Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Southwestern Corn and Avocado Salad

In the season of summer BBQs, grill-outs, and park picnics, this Southwestern Corn and Avocado Salad reigns supreme both as a stand-out side and easy-breezy main meal. It's cool flavors of sweet corn, creamy avocado, and crisp bell pepper & onion are lightly enveloped in a zesty vinaigrette piquant with cumin and lime. The salad is a great bridge (plus wonderful way to pack in some fiber & whole-grains) between the more hearty meats of a BBQ like steak or chicken, and more simpler sides like a tossed salad. Plus, the avocado, lime, and cilantro are delightfully reminiscent of guacamole, which in my opinion, always disappears WAY too fast at these types of events!

We made this recipe as a side for our Father's Day BBQ, along with hamburgers, grilled chicken, marinated portabellos, Danish Cucumber Salad, and a tossed green salad. The spread was fantastic! Guests had the option of eating the Southwestern Corn and Avocado Salad alongside a hamburger, or slicing a piece of chicken and mixing into the salad for a lighter meal. 
If you can, make the salad the night before you plan on eating it (save the avocado—that should be added in last-minute to prevent browning.) Prepping ahead will allow the flavors of the dressing to really seep into the ingredients, creating an even more vibrant dish. The dish is tasty both cold and room-temperature, and thus will transport well to the various outdoor social events it may be attending!

Southwestern Corn and Avocado Salad
Serves 4

2 cups corn, canned or grilled & shaved off the cob (4 ears)
15 oz. can low sodium black beans, drained
1 avocado, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T lime juice, plus zest of 1 lime
½ t cumin
¾ t salt
¼ t pepper
Salad greens, for serving

1. Combine corn, beans, avocado, bell pepper, onion, & cilantro in a large bowl.
2. Make dressing: combine olive oil, lime juice & zest, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk dressing, and add to large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
3. Split into 4 portions, and serve on top of salad greens.

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