Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer’s Perfect Side Dish

Memorial Day is here, which in my opinion is the official start of the summer barbeque season!  In fact, my friend is hosting one this weekend and I was asked to bring a side dish.  Not wanting to do the traditional mayonnaise-based potato or pasta salad, which are super high in saturated fat and lacking any real nutritional value, I racked my brain thinking of a better option.  The hostess is already providing fresh fruit and a caprese salad (yum!), so those were out.  Then I remembered this beauty of a recipe that my sister-in-law makes – a bean salad with cilantro dressing!  Perfect!
The heart of this dish is the 4 different varieties of beans – kidney, black, garbanzo and black eyes peas.  All beans are a good source of protein, fiber, iron and zinc and the phytocehmicals they contain are thought to be protective of cancer. 
The beans are great and all, but the dressing is what really shines in this recipe.  Garlic, a root vegetable, and also part of the aromatics family brings flavor to any dish.  It is believed that eating garlic regularly may reduce atherosclerosis as well as some cancers.  The jalapeno adds a “kick” of vitamins A and C along with the chemical capsaicin, which may improve overall digestion.  With its distinct flavor and scent, cilantro provides both vitamins A and K, phytochemicals and may help lower cholesterol levels.  Lastly, there’s the olive oil.  Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, which without getting too technical means it has only one double bond and is liquid at room temperature.  Olive oil may help protect your heart by lowering cholesterol levels, aiding in blood clotting and regulating blood glucose levels.
Four Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing
Cilantro, garlic and jalapeno

1 15oz can each, drained, of:
    black eyed peas
    garbanzo beans
   kidney beans
    black beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed & seeded
1 small bunch cilantro
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cumin (I usually do 1 ½)
1 tsp salt

1)  Place beans in a large colander; rinse well under cold running water.  Drain thoroughly; transfer
to a large bowl.
2)  Pulse garlic and jalapeno in a food processor; add cilantro, oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, cumin,
and salt.  Process until well combined. 
Dressing should look like this!
3)  Pour dressing over beans; toss.  Stir well.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Note:  This salad always tastes better after a day of marinating, so I prepare it 24-48 hours in advance and keep it covered in the fridge!
Final product...yum!

So, not only is this side dish good for you, but it also tastes good….seriously good!  I promise this salad will be the hit of any summer barbeque or picnic (oh…Ravinia!).  Plus, its vegan and nut and gluten free, so all can enjoy!

Healthfully Yours,



  1. I just made this dressing and all I can say is YUM! For the salad I used 1 can of black beans, 1 can of corn (both drained and rinsed), and 2 cups dry farro, boiled. Tossed with the dressing and was totally blown away. I made it a day in advance, but could have devoured the whole batch right there and then! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Your welcome! That salad sounds awesome! I absolutely love the dressing too and think it could be good on so many things including a marinade on seafood or fish!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.