Shout-out to the Herbivores (with Bean, Corn, & Cucumber Salad)

At church we have a Wednesday night family dinner, so once a week I get to sit and have dinner with a bunch of children, all 10 or under, and I learn a lot of things.

One of these things is that you would not believe how difficult the act of eating is. Put food into mouth, chew, and swallow? While sitting semi-still in a chair? Are you kidding? Those kids are about to call protective services because clearly some labor laws are being violated. (Until it comes to dessert, of course. Then they are machines designed only to eat and scatter crumbs and become sticky.)

A lot of the time I end up at a table with two kids who love dinosaurs. What they don’t know is that I also love dinosaurs. They don’t know this because I lack the encyclopedic dinosaur FAQ recall of, say, an eight-year-old. I don’t have the heart to tell them that they too will one day squint into the middle distance when asked to pull up dinosaur facts they used to know which have since been forced out by knowledge about tax exemptions and insurance co-pays and go, Huh, well… let me think… I know I read that somewhere…. and then try and change the subject by playing another round of I Spy because no, they can’t come up with the name of the tallest dinosaur (according to later research, arguably the Sauroposeidon proteles).

Sauroposeidon, if you’re curious, translates to something like lizard earthquake god, which in my book is a lot more of a BA name than tyrant lizard king (looking at you, T. rex). So in honor of the lizard earthquake god, who was a plant-eater, I’ve got a herbivore-friendly recipe today!

I tried to come up with a good name for this, as it’s a bit like a salad but we also eat it like salsa. Here’s how that went…

Me: Huh, what to call this…

My brain: SALSALAD.

Me: … Any other suggestion? Please? Literally any other suggestion.

My brain: NOPE. SALSALAD.

Me: …

My brain: SALSALAD.

We’re just gonna go with salad, y’all, and maybe go try and cram in some more dinosaur facts to vary up whatever’s happening in my brain.

Anyway, here’s a vegan salad and/or salsa! I love the colors in it, and it’s a great side for picnics or barbecues. I use pinto beans, but you could sub black beans if you wanted.

Bean, Corn, & Cucumber Salad

1 can pinto beans
1 can diced tomatoes (can sub fresh tomatoes if you’ve got ’em)
1 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1 medium cucumber
1/4 – 1/3 cup red onion (depends on your taste)
2 cloves garlic
generous drizzle olive oil
about 2 – 4 Tbs red wine vinegar (again, depends on your taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse pinto beans. Drain tomatoes. If using canned, I recommend petite diced for the smaller pieces. Measure out corn. You can use canned corn if you’d like (or grilled corn on the cob would be great) but I find an entire can to be a bit too much corn. Dice red onion and cucumber. Combine all veggies in a bowl.

Over the bowl, crush the two garlic cloves with a garlic press. Drizzle with olive oil and mix in red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix until thoroughly combined.

This is best after a few hours in the fridge for the flavors to come together.

Variation: For a spicy version, add in one finely chopped jalapeno.

We serve this alongside spicy pork chops, burgers, grilled chicken, or piled onto tortilla chips!

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