Pinto Bean and Charred Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Pinto Bean Corn Salad

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making baked beans (and heating up your kitchen), this cold charred corn and pinto bean salad is a fresh take on a bean side dish. This keeps really well, and we have taken it on a few picnics already this summer. Highly recommend!

Just char some ears of corn the next time you have your grill heated – and char the corn, remove it from the cobs and then let it chill. You can add fresh veggies that you have on hand – I used some baby cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

Here’s a fun tip: if you buy pinto beans in a flavorful sauce, just drain but do NOT rinse them. This will give extra flavor to your salad, and no need for salt – the beans will be flavorful and salty. I used Ranch Style Beans – perfect for this salad!

As for the cilantro vinaigrette, I was inspired by the Cilantro Vinaigrette from Dara of Cookin Canuck. This dressing is a keeper – creamy and herby tasting with just a hint of heat!

Happy Summer dining all!

Pinto Bean and Charred Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
  • I can (15 ounces) ranch style pinto beans, drained
  • 2 ears of corn, brush with a little oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces queso fresco cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups cucumber slices
  • Small bunch of mint or cilantro leaves
  • For cilantro vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Dash of lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
  1. Toss all ingredients for salad together and chill for one hour.
  2. Blend vinaigrette ingredients together and toss with chilled salad.

Other pinto bean salads of note:

Pinto Bean Salad, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pinto Bean and Peppers Salad, Aggie’s Kitchen
Pinto Bean Edamame Salad, Foodness Gracious

Crispy Proscuitto Cups with Caprese Chopped Salad Recipe

Proscuitto Cups 2

Crispy Proscuitto Cups with Cparese Chopped Salad

I decided to attempt some Sans-Fork salads by making edible cups. I had seen this wacky idea to make bacon baskets, but they just seemed too greasy . . and heavy, and UN healthy for my plan. Proscuitto to the rescue. Here’s the entire recipe: 1) get 1 pound of thinly sliced Proscuitto, 2) brush 12 muffin tins with vegetable oil, 3) heat up your oven to 400 degrees, 4) Line each muffin tin with a slice of proscuitto, 5) stuff the cup with aluminum foil so the Proscuitto “cup” will hold its shape while cooking, and 6) bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until, obviously, crispy. That’s it.

Oh yes, then cool and stuff with a favorite filling. Caprese chopped into little cubes sounded perfect. So, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil tossed with a little of your favorite vinaigrette. Cinchy! Might try egg salad next!

Crispy Proscuitto Cups

Crispy Proscuitto Cups with Caprese Chopped Salad

— posted by Donna

Crispy Tofu Cubes with Mango and Avocado in Sweet Chili Sauce

I make a cold shrimp salad with avocado and mango in an Asian sweet chili sauce. It is a great go-to quick main dish salad for the summer – cool, refreshing and so flavorful. Crispy tofu cubes in place of the shrimp is a wonderful switch up – added at the last minute, of course, to preserve their crispiness.

Anne and I have been huge tofu fans since writing 101 Things to do with Tofu a few years ago. It’s a fab frugal source of protein – and has a mild flavor that plays well with pretty much any other flavors. And, this sweet chili dressing is bright and flavorful with a touch of heat. If I wasn’t in mixed company when I ate this salad last night, I would have licked my plate. No, really.

Perfect for a summer Meatless Monday!

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Celebrate the Fourth! Red, White and Blueberry Quinoa Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette


Sure, we love those pretty flag cakes with the white frosting, red strawberries lined up like stripes and blueberry stars in the corner. But I wanted to make something different yet festive – a patriotic salad. What to make that has those All-American colors? How about protein powerhouse white(ish) quinoa, red strawberries and blueberries. I know, I know. Quinoa is usually eaten savory style but I think it is a perfect mild canvas for sweet flavors.

This dish is  a perfect Fourth of July recipe: a mayo-free refreshing fruity salad that can even go along on your next picnic. And the sweet tangy grapefruit vinaigrette is sublime! And, if you leave off the yogurt drizzle this is a great vegan dish.

So, cut yourself some watermelon triangles and place them in a star shape around the edges of your platter with the quinoa salad heaped in the middle. Drizzle on some Greek yogurt for a stripe-like flag effect. Then, just stand back and salute!

Happy Fourth, Everyone!

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California Roll Sushi Bowl

Califronia Roll Cold Rice Salad

California Roll Cold Rice Salad

California rolls were the first sushi I ever tried, and I love the flavors, but can’t quite get the hang of rolling those little rolls. I decided the taste would be the same whether rolled into cute little rolls or just tossed together like a cold rice salad. I gave it a try. Result: SUCCESS! This California Roll Salad is every bit as yummy as the authentic sushi rolls, and super easy to throw together.

You don’t need to buy expensive Japanese sushi rice – just plain long grain white rice will do. But be sure to start with cold cooked rice because if the rice is hot or even warm, this salad will turn into a gummy mess.

Real crab can be spendy, but I don’t like the imitation crab for this so I used the real deal in a very small amount. You can add more if you like crab.


Serves 10 to 12 as a side dish – Prep time 10 minutes

6 cups chilled cooked long grain white rice
1 large cucumber
1/2 pound cooked chilled crab meat
1 large avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons wasabi paste*
2 sheets nori (baked seaweed)**

Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds in the middle with a spoon. Dice the cucumber into very small pieces, about the size of peas. Dice crab meat. Dice avocado and toss with lemon juice.

Mix together the vinegar, oil and sugar. Toss rice with vinegar mixture (using hands is messy, but helps to distribute vinegar mixture evenly!).  Dice nori sheets into very small pieces (I like using a pizza cutter for this task).

Toss rice with diced nori, cucumber, crab and avocado. Serve sprinkled with a little diced nori for garnish.

*Available in the Asian section of your grocery store or at an Asian specialty store.

** Available in the Asian section of your grocery store or at an Asian specialty store. You can skip the nori if you like, but the salad won’t have the same Japanese feel to it.

Other food bloggers make sushi rolls:
Fried Shrimp Sushi Rolls
, Lunch in a Box
California Rolls, No Recipes
Dragon Rolls Sushi, Use Real Butter
Panko Crusted Alaska Rolls, Confessions of a Foodie Bride
Vegetable Sushi, The Perfect Pantry
Sushi Rolls, Bits of Taste

— posted by Donna

Valentine Week Begins: ‘My Heart Beets for You’ Roasted Beet Salad Recipe

It’s one week until Valentine’s Day and we here at FFF have lots of sweet ideas for serving up Love on a Plate. Surprise your Valentine with romantic – and healthy – delicious-ness!

This is a very ‘Martha’ salad – it looks so festive and like you have slaved for hours, but (confession time) this takes only a few minutes of prep time to throw together.

Beets are an ultra-healthy root vegetable. That deep crimson color means they are full of anti-cancer heart-healthy goodness, and – bonus! – it is the perfect deep redness for a Valentine themed salad!

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Meatless Monday: 'Who-Needs-Bacon?' Wilted Spinach Salad Recipe

Are you with me on this? There is just something weird about eating warm bacon grease spooned onto a salad. I have always loved the taste and texture of barely wilted spinach in a salad, but most restaurants and recipes use hot bacon grease in the wilting liquid. It is a truly American dish, traditionally served with a warm bacon dressing, according to Supreme Food Geek Alton Brown. But, seriously, the time has come for an upgrade! Spinach is one of the healthiest things you can put into your mouth, so I say Hoo-rah for Spinach!

Don’t you just love Meatless Mondays?!

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