Ready or Not #96: Layered Black Bean Salad

I have always liked black beans.  I don’t know if it is because they are usually associated with Mexican food, which I like, or if it is just because they taste good.  Either way, when you eat them you are getting a lot of folate, manganese, protein, magnesium, iron, fiber and a lot of other things that I can’t pronounce – all of which are good for you.  The one thing that you don’t get is a lot of calories.  There is only about 227 calories for a full cup of black beans.  A good source of nutritional value all around and easy on your waistline.  They are also easy to store and inexpensive to buy.

One thing that we need to make sure we are careful about when building our food storage is to make sure that it is chock full of nutrition.  I use to think that if you ate nothing but Twinkies® and peanut butter sandwiches, then store lots of that.  I still think that you should store what you like, but make sure that you store a good balance of food that is high in nutrition.  You will want to eat items that not only taste good, but can also sustain you and keep you healthy.

This recipe is also a good reminder of why we want seeds in our food storage.  This salad calls for 12 cups of spinach leaves and if you have a sunny window you can grow the spinach during the winter if you had to.  And with the exception of the tomatoes and the avocado, all of the other vegetables can be frozen and still be somewhat acceptable in a pinch.

If you are looking for a healthy salad and you want to incorporate it into your food storage, this recipe is a really good start.  Another plus for this salad is that it is so easy to assemble.

Layered Black Bean Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Fresh ground pepper

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon or lime juice, vinegar, mustard, and pepper. Set aside.  Or, you can use any dressing that you like.

12 cups baby spinach leaves, stems removed, loosely packed
3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut into quarters, and sliced thin
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, cut into quarters, and sliced thin
Two 15-ounce cans low-sodium or no-salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
4 ounces shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

In a deep, clear, glass bowl, layer the salad as follows: 6 cups spinach leaves, 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, 1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 cup beans, 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat the layers. Top the salad with avocado.  Serves 6.

To serve, pass the salad around table, with the dressing on the side, and then just sit back and enjoy eating that tasty, good for you, treat.

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