the taste space

Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on February 3, 2011


I am not very mainstream.

I can’t remember the last time I watched my TV.  I only went to the movie theaters during Hot Docs and the Toronto International Film Festival. Not to catch the blockbuster that will be out next week, rather the international movies that I would not be able to watch otherwise. My favourite movie is Life is Beautiful, but The Diving Bell and The Butterfly comes close.

But when I look for recipes, I am drawn to tried-and-true recipes, from reputable chefs like Claudia Roden, the Moosewood Collective or from sites like Epicurious. I don’t have any cookbooks from Rachael Ray, although I have tried her penne alla vodka recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.

However, move over guys, I have a new favourite cookbook: Radiant Health, Inner Wealth by Quintessence Challis. An indie cookbook if I have ever seen one, and I was drawn to it by its high praises in the cookbook review section on vegweb. Comments from each recipe are compiled (and continue to be added) and nearly every one was positive. I cringed at it being plugged as a weight loss cookbook on its website, but bought it anyways since the recipes intrigued me. I am all about the tasty, healthy recipes, right?

The first recipe I tried was a black bean, cilantro and apricot salad. I adapted it slightly since I did not use corn and increased the carrot. I started with freshly cooked black beans, and then added sweet, chopped dried apricots and crunchy carrots. A little bit of zing came from the green onion and ginger, and more subtle sweetness came from the mango nectar. A bit of acidity from lemon juice, and this was golden.

The next day, when I tasted it, I was floored. This was an “Oh my gosh, this salad is SO GOOD” moment (it really needs the overnight marinade, by the way).  There was enough extra marinade that it was used as the dressing once the spinach was added. I never would have thought to pair all these ingredients together, but the spinach was the perfect accent. It was a great lunch for work, since I packed the spinach separately. Filling, tasty and healthy – what else could you want?

I am thrilled to have found this cookbook, but sad that I didn’t get Tess’ second cookbook at the same time (only $5 more). I thought it was all about planning meals (heck, I can do that!) but it also has 80 recipes. Next time! :D


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Sandhya’s Kitchen.

Updated to add: I prefer this with more beans, so I have updated the recipe to use 2×14 oz cans of beans. It is also lovely with freshly squeezed orange juice instead of the mango juice.

Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad

2-3 cups cooked black beans (or 2x14oz or 1×19 oz cans drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2-3/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 green onions, finely sliced

1/2 cup mango nectar or juice (I have used fresh orange juice too, which is good!)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or lime juice) – I used lemon but I am sure lime would be even better
1/2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
3/4 tsp salt

4 cups baby spinach

1. Combine black beans, dried apricots, carrots, cilantro and green onions in a large bowl.

2. In a separate small bowl, combine mango juice, olive oil, lemon juice, tamari, ginger, garlic and salt. Mix well.

3. Toss marinade with bean mixture and marinade in the refrigerator for at least several hours.

4. To serve, bring to room temperature and toss with the spinach.

Serves 4.

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35 Responses

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  1. Dawn said, on February 3, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    I love all the flavors in this. Great choice. And isn’t it so true that, especially with salsas and hearty salads, once the flavors have a chance to meld together it just gets better and better!

  2. BB Talan said, on February 3, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    I’m very happy I came across this blog a few weeks ago. It’s part of my RSS feed now. I like your selections of recipes and have bookmarked quite a few. On a totally different note (and realizing that this is a cooking blog), I’d like to get a few more movie recommendations! :) I loved La vita e bella and put The Diving Bell and The Butterfly immediately on my Netflix queue. Any more?

    • Saveur said, on February 3, 2011 at 10:16 PM

      Ooh.. another one of my favourites is Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, which is a very, real, honest and raw portrayal of the front-line workers at MSF.

      My favourite movie from TIFF this year was Submarine, which blew me away since i wasn’t expecting anything. I find comedies hard to do, and loved this (akin to Little Miss Sunshine with its wacky off-beat comedy).

      Other favourites are Hunger, Enchanted, Kontroll, Amelie,The Vintner’s Luck, and Transamerica.

      For tv, the only show I watch is Dexter, which is also adore, but it is basically like a ridiculously long movie. :)

      What are your favourites?

      • BB Talan said, on February 5, 2011 at 3:09 PM

        Yeah! I put them on my list. A lot of them do not seem to be available on Netflix (yet), but I’m hoping if enough people put them on their “saved” list, they may make them available… ;)
        Amelie is one of my all time favorites. I also like Scandinavian movies: My life as a dog, Elling, Adam’s Apples, Kitchen Stories or Jalla jalla. A movie from my Netflix roamings that surprised me (in a good way) was Coraline. Hmh… what else: I liked Good bye Lenin and The Life of Others – I’m German so I may be biased. I agree that good comedies are hard to find: I loved In&Out – it’s so old, but it still makes me laugh. Persepolis was also good, not a comedy though… I liked Babies and Winged Migration as documentaries. Beautifully filmed and very relaxing.
        And I’m a sucker for good animation movies or other children’s movies: The Incredibles, Up, Wallace & Grommit, Monsters, and Ratatouille for example. And the one I’ve loved since I was a kid: The Jungle Book.
        I heard Dexter is good, but I cannot do violence, blood, supense or anything like that. It’s PG for me unless it’s for nudity or language. :)
        That’s all I come up with for right now.

  3. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said, on February 3, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    wow, such a beautiful sight to eyes and once eyes are pleased, there is no doubt tummy will love it too :)

  4. Joanne said, on February 3, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    I love it when I find a new cookbook or recipe in an unlikely place and it turns out to be a winner. This salad does look wonderful…and now I’m so going to have to purchase that cookbook. sigh.

    And I dont’ even own a tv. So not mainstream either.

  5. Priya said, on February 3, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Wow thats a colourful salad, truly delicious..

  6. Cara said, on February 6, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Thanks for the cookbook rec – I trust your taste! This salad sounds wonderful, but then again I love anything combines sweetness with a little spice.

  7. DebinHawaii said, on February 6, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    This is such a colorful, gorgeous salad and I love the sound of those ingredients combined. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-) I’ll check out that cookbook too.

  8. Rose said, on February 12, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    I love the shot with the baby spinach so much! I’ve been on a Middle Eastern (Egyptian, specifically) food kick for the last couple weeks but I think this is going to be my lunch for the week.

    • Rose said, on February 14, 2011 at 9:08 PM

      Replying to myself… :)

      Janet, I just wanted to let you know that the salad is AMAZING. My boyfriend and I made it last night, to take to work for lunch for the week and we both loveeeeeeee it. Made a couple changes – nothing drastic, added some kale along with the spinach, added chopped jicama and avocado. Thanks so much for the great recipe, you made both of us very happy this week. :D

      • Saveur said, on February 15, 2011 at 6:57 AM

        Yayaya! So glad you loved it! I never thought salad could be so scrumptious and healthy at the same time. :) Kale and avocado sound like great additions… although I have never tried jicama. I will have to scope it out. :)

  9. Jeanette said, on February 13, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    This salad looks gorgeous and I love the natural sweetness from the fruits.

  10. Ashley said, on February 22, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Hey thanks for pointing me to this salad! I am back in December in my blog reader so haven’t made it up to recent posts yet. :) I will definitely add this to my list of recipes to try. But I think part of the problem with the apricots I got is just the type – the Blenheim California ones have a weird and sour taste to me. Some of them even taste like.. curry or savoury food. It’s really bizarre. Maybe it’s just me or maybe they absorbed some nearby aromas in the store. I’ve never heard of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth but it sounds like it’ll be a great cookbook. I look forward to seeing what else you make from it. And also I had no idea there was a “cookbook lab” discussing vegetarian cookbooks. How awesome. I have so many books I’ve hardly touched and it would be great to see what other people like and don’t like.

  11. Ashley said, on February 22, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Oh my goodnesssssss I just looked through a preview of the Radiant Health Inner Wealth book and really want it now!! And since you said you wish you got the other book too I’m thinking maybe I should get both haha. Did you order directly from the website? I usually get books from Amazon but Amazon.ca doesn’t seem to have these ones.

    • Saveur said, on February 22, 2011 at 7:32 PM

      Hey Ashley, I totally recommend the first book! I have yet to buy the second book. I know it is a bit pricey, but all the recipes have been great so far… at some point, I will post them… my favourite is this salad, but I also really liked the tamarind-date chutney, red lentil and tamarind spinach dish, the spinach, lentil and lemon soup (already posted here) and the edamame miso dip was incredible as well. I cannot give it enough praises… :)

      I ordered it directly from Tess through her website (it sucks amazon.ca doesn’t sell it, I know). She takes paypal and credit cards. :)

  12. Ashley said, on February 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Ooo okay perhaps I will order it tonight. It’s hard to find healthy cookbooks with recipes that taste good and are satisfying (like not just side dishes or salads or whatever). I’m excited!! I like the idea of the radiant health plan too. Most of the things would be easy to follow (and things I’d like to follow) but it’d be hard for me to give up dairy products. I’d be interested to see how I feel though!

    • Saveur said, on February 22, 2011 at 10:20 PM

      Let me know which recipes you like once you start cooking from it. :) I actually find I don’t really miss dairy, although I still have a cup of milk (mainly chai tea) once a day. I am trying to wean myself over to rice/almond/soy milk, but we’ll see how it goes. ;)

      • Ashley said, on February 23, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        I found switching away from regular milk (except in some baking) wasn’t too bad. I can’t drink a glass of regular milk now! I think you just need to find an almond/rice/soy milk that you like because they’re all so different. (I like Silk Soy unsweetened.) But when it comes to making cream sauces, I really really do not at all like vegan cream sauces made with soymilk. Maybe I need to try with almond milk or something.

      • Saveur said, on February 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        Oooh! Thanks for the tip. I have decided to try a whole bunch of drinks to see what I like. I’ll definitely try Silk. I don’t mind one of the Chinese brands of soy milk but I have to see which stores carry it. It is such a fun adventure! :)

  13. […] I find dried apricots more flavourful and have incorporated them into many salads, granola and energy bars. I have even added them to savoury dishes. When I do find myself with […]

  14. Sandhya said, on March 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Thank you for your lovely Entry Janet to MLLA 32 !

  15. […] the end, I made the red lentil and lemon soup for Good Friday, the black bean, cilantro and apricot salad (substituting fresh orange juice for the mango nectar which was just as good) and my staple hummus […]

  16. […] kinds of meats for guests, whereas I typical reign in the salad department. I have revisited some of my old favourites, and of course, tried out a few new ones that will be shared shortly, including […]

  17. […] for corn recipes. I usually don’t like corn – of the frozen or canned variety. I will actively remove it from recipes (celery gets removed even more quickly) so it was a challenge to do the […]

  18. […] Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad […]

  19. […] been a sweetie, picking recipes from my Top Recipes from 2011 post so he could make me dinner on V-Day and braved the elements on our anniversary for a special barbecue delight. However, I was […]

  20. […] “Paneer” – Thai Tropical Fruit and Tofu Salad – Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad – Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad – Spinach, Orange, and Toasted Almond Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette – Toasted Sesame Orange […]

  21. carmen said, on April 4, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    This is a delicious salad – great for a potluck as you can mix when ready to serve…and it is also good with a bit of chopped chicken. I first made this salad years ago from a recipe in sunset magazine. the only difference was yellow or orange pepper instead of carrot.

  22. […] of the recipes Tess included is one of my favourites from her first book: Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad. I routinely make it, changing ingredients, matching what I have in my […]

  23. […] Pakoras, 15-Minute Zippy Garlic-Basil Marinara with Zucchini Noodles, Dillicious Yellow Tofu, Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad, Almost Raw Asian Kale and Edamame Salad, Lime-Spiked Black Bean and Quinoa Kale Wrap, Miso […]

  24. […] (1/09/14) is National Apricot Day so we are sharing a recipe for Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad from Janet at The Taste […]

  25. […] Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad – When we ran out of pulled pork, we still had several corn tortillas. I made a mango and black bean salad based off an apricot and black bean salad from the taste space. The recipe has been a regular in our kitchen for about 3 years now. […]


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