) and grocery store peppers. I mean, fresh and local are always best, but in a pinch or if you can’t wait until next year, there’s always that. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Black Bean, Corn, Red Pepper, and Avocado Salad

Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans)
2 ears corn, cooked and kernels cut off the cob (or 1 cup frozen corn)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of one lime
1 medium shallot, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 avocado, chopped, for serving

Gently stir together black beans, corn, pepper, and cilantro in a serving bowl. In another small bowl, combine oil, lime juice and zest, shallot, salt, cayenne, and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight.

Right before serving, add avocado and mix gently. Garnish with more chopped cilantro if desired.

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