So apparently the Golden Globes were tonight. I didn’t realize this because we don’t have a television, and I spent my evening snuggled by the fireside eating what our family affectionately, though perhaps inappropriately, calls “Black Bean Dip.” The only reason that I do know now is that I turned on “the internets” to write about the glories of said food, and discovered that Kate Winslet has won two awards. Oh, and lest we forget: Heath Ledger has won a posthumous award.
But back to the dip. Black Bean Dip is not a dip in the traditional sense of the word. It is not creamy or spreadable, though it can be scooped. It is alternatively known among the members of our congregation as “Russian Bean Dip” because my mother-in-law is well known for making it. I suppose now that I have begun to make it frequently it should be termed “German-Russian Bean Dip,” just to add another layer of confusion to its nomenclature. The recipe, of course, did not originate with me or with my mother-in-law; in fact, I have seen something rather similar to it on the back of a can of Bush’s black beans. But regardless of where it originated or what, precisely, it is termed (I have also heard it called a ‘salad.’) it is easy, healthy, and super tasty. Oh, and of course, it is naturally gluten and casein free. (Just make sure you don’t buy fancy flavored tortilla chips, which can contain hidden foodstuff nasties.)
The basic recipe is as follows, with changes I’ve made annotated. I’m all for using fresh corn in season and preparing your own beans from scratch, but all that requires forethought. The strength of this is that it can be put together using ingredients commonly in your refrigerator and pantry. (Well, commonly if you are from California or Arizona. I am of course aware that non-Western types don’t ordinarily consider avocados to be a grocery staple.)
Black Bean Dip (Or Salad, if you prefer)
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer and 2-3 as a meal. GF/CF
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Can of Whole Kernel Corn*
2 small or 1 medium Tomato, chopped
1 small or 1/2 medium Red Onion**, finely chopped
1 or 2 Avocados, diced
The juice of 1/2 – 1 Lime
A good handful of Cilantro***, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and serve with tortilla chips and margaritas. The margaritas are of course optional, and could be replaced by tequila shots, as seen above.
This “dip” can easily become a “salad” when combined with some cooked brown rice. Vegetarians will tell you to stop there, that this forms a complete protein – and they’d be right. But if you really want to go for a salad that is tasty even when served cold, brown some ground beef with whatever taco seasonings float your boat (mine vary, but usually include freshly-ground cumin and some chile pepper, onion and garlic, and oregano if I can find it). Mix in to the rice and bean salad mixture, and enjoy.
I have also used it as a side to fajitas, huevos rancheros, and mixed in to a burrito – but all leftovers should ideally be eaten within a day.
* I frequently use only half a can as I prefer to let the beans predominate.
** Or use whatever onion you have on hand; I’ve used just about every onion imaginable.
*** If you are one of those strange anti-cilantro types, I suppose you could try parsley here, or simply leave it out.