Grilled Corn, Black Bean and Avocado Salad

Remember the amazing Baja Shrimp Tacos that I made for my family a while back?  This hearty side dish accompanied that meal to remember.  There’s a lot of prep involved (chopping, grilling, seeding, etc), so make sure to leave plenty of time to compose this dish–trust me, it will be worth it!

The original recipe can be found in Cooking Light magazine; I’m not a big fan of kidney beans, so I nixed them.  The salad lacked a little flavor, so I kicked up the spiciness by leaving the jalapeño seeds in the mix and adding plenty of fresh ground black pepper.

This salad has all of guacamole’s essential components:  jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, lime, and avocado.  The tomatoes and corn add a sweet dimension, while the charred onion and roasted jalapeño add a nice robust, smoky flavor.  I love this recipe because it can be served as a side, a taco topping or with chips and salsa.

1 ½ C Quartered Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 tsp Kosher Salt plus more to taste
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper, plus more to taste
3 Large Ears of Corn, shucked
1 Large White or Yellow Onion, cut into 1/4- to 1/6-inch thick slices
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
1/3 C Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/3 C Fresh Lime Juice (Juice from 3-4 Limes, keep a couple extra slices on hand)
1 (15-oz) Can No Salt Added Pinto Beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1 (15-oz) Can No Salt Added Black Beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
2 Peeled, Diced Avocados (toss with lime juice to prevent oxidation)
Large Grill Pan
Aluminum Foil
Small Paper Bag

1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat (around 350 degrees F). If you are using charcoal, light the coals and let them smolder. Meanwhile, coat grill pan with spray oil or nonstick cooking spray. In a single layer, place onions on grill pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Spritz with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place jalapeño on grill pan.

2. Prepare corn by cutting three 8-inch pieces of aluminum foil (one piece for each ear). Spritz corn with olive oil and dust with black pepper (don’t add salt until after grilling!) Wrap the foil tightly around the ear of corn, twisting at the ends (think: burrito). Repeat with remaining ears.

3. Place the grill pan and ears of corn on the grill.

Gas grill: turn every 4 to 6 minutes.
Charcoal grill: place the grate close to the smoldering coals and turn every 8 to 10 minutes.

Keep an eye on the jalapeño and turn until mostly charred. Place it in a paper bag and fold over the top to steam, about 8 to 10 minutes. The onions are ready when tender, charred, and crunchy. Remove vegetables from grill to cool (about 2 to 3 minutes). Unwrap the corn.

4. When the corn is cool to the touch, using a large mixing bowl as a basin, cut the kernels from the cob with a serrated knife. Add chopped onion.

Remove the jalapeño from the bag and remove charred skin. Discard stem and remove seeds. If you prefer some heat, leave about half of the seeds. Add to corn and onion mixture.

5. Add the remaining ingredients: black and kidney beans, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. Mix until combined. Gently fold in avocado and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, to taste. Enjoy warm or chilled.


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