Let’s pretend it’s summer, shall we?
Yes, let’s pretend that everyone is wearing short shorts and flowy hi-low hemmed skirts and drinking milk shakes and having backyard BBQs. That it hasn’t rained every day for what seems like weeks and that the sun is really just hiding out behind those ugly gray clouds, waiting to make it’s move.
You see, sometimes, in the deep, dark of winter, I like to make tropical foods to remind me of the warm, sunny days yet to come. Luckily, there are a plethora of tropical fruits to choose from at the supermarket, especially in winter. And since berries and other summer fruits aren’t at their best, I really encourage you to pick up some of those funny-looking fruits—persimmons, kumquats, mangoes, starfruit, dragon fruit, etc.—and give them a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the flavors you’ll find.
For me, mangoes are the ultimate complement to spicy food. You can combine them with habaneros to make a killer spicy-sweet salsa, or use them as I do in this salad: as a cooling agent. I originally paired this salad with a particularly spicy Sopa Seca, one of my new favorite weeknight meals, and it really helped to tame the heat (and my sweat) while we noshed on that chipotle-infused noodle casserole.
This superb salad is a yummy combination of protein-packed, earthy black beans, crunchy bell pepper, sweet mango, tart red onion, and zippy lime vinaigrette—all flavors that can make your taste buds sing, despite the ugly weather outside.
I think this salad would be great as a stand-alone main dish with some warm rotisserie chicken and queso fresco mixed in (my stomach is growling at the thought). Or you can even get rid of the spinach altogether and you have a very mild black bean and mango salsa. I suggest adding some minced green chiles to the final salsa for a little kick. Isn’t it fun to pretend it’s summer?
Mango-Black Bean Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
This salad is just as welcoming in the winter months as it is in the summer. It’s the perfect counterbalance to a spicy meal. Click here to download a printable PDF copy of this recipe.
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1-2 mangoes, peeled, flesh cut away from pit, and diced
½ red onion, finely diced
1 avocado, flesh scooped out and diced
3-4 cups mixed greens
1 lime, sliced into wedges for garnish.
Combine the lime juice, minced garlic, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add the black beans, bell pepper, mango, and onion. Toss to coat with the dressing. Gently fold in the diced avocado. Let marinate for 5 minutes.
Mound the mixed greens in a large bowl. Arrange the black bean mixture on top. Garnish with a lime and serve.