Cookbook Profile

Southwest Salad
with Black Beans and Corn

By Mollie Katzen
Serves 6 to 8


Black beans and corn are marinated in olive oil and lots of lime juice and seasoned with garlic, peppers, onion, roasted cumin seeds, and cilantro. Partly chewy, partly crunchy tortilla strips provide textural contrast. This salad keeps extremely well (up to five days or more) if stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. If you are making it a day or two in advance of serving, leave out the fresh cilantro and parsley until a few hours before serving. Also, prepare the tortilla strips as close to serving time as possible. Leftover Southwest Salad makes a wonderful lunch or light supper served cold or at room temperature over hot rice with fresh tortilla chips or quick nachos on the side.


2 cups dried black beans
2 cups cooked corn
2 to 3 medium-sized cloves garlic, finely minced
A heaping 1/2 cup well-minced red onion
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, minced
1 medium-sized carrot, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus an
   optional 1 to 2 tablespoons for the tortillas)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (3 to 4 limes)
2 to 3 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup minced fresh basil (if available)
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
   (adjust this to your taste)
A moderate amount of freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 corn tortillas (optional)


Soak the beans for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Drain off any excess soaking water, place the soaked beans in a soup pot, and cover with fresh water. Bring just to a boil, then cover and turn the heat way down. Cook at a very slow simmer—with no agitation in the water—until the beans are tender. This should take 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Check intermittently to be sure there is enough water, and add more if necessary. When the beans are cooked, drain them well. Then rinse them thoroughly in cold water, and drain them well again.

In a large bowl, combine beans, cooked corn, minced garlic, red onion, bell pepper, optional carrot, salt, 1/2 cup olive oil, and lime juice.

Roast the whole cumin seeds, either in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring for several minutes, or very carefully in a toaster oven. Add the toasted seeds to the salad, along with the cilantro, parsley, basil, and red and black pepper, and mix thoroughly but gently.

Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil, and cut the tortillas into strips approximately 1/4 inch wide and 1-1/2 inches long. Cook the strips slightly by toasting them in an oven (350 degrees) or a toaster oven for only about 2 minutes, or in a heavy skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Ideally, they should be partly crispy and partly chewy. Stir these into the salad shortly before serving, or, if you prefer, scatter them on top as a garnish.

Buy the Book!


An American Feast
A Celebration of Cooking on Public Television

Foreword by Julia Child
Bay Books
Hardback, $24.95
ISBN: 1-57959-502-2
Recipe reprinted by permission.


An American Feast



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This page created July 2000