Black Bean and Bell Pepper Salad

Here’s my inspiration (as usual, found at Epicurious),as well as my personal editing (I’m taking out these parts of the recipe, and adding these parts)based on what I actually have on hand:

Black Bean and Bell Pepper Salad
Bon Appétit June 1996

Ingredients (for ½ recipe):

Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup water
  • 8 dates (about 2 ounces), pitted, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano lemon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander cayenne

Salad

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:
For Vinaigrette:
Boil water and dates in heavy small saucepan for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour to soften.

Transfer date mixture to blender food processor. Add lime juice, oil, oregano, honey, cumin and coriander and purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before using.)

For salad:
Combine beans, bell peppers, and onion and parsley in large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Even though I didn’t have any dates on hand, I wanted to include them in the vinaigrette. Almost every person who reviewed the recipe on epicurious mentioned what a key ingredient the dates are. So I added them to my shopping list on Sunday. Since the vinaigrette takes an hour in the middle of the prep time, I went ahead and started it on Sunday so that we could enjoy the salad during the only time we’re off work together on Monday – midday. My plan was foiled when Travis beat me home and ate a cereal lunch so he could get straight to his nap. I finished the recipe and enjoyed a bowl of the completed salad.
The Verdict:
This is a simple enough recipe that is fairly good. I can imagine this being a fabulous side salad at a summertime picnic – the lime in the vinaigrette keeps things nice and bright and fresh-tasting. Even making the 1/2 recipe we did, there will be plenty of leftovers for the two of us. This seems like it will also make a good taco filling on leftover day, especially with some of the Mexican rice we’ve got in the freezer!

 

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