Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Roasted Corn, Black Bean Arugula Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

A version of this Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salad was a hit at the Gathering in the Garden event at Emory University. Joyce Dillon of Healthy Living and Balance coordinated that event, and she thought it tasty enough to ask me for the recipe, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it here.

I ran into Joyce again last week at the Release Party for the Georgia Organics 2007 Local Food Guide. Here she is (in green)chatting with Alice Rolls, Georgia Organic's executive director, during the release party. The Local Food Guide is a fantastic resource for all things regional, seasonal and local including growers, markets, restaurants and businesses that suport sustainable foods and farms in Georgia -- some of which are right here in our neighborhoods. It's a must have so visit the Georgia Organics site where you can download a copy for your very own.

I'm sure you can scare up most of the ingredients for this salad using some of the references from the Local Food Guide. It's a very summer salad, and a hearty one thanks to the black beans, which also make it a great source of fiber and complex carbs and helps to assimilate some of the natural sugars of the corn. Using roasted corn lends complexity to the taste of the salad, and pairs well with the smoky subtle hint of cumin. The cilantro-lime vinagrette and the baby arugula bring a crisp brightness that lightens the earthy weightiness inherent in black beans. And if the secret incredient here is the Tomatoless Corn and Chili Salsa from Trader Joes which lends a touch of sweetness. The secret is out.


Here are two versions:

#1 The large-scale-gourmet-version: This version will feed at least 10 people so scale up or down accordingly.
4 cans of organic black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of sweet corn cut from the cob
4 cups of grilled corn cut from the cob (HERE is a website dedicated soley to grilling corn on the cob)
1 jar of Trader Joe's Tomatoless Corn and Chili Salsa
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
2 pounds baby arugula
2 Tbsp. ground cumin

2 limes, juiced
2 Tbsp. unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar
1/3 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup of honey (or to taste)
sea salt & black pepper to taste

* In a pot combine the black beans, cumin and a few tablespoons of water (just to keep it from burning) and simmer over low heat. The purpose here is to add some flavor to the beans. Alternatively, you can used "seasoned" black beans. Still rinse and drain them, because the beans will retain some of the flavor. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature.
* In another pot combine the sweet corn (or you can use 2 bags of frozen corn) and the roasted corn with the bell pepper and a few tablespoons of water. Simmer/steam on medium-low heat until corn and bell peppers are tender. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature.
* In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette: lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil.
* Combine beans, corn and Trader Joe's salsa in a large mixing bowl. Stir in vinaigrette and fresh cilantro leaves.
* Arrange baby arugula on a platter. Spoon the bean-and-corn salad over the arugula greens and serve at room temperature.


#2 Go-to-Trader-Joes-for-the -5-Minute-Quick-and-Dirty-version: Pick up these ingredients for a side dish that's ready in minutes!

1 bag frozen Trader Joe's fire-roasted corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 jar of Trader Joe's Tomatoeless Corn & Chili Salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
1 bag of pre-washed arugula

* Combine ingredients 9except arugula) in a medium sized saucepot over medium-low heat and cook until corn is tender. Drain any excess liquid and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl or serving platter.
* Prepare the vinaigrette as outlined above. Pour as much as needed to incorporate into the salad and reserve the remainder for a future use. Stir in a handfull of cilantro leaves. Toss in arugula immediately before serving.

Life Chef Fact Sheet

* Life Chef was started by food/wellness journalist and professional chef, Asata Reid.

* Life Chef teaches Asata's "Food for Life" philosophy, which uses great tasting and nutritious food as the fun, delicious and easy medium for wellness education.

* Asata created Life Chef to provide the "what's missing" in helping America learn how to eat to live, instead of just living to eat.


Life Chef makes healthy eating fun with:
* Hands-on cooking demonstrations
* Quick and easy menu planning
* Time-saving shopping tips
* Delicious and nutritious recipes
* Cooking classes for any age group
* Catering and "Chef Parties"

Life Chef makes learning healthy food choices easy with:
* Dietary and wellness consultations
* Individual classes
* Easy to follow articles and charts
* Customized group sessions
* Personal chef services
* Support of locally grown produce

According to Asata, Life Chef presents the a blogsite at to “put faces on the food we eat.” On it she posts articles, interviews and recipes from local growers, restaurants and every day people who are a part of the “circle of food.”

“We all have to eat,” Asata said. “The ‘circle of food’ encompasses all of us. Food is our common ground. My hope is to put a face on the community garden, a face on the local organic-supporting market, a face on the restaurant and the chef, the dietician and wellness worker that want us all to eat better.”

Visit to join the community and participate in the “circle of food.”

To find out more about classes, discussions and upcoming programs, or to book a Life Chef program for yourself or your organization contact Asata Reid at or, or visit for more information.

Life Chef Classes

To spread information about better eating and food-related wellness throughout the community, Life Chef offers classes and seminars for groups and organizations.

Life Chef 101 Series cooking techniques that lay the groundwork for eating well.
* Soup 101
* Salad, Sandwiches & Wraps 101
* Vegetarian Cooking 101
* Herbs and Spices 101
* Bake, Broil, Steam and Saute 101
* Fish & Shellfish 101

Superfood Recipes Series ancient healing ingredients with today's flavors.
* Grains and Beans: Unlock Your Energy Potential
* Greens, Glorious Greens: Global Recipes for these Powerful Antioxidants
* One-Two-Three Knockout: Fight Cancer, Stroke and Chronic Disease"
* Cooking by Color: Find Powerful Nutrients in a Beautiful Dish
* Regional, Seasonal, Local: Support Agriculture that Supports Your Health

Food for Life Series everyday foods that promote health and fight disease.
* The Mature Woman's Guide: Menopause and Beyond
* Food for Men: A Lifetime of Health & Vitality
* Preconception & Prenatal Eating: Getting Your Body to Ready for Baby
* Love Your Heart: Eating for Hypertension
* Finding Balance: Diabetes and Food

Table for One Series "less is more" for singles, students, divorcees and empty-nesters.
* Plan It, Prep It but Don't Sweat It: easy plan and prep for non-cookers
* The Starter Kitchen: Foods and Tools for a well-stocked kitchen.
* The Repertoire: Your “Signature” Recipes for Every Occasion

Kids Can Cook Series kid focused, food that’s easy, fun and tasty.
* Snack Attack: Healthy After School Snacks for Middle Schoolers
* Me Cook Too! Fun for Preschoolers and Caregivers
* Power On: Fuel for High School Athletes

New classes are being formed continuously so ask for details contact Asata Reid at or, or visit for more information.