Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mommy's Mexican Bean Salad

You know how a lot of people have a few "signature dishes" that they always make, and that everyone associates with them? One of my mom's signature dishes is definitely her "Mexican Bean Salad." If we are having a family pot luck or any type of get-together, my mom is more than likely to show up with her Mexican Bean Salad in hand. In fact, it was one of the first dishes I thought of when I started brainstorming ideas for my MoFo theme this year because I just so strongly associate it with my mom.

setting the scene for you

At some point (maybe when I was in junior high?), I remember that she got a shiny little paperback cookbook called "Salads." It was tall and skinny and it had a very 80's design sensibility... so I guess that dates it a little bit. She definitely put that book to good use, and I think she has quite a few favorites from it - but none more so than "Mexican Bean Salad."

This is a simple, super-quick recipe that is a total crowd-pleaser. As far as I could tell, my mom has always enjoyed cooking, but she was also always busy working, serving on the city council, gardening, raising us, running the house, volunteering... she definitely had her hands full (and still does!!) So, a yummy recipe that comes together in a flash and doesn't get complaints is a clear winner.

To this day, I'm always happy to see that MBS show up - I've never gotten tired of it.

And yet, funny enough, I pretty much never make it for myself. I guess I just count on my mom to make it for me! I was pretty sure I had a copy of the recipe somewhere in my house, so I sorted through my 2-foot-deep pile of looseleaf recipes (torn from newspapers or magazines, handwritten on scrap paper, written by friends or relatives...) and sure enough I found an old xerox copy of the MBS recipe from that special Salads cookbook! Yay!

I'm happy to have my very own copy of this recipe... because if there's one thing this Noshtalgia theme has taught me, it's just how much the foods from our past can connect us with the people we love. I'm glad to know that I've got my hands on the treasured Mexican Bean Salad, and that many years from now, I'll never have to wonder "What was that salad and how did she make it??"

I'm sure that book is out of print, so here's the recipe, from a book called "Salads:"
Mexican Bean Salad
serves 2 for dinner, 4-6 as a side dish

1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained
1-1.25 cups corn kernels (thawed, if frozen)
1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped (I used an orange bell pepper)
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 cups lettuce, shredded (optional)

Garlic-Lime Dressing:
1/4 C olive oil (I used 1 Tbsp)
Juice of 1/2 a lime (I used a little extra)
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt & black pepper, to taste

to garnish:
lime slices
cilantro sprigs

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the beans, corn, bell pepps, green onions, and cilantro. Prepare the Garlic-Lime Dressing by combining all the ingredients in a jar and shaking it like crazy. Pour it over the bean-corn mix and toss it all together nicely. To serve, pile some lettuce on each plate or bowl, and top with the bean-dressing mix. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro pieces. Nom on it. 


  1. sounds wonderful!! definitely nom worthy:)

  2. Anonymous6:31 PM

    Yum! I love the coriander-lime combo.

  3. That looks really good...I need a big salad like that for lunch!

    ~Have a lovely day!

  4. Perfect! Another use for kidney beans beyond chili!
    So many of my memories are food-related-it's such a wonderful way to remember happy times by recreating the dishes you enjoyed in the past.

  5. Anonymous6:14 PM

    I love this post! Actually, I've enjoyed all your posts. But this salad looks killer and I definitely want to try it!

  6. garlic and lime and a mommy recipe!!! Teenage Amey was a good studying :)

  7. mmmm this looks great, and full of great feelings :)


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