Saturday, August 22, 2009

Four Pepper Black Bean Salad with Tangy Lime Vinaigrette


Oh internet. How I've missed you. What happened to us? Remember back when we used to hang out and talk about recipes every other day? And then tell each other secrets and brush each other's hair? Good times.

So. I don't even want to go into where I've been over the past two weeks, I don't want to bore you with tales of mystery soup and the odds and ends of our pantry and freezer. Honestly, I'm just too tired to even go into it all right now. Lets just say that the baby has been difficult (night. waking. every. hour. ack.) and there may have been a week or two where I mismanaged the budget and consequently, we didn't buy much in the way of groceries. There were also some failed pickles. I don't even want to talk about the stupid failed pickles. GAR! Damn pickles. I will conquer you yet!



Lets talk about brighter things. Bell peppers! Oh, how I love them. I love them especially in this salad, in all it's tangy goodness. And darlings, it's so simple! This is one of my go-to recipes for summer, and it's a great on a hot summer evening, or as a pot-luck item at a summer barbecue. And of course, bell peppers are in season right now, so they are delicious and cheap. What's not to love?


Four Pepper Black Bean Salad with Tangy Lime Vinaigrette

What's the difference between a green, yellow, orange, and red bell pepper? They are actually all the same vegetable, just in different stages of ripeness.* The riper the pepper, the more red and sweet it is. I like that this salad has all four colors, because it provides a broad range of flavors, from the crisp tartness of a green pepper to the sharp sweetness of a red one, and the mellow flavor of the oranges and yellows between. Mix it up with some creamy black beans and lime vinaigrette, and you've got one hec of a salad.

* UPDATE: I stand corrected. While green and red peppers are indeed the same plant, yellow and orange strains are different altogether. Thanks Elizabeth! :)

4 bells peppers, preferably in green, yellow, orange, and red
1 14oz can of black beans
1 small red onion (or 1/2 a medium one)
1 bunch cilantro
3 limes
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce to 1/2 if you want it milder)
kosher salt
black pepper

Take your four bell peppers and dice them up. Oh, what's that you say? You want me to explain how to do that? Oh! Oh! So excited! K, here goes: First cut the top off a bell pepper. Set it aside. It is a tasty snack for you to eat.

then cut off the bottom of the bell pepper. Revolutionary, right?

Cut pepper into thirds, and remove ribs and seeds.

Slice each third into strips...

... then cut across the strips to make little cubes. Voila! diced bell pepper. Wasn't that easy?

Remember that bottom? We are not done with it.

Slice into strips...

...and then slice crosswise. Wow, we are having SO MUCH FUN. Why did I neglect you for so long, internet o' mine? After this, let's go boil some water! Yeah! Good times. Repeat with other peppers, and then put all those peppers in a medium bowl.

Open 1 can of black beans. Oh yuck. What IS that stuff around the beans? I don't know, but let's wash those beans off.

Oh, so much better. Add to the bowl of peppers.

Now take 1 small red onion.

Slice into, er, slices.

Then slice those slices into, er, dices. Woo! I'm on a roll here. Add to peppers and beans.

Finely chop 1 bunch cilantro. Add to peppers, beans, and onions.

Ready for that vinaigrette? Add the juice of three limes.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk together. Add 1/3 cup olive oil in a slow steady stream, still whisking. Whisk until combined.

Add 3 tablespoons honey.

Whisk in 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Whisk together and pour over pepper black bean mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Let rest 5-10 minutes, to give the flavors a chance to meld. Enjoy!


  1. I love love love your blog. Readi it all the time, But I had to say something about the this is a common misconception. (I thought it too until my botanist mother corrected me and I also started growing my own!)

    Green bell peppers are in fact immature peppers (althought you can get varieties that remain green throughout the maturation process). The other colours are the mature variety of different kinds of the same Capsicum annum species. Example: Outside my door right now, are a yellow pepper variety (Golden Summer Hybrid) which start out green but turn yellow when ripe.
    Some are never green and start out white. You are right though, SOME bell peppers go through the rainbow before settling on a colour...just depends on the variety!

  2. This is pretty much Deb's recipe from Smitten Kitchen, right? I lovelovelove this black bean salad. I make it every summer, at least once!

  3. Elizabeth - duh! I totally should have known that. I was just looking at a seed catalog this morning and thinking that didn't seem right. I'm going to go and fix that right now.

    Sarah - eh. yes. no. sort of. It's kind of like if a violinist and a rapper both did jingle bells. It's the same song... only not. I won't lie - Deb's salad was totally in inspiration for this one. I made hers a couple of years ago, and although we liked it alot, we like this one better. In particular, I felt like there was something to be desired in the vinaigrette; it was kind of boring. And I also thought there were too many beans. And also, I like cilantro. And also, red onions. So yeah, sort of the same! But different. You should try this version! :)

  4. Can't wait to try this! The colors alone are just so gorgeous I can't resist...the only bummer is that I'll have to make the vinaigrette with lemons instead of limes because there are no limes here, but I'm sure it will still be fabulous!

  5. Beautiful Pictures! I can't wait to try this salad!!

  6. We make something similar with the addition of sweet corn. Scoop it up with tortilla chips and call it dinner. So yummy and easy. Also great on a bed of lettuce with cilantro ranch dressing. Mmmmm... gotta make some soon. thanks for the reminder!

  7. Any one who uses a whole bunch of cilantro in a recipe gets two thumbs up in my book! Making this tonight using purple and green bell peppers and cilantro from the farm, and black SOYA beans. I only have lime juice in the bottle, and some lemons so maybe I'll mix it up! Might try toasting the cumin seeds before I grind them. Corn would probably be a nice addition too, its at its peak here right now! Thanks for the perfect dinner idea!

  8. oh joy, just found 3 limes in the lemon bowl :)

  9. Becks,
    Your blog and photos are absolutely beautiful! The colors are so vibrant! Stunning, gorgeous! I found your blog through Tastespotting and I always look forward to reading :-)

  10. Made this yesterday for a Labor Day get together and everyone raved at how tasty the salad was.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  11. This salad is wonderful!! Five stars! :)