I try not to be a terribly picky eater, but I confess to having a short list of foods I just don’t like.  Off the top of my head, some of the foods on that list include peppers, fennel, quinoa, chickpeas and blue cheese.  I’ve heard people say that your taste buds/palate change as you get older though, so from time to time I will give things a second (or third or fourth) try to see if my opinion has changed.  Black beans have long been on the list but I really, really want to like them (mainly because I’m such a huge fan of Mexican food and they’re often incorporated in dishes I’d otherwise love) so I probably eat them more often than other foods I dislike. 

While I won’t say I’m completely sold yet, salads like this make it easier for me to enjoy black beans.  I love fresh corn and ripe tomatoes, and in this black bean salad they are paired with lime, honey and chipotle to create one very flavorful dish.  This black bean salad is easy to throw together and really pretty with its colorful variety of ingredients.  It would be perfect as a lighter side for a summer cookout or even as an appetizer if you served it with chips.  If you want to make it ahead of time you can do that too – just wait to add the avocado until right before you’re ready to serve it.

Southwestern Black Bean Salad
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook (seen first on Heat Oven to 350)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed
1 tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
2 scallions, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 1/2 teaspoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat then add the corn and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring frequently.  Transfer the corn to a large bowl and combine with the beans, tomato and parsley.  

In a small bowl, whisk together the scallions, lime juice, chipotle, honey, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Pour over the salad and gently mix to coat.  Add the avocado, folding gently to incorporate, then season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.  

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