Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Southwestern Guacamole Bean Salad #SavetheChildren

Guacamole Bean Salad



PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

Fear Conquered: Meatless Meals

You don't need meat for dinner. You don't need chicken, fish or shrimp either. What you really need are beans.

I started working on this bean salad back in 2010 and the whole objective of the salad was to make it without meat. I'm not a vegetarian and I have nothing against the occasional roast chicken, the rare filet mignon or a good meatball from time-to-time. But I'm not in love with meat.

I am in love with beans.

I've blogged about my love for beans before and why they really do say "I love you" to people you cook for. I've even devoted an entire post on how to cook beans (and thus avoid opening cans lined with chemicals like BPA). But just in case you're new to my infatuation with beans, let me extoll this little wonder-food once again.

Cooked Black Beans

Beans are positively packed with fiber, nutrients and protein - all without being packaged in fat. As if that weren't enough, beans release protein and fiber slowly, keeping tummies full and satisfied longer. And, beans are the ultimate blank slate of ingredients - savory or sweet, these willing little helpers take on the flavor of whatever you pair them with. Step aside meat, fish and poultry - you've got nothing on beans.

So who's surprised I'm back with yet another recipe featuring beans? This guacamole bean salad doesn't try to hide or disguise or transform the beans. No blending or pureeing and NO meat (not even bacon). This salad is proudly all about the beans. And that's not a bad thing.

The first time I made this salad it was a complete accident of tasty wholesomeness. I had a bunch of produce in the fridge, some avocados that weren't getting any fresher, a brick of cheddar cheese whispering sweet temptations in my ear and not a lick of meat, fish or poultry in the house. So while my other half ran out to rent Shutter Island from Redbox, I cooked off a batch of black beans (with a whole lot of dried spices) and toasted off a pan of homemade croutons. As we sat down to watch the movie, my other half looked at me over a mouthful of salad and said:

Guacamole Bean Salad w/ Homemade Toasted Croutons

"You know you're gonna need a name for this, right? Because nobody's gonna wanna eat vegetable bean salad."

So, while watching Shutter Island and trotting back and forth from the kitchen with second helpings, we hatched the name Guacamole Bean Salad. I’ve added Southwestern for good measure. Call it what you will, but this salad is a meal-in-one that will change your perspective on beans.


I'm donating this recipe to the Pink Whisk Challenge: Save the Children and the Hidden Hunger Campaign. All the recipes collected during this challenge will be collated and published in a Save the Children e-cookbook - and the cookbook will be sold to raise awareness and funds for the Hidden Hunger Campaign. Hundreds of children die daily from lack of food and malnutrition - so take this opportunity to help and donate a family favorite recipe!


I learned about this very worthy cause from my blogging friend, The More Than Occasional Baker and you can learn more and get involved by visiting the Pink Whisk Challenge blog. At very least, I ask that you visit the Save the Children site and Name Your Day to beat hunger. Once you've named your day with Save the Children, you will asked on your day to take one of five easy actions to spread the word about this crisis - like posting a tweet or cooking a meal. So take action (you don't have to be a blogger) and name your day.



STORY  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

Photo Tutorial

Boiling Pot of Water
Bring 1 gallon of purified water to the boil.

Spice Mix
Measure the spices and beans.

CorningWare Pyroceram Slow Cooker
Add the beans, spices and boiling water to the insert of a slow-cooker.

Slow Cooker Covered
Cover the slow-cooker and cook the beans on HIGH for 1 hour, then reduce to LOW and cook for another 1 1/2 hours.

Cooked Black Beans
Drain the beans and cool to room temperature before adding to the salad. Do NOT rinse the beans.

Black Beans Added to Bowl
Once the beans are cool, add them to a large bowl for the salad.

Diced Orange Bell Pepper
Add diced yellow or orange bell pepper.

Halved Cucumber
Halve a cucumber and use a spoon to remove the seeds.

Seeded Cucumber Halves
After removing the seeds, dice the cucumber and add to the salad.

Pint of Grape Tomatoes
Halve 1 pint of grape tomatoes and add to the salad.

Diced Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Add 8 ounces of cubed extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

Chopped Fresh Basil
Chop a handful of fresh basil and add to the salad.

Ingredients Added to Salad Bowl
Combine all the ingredients together.

Halved Avocados with Pits Removed
With a sharp knife, slice the avocados lengthwise around the pit. Twist the two halves of each avocado to separate from the pit. Remove the pit with your knife, then scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon. Add to a small bowl.

2 Limes
Add the juice of 2 limes to the avocado.

2 Cloves Garlic with Garlic Press
Mince 2 garlic cloves and add to the avocado.

Avocados, Garlic and Lime Juice Combined
In a small bowl, combine the avocado, garlic and lime juice.

Avocado Mashed into Paste
Using a knife to cut through the avocado until it resembles a chunky paste.

Homemade Mayonnaise
In a separate measure, add 1/3 cup homemade mayonnaise.

Organic Greek Yogurt
Add 2/3 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt.

Spices Added to Salad Dressing
Add the paprika, salt and cracked black pepper.

Mixed Salad Dressing
Whisk to combine.

Avocado Paste and Dressed Added to Salad
Pour the avocado and the dressing over the salad. Mix thoroughly, then chill for an hour before serving.

Guacamole Bean Salad
Serve chilled and top with optional homemade croutons for an added crunch.



STORY  |  PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  HUNGRY FOR TIPS?

Southwestern Guacamole Bean Salad

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 45 min
     Cook Time: 2 hrs 30 min

Ingredients (serves 8)
    Seasoned Black Beans
    • 1 gallon purified water, boiling
    • 1 pound (2 cups) dry black beans
    • 2 Tablespoons sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
    • 1 dried bay leaf
    Salad
    • Seasoned Black Beans
    • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
    • 2 bell peppers (yellow or orange), diced
    • 1 cucumber, halved, seeded and diced
    • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
    • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
    Dressing
    • 2 Haas avocados, pits and peels removed
    • 2 limes, juice of
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2/3 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
    • 1/3 cup homemade mayonnaise
    • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    Instructions
    1. Up to 2 days in advance: Add the dry beans, seasonings and boiling water to a slow-cooker insert, stir well and cover; cook the beans on the slow-cooker HIGH setting for 1 hour, then reduce to the LOW setting and cook for another 1 1/2 hours until the beans are soft; drain the beans and cool to room-temperature before adding the beans to the salad. Do NOT rinse the beans
    2. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl; in a separate small bowl, combine the avocado, lime juice and garlic; cut through the avocado with a butter knife until it forms a chunky paste, then add the paste to the salad
    3. Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, paprika, salt and pepper in a medium measure and pour over the salad; toss the salad thoroughly to combine, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour
    4. Serve chilled; optionally top with homemade croutons for an added crunch
    Powered by Recipage



    STORY  |  PHOTO TUTORIAL  |  PRINTABLE RECIPE

    Hungry for Tips?
    • Slow Cooker: If you start from scratch, the beans will require a bit of a time investment for an otherwise easy salad. So I recommend cooking the beans a day or two in advance. A slow cooker makes this easy to do and requires very little babysitting.
       
    • Tools: I use a chopper gadget, garlic press and juicer to speed up the prep work for this salad. With these tools, I can pull the salad together (once the beans are cooked) in about 45 minutes. Not too shabby for a meal-in-one salad that feeds at least 8 people.
       
    • Spices: When I first made this salad in 2010, I didn't measure anything. It was a shake of this, a pinch of that, a dollop of this and a squeeze of that. I've since measured, tested and documented the ingredients and steps I prefer, but the most critical part of this recipe is infusing the beans with flavor. So be generous with your bean seasonings and change it up if you're not happy with the spice blend.
       
    • Smoked Paprika: I’m drawing special attention to the smoked paprika - because it’s that important. You must use smoked paprika. Period. Sweet Hungarian paprika is delicious for some things, but not this salad. It just doesn’t provide the smokey depth of flavor this salad needs.
       
    • Croutons: Homemade croutons are a fantastic topper for this salad - they add a wonderful crunch and a much needed contrast to the beans and veggies. But if you don’t get around to making croutons, this salad is still delicious. And don't resort to the store-bought, plastic-pouched, hard-as-a-rock croutons - they will only bring sadness to your salad.



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    22 comments:

    1. We're not a big fan of guacamole but we may just have to step outside of our comfort zone and try this one (if I can follow your instructions closely). I'd have to leave onion and garlic out of it because those don't set well with me.

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      1. Don, let me know if you do try it and how it turns out. You should be just fine leaving out the garlic and onion - there's plenty of other flavors to entertain the tongue :)

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    2. What a fabulous, flavorful salad! I'd love to try it with just black beans...so yummy! And all for such a great cause!

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      1. Thanks Lizzy - definitely give it a shot with just the black beans - the little red beans don't add much besides a different color and they really taste the same to me...

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    3. that's really a sweet campain that I would love to join, great bean salad for a lovely cause and I must say that I'm a bit afraid of bean salad, I always eat fried beans or however you can imagine but never had bean salad before, it does look good and I will try it... even tough I'm a meat lover and I can't live without meat haha

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      1. I find you really don't miss the meat in this salad and the beans are surprisingly satisfying. If you give it a try, let me know what you think...

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    4. This guacamole bean salad is incredible and I think it will be a hit both here on your blog AND in the cookbook - what a wonderful cause! Really stunning and worth the extra effort to make.

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      Replies
      1. Thanks Ann, and I agree, the cause is the important part.

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    5. I'm always looking for interesting ways to cook beans. And avocado are my husband 's favourite. I will have to try. YUM!

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      1. I'm so glad, Mai and please let me know how it turns out for you :) This is one of my favorite salads, especially with the croutons...

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    6. I am mad about guacamole but never made it.Thanks for this recipe. I will try it soon. It looks great!

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      1. I hope you enjoy - and it's definitely a different twist on traditional guacamole ;)

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    7. GOOD for you joining in the Save the Children name a day challenge! This is a FABULOUS post and I love the recipe.

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      1. Thanks Karen - it's such a worthy cause and also a very sad one. It's hard to believe we spend all this time coming up with new ideas for food when there are children who don't even have food =(

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    8. Your bean salad looks delicious and I'm happy it's going towards such a great cause! It's hard to believe that there are still people out there who go without meals while the rest of us have so much.

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      1. Amber, I'm so glad you like it and I'm just so happy The Pink Whisk stepped forward to create the challenge and take on the cookbook :)

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    9. I adore beans and eat them at least 4 times a week in salads, stews, dips, etc. I love your recipe and can't wait to try it. The pics are making me hungry. I will be following!!!!

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      Replies
      1. Angela, I hope you do get a chance to try it and let me know how it turns out for you :)

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    10. ohhh..yeah...this looks soooooooooooo good & tempting..;)

      Tasty Appetite

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    11. Thanks so much for taking part in our campaign to end child hunger. Your recipe is v.much appreciated! Rosie, Save the Children

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