Healthy eating isn’t the easiest thing in the world, otherwise everyone would do it, right? My challenge with healthy eating is making seemingly boring food taste interesting, especially when it comes to vegetables and salads. As a self-confessed veggie-hater, back in the day when I didn’t pay attention to what I ate, I could easily go weeks without eating a single vegetable (potatoes don’t count because they were mostly eaten in the form of fries). I maintain that my veggie-hate is simply genetics; my dad hates them more than I do, so I must have inherited that from him. Right? Who says there’s no such thing as a “vegetable hate” gene?
What I’m starting to really understand is that healthy food doesn’t necessarily need to be tasteless. I think the “healthy” label gets a bad rap because it’s usually associated with boring salads, and nobody really wants to exist on boring salads. We should want to eat this stuff, not feel forced into it.
In an effort to start “zazzing” up my salads (so I don’t feel like I’ve given up on life when I eat leafy greens), I started experimenting with different salsa options. One successful experiment is the Black Bean & Corn Salsa. It’s packed with protein (black beans), but still light and refreshing (lime & cilantro). It has a hint of heat (chili powder) and it’s beautiful to look at (freshness!). It’s pretty simple to put together with a few key ingredients. Best of all, it can also be used as an accompaniment to main dishes like chicken or fish. Its shelf life isn’t very long, though, so it should be eaten within a few days of making it. All the more incentive to eat my veggies!
You start with canned corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes (or substitute regular tomatoes – I just happened to have cherry tomatoes kicking around), cilantro, garlic, olive oil, chili powder, and cumin.
Whether served on a salad, on top of chicken, or eaten straight from the bowl, this salsa is sure to perk up your meal with its vibrant colours and fresh flavours. It’s one way to guarantee that I’ll eat my vegetables, and I’ll actually enjoy doing so.
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
- 1 12-oz can of corn kernels
- 1 15-oz can of black beans
- approx. 8 ounces of cherry tomatoes, or 1 roma tomato, chopped into small pieces
- 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- zest of half a lime
- salt and pepper to taste
Drain and rinse the corn kernels and black beans under cold water. Set aside in a bowl. Add the chopped tomato, cilantro, garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, and lime zest.
In a small container or jar, add the olive oil and lime juice. Give it a good shake to emulsify the dressing.
Add the dressing to the bowl of ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.