If you’ve stepped up your exercise routine this summer like I have, you’re probably having some serious cravings for carbs. After two hours of hiking, biking, or even meandering through a new town, a green salad just won’t do. What your body needs is a quick shot of energy – and I don’t mean a double latte or a bowl of white pasta.
To properly refill your tank when it’s on empty, whole grains, colorful veggies, and legumes are the way to go. So when Sandy Brown Forsyth of Birmingham, Alabama submitted her favorite salad for my June Cooking Contest, I couldn’t wait to try it.
Being a vegetarian since childhood, I’ve subsisted on rice and beans for most of my life. It’s my go-to wherever I travel – I can still taste the green bean curries in Bangkok, mung beans and sticky rice in Hanoi, cassoulet in Lyon and dal in Mumbai.
Sandy’s recipe is a lovely cold salad that combines the classic duo with Mexican flavors, and it covers all the bases for a post-workout lunch. I’ve added some raw kale for fun (the extra nutrients are a bonus), but feel free to heap on diced avocado, fresh corn, your favorite salsa, cotija cheese…or whatever powers you back up.
It’s a perfect picnic or pot luck dish, one that even tastes better after a day or two.
Good news for all of us who are on the go this summer. Congratulations and thanks for the winning recipe, Sandy!
Makes 4 (1½-cup) servings
1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans (about 1 ½ cups), rinsed and drained
3 cups cooked brown basmati or jasmine rice
1 cup finely shredded kale (any kind)
2 tablespoons minced red onion (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe mango, diced medium (about 1 cup)
Lime Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I like this one)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Garlic salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the Lime Balsamic Vinaigrette: In a small jar with a lid, combine all the ingredients and shake well. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine the beans, rice, kale, onion, and cilantro. Using your fingers (I like to use these gloves), work in ¾ of the dressing, adding more to taste if you wish. Gently stir in the mango. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Here are some more salads I’m loving this summer…
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