23 June, 2015

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa / Salad

This post contains one recipe for Balsamic Black Bean Salsa, which can also double as a cold salad. Make this recipe ahead to give the flavors time to blend.

Black Bean Salsa ingredients 
Note: I underestimated the cilantro and actually used 2x amount shown above. 

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa ingredients (10)
Makes 1-quart or
About 10 (1/2 cup) servings 
8-ozs Herdez® Salsa Verde (1 cup; half of one 16-oz / 453g bottle)
Zest from one-half of a lime
Juice from one lime
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2-ozs balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup)

1 (15-oz / 439g) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 cups roasted sweet corn (I defrost one (16-oz / 453g) bag frozen Birds Eye® Pure & Simple Sweet Kernel Corn and roast using Chef Bayless' oven method here)
1/2 medium onion
1 garlic clove
Fresh cilantro leaves (from about 35 stems), rinsed and patted dry

For serving
As dip, baked crackers or tortilla chips
As salad, washed, dry lettuce leaves or greens

Fresh cilantro sprigs or mild chili pepper wheel

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa Directions
Prepare marinade
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients and set aside.

Prepare salsa base
Dice the onion (yield about 1/3 cup). 

Mince the garlic.

Dice the cilantro (yield about 1/2 cup).

In a covered medium bowl, combine all of the salsa base ingredients. Pour over the marinade and toss to distribute throughout. 

Refrigerate before serving
Cover and let Balsamic Black Bean Salsa rest in refrigerator at least four (4) hours, preferably overnight, to allow flavors to blend. 

To serve as dip, bring to room temperature and serve with baked chips or crackers, or tortilla chips.

To serve as salad, spoon onto lettuce leaves or greens and garnish with a fresh cilantro sprig or a mild chili wheel. I prefer serving cold as a salad.

Cover and refrigerate any unused portions.

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa after resting in refrigerator

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa Notes
  • I enjoy serving this dish as both a salsa or as a cold salad. For variation, I'll probably try adding 1 to 1.5 cups crumbled feta cheese when serving as a salad or in a sandwich using these wraps

  • After trying several different brands of frozen and canned corn, I prefer the Birds Eye® Pure & Simple Sweet Kernel Corn in this recipe. At this writing, the Birds Eye® (16-oz) bag costs less per unit than (14-oz) bag of the store brand frozen golden corn. 
Using the nutrition info on each of those packages, and for the same 2/3 cup serving size, the Birds Eye® has 80 calories vs. 100 store brand; the primary difference is carbohydrates of 14g vs. 21g store brand. Birds Eye® contains 2g dietary fiber and 6g sugar vs. 1g and 5g, respectively, of the store brand.

Roasted frozen corn and canned black beans

  • One adjustment I make to the original recipe is to prepare the marinade first and let it rest before combining with the remaining ingredients. I use more (1-oz) of the Herdez® Salsa Verdeadd lime zest, and delete additional salt because the salsa verde contains more sodium than I would normally use (310g per each 2 Tbsp / 31g). For the (8-ozs) used here, the Herdez® Salsa Verde contributes 2480g sodium. 

  • Based on nutrition info on the packages, combined, the black beans (before rinsing) and corn add 525g sodium, for a total 3005g sodium in this dish from packaged foods, or about 376g for each of eight servings, or 501g for each of six servings before adding any crackers or chips. 
According to MayoClinic.org, both amounts are within (albeit 25% to 33% of the more restrictive daily) dietary guidelines for Americans who have high BP, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, or who are black or age 51-years or older. Read more of "Sodium: How to tame your salt habit" at MayoClinic.org.

  • I consider the Herdez® Salsa Verde critical to the flavor of this dish, however, perhaps we can concoct a copycat and reduce the sodium.

  • Another adjustment I make is to either dry sear the frozen (not defrosted) corn or to oven-roast it using a small amount of olive oil, which takes twenty to twenty-five (20 - 25) minutes in a preheated oven. You could choose a different roasting method (e.g., roast fresh corn on the grill), or use canned (rinsed and drained well) or frozen (defrosted and drained well) sweet corn. I like the extra flavor and appearance of roasted corn in this recipe, however, I don't think roasting is essential.

  • There's a lot of fresh cilantro in this recipe (see next photo). Yes, I really counted one hundred stems. According to personal preferences, you could reduce the quantity of fresh cilantro by as much as 50% (half) and still have a tasty salsa. 

For the recipe amount of 1/2 finely chopped (i.e. chop, then measure), I suggest you buy one large cilantro bunch instead of the small (0.66-oz / 18g) disposable plastic boxes of herbs at the grocery store. Generally, the cilantro bunches are fresher, and definitely more economical for the amount used in this recipe. 

Combined Balsamic Black Beam Salsa ingredients before adding marinade

The roasted corn was slightly warm when I added the marinade. After refrigerating overnight, the Balsamic Black Bean Salsa absorbs much of the marinade.

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa before resting in refrigerator

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