BLT Corn Pinto Bean Salad with Raw Eggplant Bacon
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.
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.