Delicious and Nutritious Black Bean Salad

It has been a crazy gardening year. We had such a long, cold spring and a late start to summer without ever having much real summer heat. The garden grew but not vigorously. The hot weather crops have produced slowly so that we are still picking corn and tomatoes though it is almost October. Some things seemed to thrive with the cool weather. We had more blueberries than we could pick. Some of the bushes are still hanging to the ground with berries. Peter counted sixteen gallon bags of blueberries in the freezer.

The peppers also liked the cool summer because we've had an abundance of them from just one or two plants.

I had never planted jalapenos before, thinking that they needed hot sunshine every day but I took a chance on them. They loved our cool mountain summer and produced many perfect peppery pods. What to do with them? Last night I threw together a big jar of pickled peppers. A first for me in thirty plus years of gardening and canning! Oh, and that eggplant there is also a first. I put a plant in the raised bed on a whim and it made a fruit! There are actually about six more fruits coming on but we'll see if a frost doesn't take them down soon.

During the month of September our evening meals have been loaded with our homegrown garden produce. Sometimes everything on the table, including the chicken or elk, potatoes and vegetables will have come from our own efforts to feed ourselves. Those are some very satisfying meals.

So despite our cool summer I have had an abundance of vegetables from the garden in my kitchen every day. Here is one recipe that uses a variety of them.

Black Bean Salad

Black bean salad is a great side dish for taco or enchilada suppers. I also make it for pot lucks and picnics and eat it for lunch. The kids love it. Black beans are very nutritious and with all the vegetables it is a truly health-building salad.

I start by chopping lots of vegetables- sweet peppers, jalapenos peppers (very finely chopped), sweet onions or green scallions, tomatoes and lots of fresh cilantro. I also add fresh or frozen (and drained) sweet corn.

Drain and rinse two cans of black beans.

The dressing is simple. The juice of one lime, cider vinegar, sugar, cumin, oil and salt and pepper.

Start by squeezing the lime for about two tablespoons of juice. Add two tablespoons of cider vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cumin (to taste), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Whisking with a fork or a whisk, add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil until emulsified.

Pour over the beans and vegetables, toss and serve!
Simple, delicious and nutritious.
A great way to use the garden harvest.