janet @ the taste space

BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on August 29, 2012 at 6:23 AM

After I ate the last serving of this salad, I was sad. Sad I had no more salad left. It was that good.

Rob cocked his head and asked, So is this a repeater recipe?

But we have no more corn! And no more spinach or lettuce! And I think my Appaloosa beans are finished, too.

That can easily be remedied, Janet.

Besides, I just bought 53 lbs of tomatoes (yes, I did it!)
I think I should focus on those!

So this one will just go down in the vault as a wickedly delicious salad. And contrary to my sorry excuses, this is a very forgiving salad. Use your favourite salad toppers. Just don’t skip on the tomatoes. And the dressing.

This salad all began with the creation of the raw eggplant bacon. I picked up a super cheap monster eggplant and earmarked it for the dehydrator. The salty and sweet marinade (tamari, maple syrup, vinegar, chili powder, smoked paprika and liquid smoke) was delicious and I couldn’t wait for them to dry out. Twelve hours felt like a life-time. I was blown away by the texture of the eggplant, airy yet crispy but sadly, with a fraction of the flavour from the salivating marinade. Since I used low-sodium tamari there wasn’t the uber saltiness associated with bacon but it was pretty nice, regardless. Does it taste like bacon? Not at all, but I don’t consider that a bad thing. 😉

I also used some of the extra marinade to make zucchini chips. Since I sliced them cross-wise, they looked like chips and tasted like bacon chips, too. However, those went into my belly. The eggplant bacon went into this salad. (For the record, I prefer the eggplant version!)

Obviously, this salad pushes monumental levels when you use fresh, ripe ingredients. Fresh heirloom tomatoes, check. Local, fresh corn on the cob, check. Cute heirloom pinto beans, I’ve got that covered. Your greenery of choice (or whatever is in your fridge): baby spinach. I added oomph to the original dressing by mirroring the bacon marinade, throwing in smoked paprika and chili powder. Lime juice makes this a bright dressing. And while I was worried I wouldn’t have enough dressing with only the juice from 2 non-juicy limes, after I placed everything in jars for the week, the tomatoes macerated, adding tomato juicy goodness to the dressing, too. Now it was perfect.

For another variation on the corn + tomato + bean salad, try this one with a balsamic dressing, toasted in a skillet.

BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad

This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, to Healthy Vegan Fridays, to this week’s Raw Food Thursdays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this week’s favourite summer recipes, and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad
Adapted from Joy The Baker

2 cups cooked pinto beans (I used Appaloosa beans)
1-2 ears of corn (1 cup)
1 pint (2 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes (I used the cute heirloom tomatoes)
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
6 cups baby spinach (Romaine lettuce would be nice here, too!)
3 tbsp fresh lime juice (2 limes)
1 tsp olive oil (optional, I did not use it)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
3 drops liquid smoke (optional, but good!)
1/2 tsp salt
8 slices of eggplant bacon (see below)

1. Peel back the husk of the ear of corn and remove the strings. Keep the husk on so you can use it as a handle. Over a gas burner, char the raw corn. Rotate until all the kernels are charred. Allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, combine the pinto beans, tomatoes, and green onions in a medium-sized bowl. Cut off the corn once it has cooled and toss with the remainder of the salad vegetables.

3. In a small jar, combine the dressing ingredients: lime juice, oil, chili powder, smoked paprika, liquid smoke and salt. (Note: Consider adding in some chopped tomato, too)

4. Mix the dressing with the veggies. When ready to serve, plate your greens, top with your vegetables and sprinkle with crushed eggplant bacon. Or assemble it into a jar and munch on it throughout the week! (Keep the raw bacon separate because it will become soggy in the jar even after a few hours)

Raw Eggplant Bacon
Adapted from Choosing Raw

1 large eggplant, halved and sliced lengthwise into thin (1/4 inch thick or less) slices
2 tbsp tamari (I used low-sodium)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
5-10 drops liquid smoke
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1. In a large ziploc plastic bag, place all the marinade ingredients. Mix well. Add in your eggplant slices and mix well. Seal your bag and allow to marinate at least an hour.

2. Place eggplant onto mesh-lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 115F for 12 hours, or until your desired crispiness. Alternatively, Gena says you could bake them at 350F for 35 minutes, basting with additional marinade as required.

  1. The flavors all sound so good! I especially lOve the liquid smoke. That bacon sounds great too. I did sOmething similar once with portabellos once. It works in an oven on the lowest temp over night too.

  2. YUM! I have been meaning to make myself some raw bacon for so long! Maybe this is the push I finally need 😉

    Lovely salad too- it’s kind of nice when you are sad a food is done, that means you enjoyed it!

    Have a lovely day my dear!

  3. This is such a crazy cool recipe! And it’s recipe #3 I have found for eggplant! The first is the soup I made recently, the second is the eggplant burger from peas and thank you and now this!

  4. This salad sounds great! I definitely need to try out making some of that eggplant bacon. And hooray for lots of tomatoes! Does this mean vast canning endeavour? 🙂

  5. Gorgeous and totally delicious looking! I’m bookmarking it to try. Glad you liked the eggplant.

  6. I’m pretty sure this is one of those dishes I’d look forward to eating all day and then would feel so sad about when it was gone!

  7. I love the idea of raw bacon! Such a clever idea. This looks delicious!

  8. I love this and I need to try that raw eggplant bacon. 😉 It’s the perfect summer salad. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  9. This reminds me it’s been way too long since I made my eggplant “bacon”! We were loving the stuff last year. Hmm, next time I see a huge eggplant at the farmers market I know what I’m doing!

  10. I am quite curious about trying eggplant bacon – the meaty flesh would be great in it – but I can’t imagine it could replace tofu bacon which is a regular in our house. – love the salad!

    • Tofu bacon? I find tempeh bacon never tastes like bacon but it is all int he texture. At least the eggplant is super crisp, like when you fry it for a very long time. I will have to investigate! Have you shared your recipe?

  11. […] BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon from The Taste Space.  A stunning dish that really showcases fresh corn! […]

  12. I had raw eggplant bacon once and fell in love! But I haven’t tried making it myself yet. Thanks for the recipe! Thanks also for sharing this delicious salad at Raw Foods Thursdays!

  13. […] return of the raw eggplant bacon. Flatbread made with kabocha squash, buckwheat and flax.  And for that mayonnaise, I whipped up a […]

  14. […] to this BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon from the taste space: […]

  15. O.M.G…Yummoo! I keep trying to ‘like’ eggplant, cause it’s good for me and lots of good recipes but this BACon,,,to die for and the salad combo,,,oh yea it’s a keeper :))

  16. […] Happy Thursday, everyone!  I love Thursdays for two reasons.  Number one, it’s almost Friday!  And number two, I get to learn raw foods tricks and recipes from you!  Last week I challenged you to share raw foods recipes that used a dehydrator.  Thank you, Janet, for linking up a delicious BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad! […]

  17. […] 4. BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon […]

  18. […] you may have noticed, I am still on my smoked paprika kick. Here are other recipes I have […]

  19. […] by Gorilla Foods, I’ve made a (non-raw) kabocha squash curried flatbread, but filled it with eggplant bacon as a BLT. Their raisin chutney has been on my hit-list, though. Although their guacamole recipe is […]

  20. […] food that is still down-to-earth, delicious and easy. I have made many of her recipes (there are too many to count, ok plus these, too), and I have bookmarked many more to […]

  21. […] BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon from The Taste Space.  A stunning dish that really showcases fresh corn! […]

  22. […] BBQ Eggplant Salad inspired by The Taste Space […]

  23. […] has been a long time since I’ve cooked with eggplant (over 2 years, if you excuse my Raw Eggplant Bacon from last year as that was not technically cooked). Roasting it is definitely my preferred cooking […]

  24. […] I have made raw eggplant bacon before, coconut bacon had been on my hitlist for awhile. I even captured a picture of their […]

  25. […] am no stranger to coconut bacon (or eggplant bacon) and let’s be honest, they are nothing like “real” bacon.  I was never one to […]

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