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A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that higher sugar consumption among women was correlated with lower HDL (good cholesterol), higher LDL (bad cholesterol), and higher triglyceride levels.

- Fact #37
San Marzano Tomatoes

Deborah says, “San Marzano tomatoes are essential to a great marinara sauce and other Italian red sauces. You know they’re the real deal if the D.O.P. designation appears on the label. They cost a bit more than other plum tomatoes but—for both taste and texture—they’re worth it! One more thing: 35-ounce cans are not available through Amazon. You'll need 3¾ 28-ounce cans for my Marinara Sauce.”

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Black Bean Salad with Grilled Corn, Red Onion, and Poblanos

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Photo Matthew Granger

Matthew Granger

STRATEGY SESSION: Here’s another of those situations in which my job is to get out of the way and let the ingredients speak for themselves.  My sole strategic contribution lies in moderating the glycemic load. Black beans have a low glycemic index, but they are very carbohydrate-dense. Since GL is a function of GI and carbohydrate density (CD), I moderate the GL by adding components that are lower in CD  than the beans. Except for the corn, all of the vegetables in the recipe meet that requirement. In addition to a high CD, corn has a high glycemic index, but the low GIs of the other ingredients counter-balance it.


I’m a pretty disciplined eater with excellent “portion control”. I almost never eat seconds of anything—and I’m rarely even tempted. But this salad really tests me. It’s sophisticated and rustic, salty and sweet, spicy and comforting, crunchy and creamy, refreshing and hearty. Just the sort of oxymoronic thing I love.

If you cook your own beans (and I recommend mine), they’ll repay your efforts with their distinctive color, flavor, and texture—which are obliterated by the canning process. You can cook them well in advance, and you can also grill the vegetables a couple of days ahead. So-although there’s a fair amount of work involved-you can spread it out over the better part of a week. Then, when you’re ready, you can throw all of these delicious things into a bowl and stir up trouble.

Serving suggestions: I love this salad with plain or spice-rubbed grilled or broiled meats, poultry, and seafood. For the rubs, I choose spices with Latin or Tex-Mex flavors, such as chili powder, cumin, oregano, and chipotle powder.

Note: If you use canned beans, you’ll have to rinse and drain them first. (You don’t want that icky canning medium spoiling the clean fresh flavors of this dish.) If the salad needs additional moisture, add more lime juice and vinegar.  If you cook your own beans: you can do so up to 5 days in advance and store them, covered, in the refrigerator. You can make them even further ahead and freeze them, but that changes the texture and- in my opinion- defeats the purpose of cooking them. Finally, I can’t make up my mind about the oregano: At times it seems just right,  but at others it’s distracting. Try it both ways.

Special note: I’m delighted to announce that this recipe made the Foodbuzz Top 9 on July 6th, 2010. It was ranked #5 out of 859 posts.


Black Bean Salad with Grilled Corn, Red Onion, and Poblanos

  • 2 ears of corn, unhusked
  • 3 poblano peppers, about 10 ounces
  • 1 small red onion, about 6 ounces, cut through the stem into 8 wedges
  • 1½ teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups cooked black beans, with the liquid that clings to them, or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (optional)
  1. Soak the ears of corn in cold water for 20 minutes. Pull back the leaves and remove the silk. Rub the corn with ¾ teaspoon of the oil and return the leaves to their original positions.
  2. Using ¼ teaspoon of the remaining oil, put a droplet of oil on each of the peppers and rub all over. Brush ½ teaspoon of oil over both sides of the onion wedges.
  3. Preheat the grill to high. Grill the corn 3 minutes on each of 4 sides for a total of 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cut the kernels off the cobs into a large, deep bowl.
  4. Grill (or broil) the peppers until they are blistered and blackened on all sides (about 8 minutes total). Transfer to a paper bag, close the bag, and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Remove the blistered skin, stems, seeds, and membranes. Chop coarsely and transfer to the bowl.
  5. Grill the onions until they are translucent, tender, and lightly marked. Remove stem from wedges and discard. Chop onion coarsely and transfer to the bowl. Add the black beans and toss. (The salad can prepared one day in advance to this point.)
  6. Add the parsley, lime juice, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, and oregano, if using. Blend well and taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 10 servings

Per serving: 127 calories, 1 g total fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 23 g total carbohydrate, 57g dietary fiber, 7 g protein, 61 mg sodium.


  • July 5 2010, 2:35 AM
    Renee Florsheim

    Sounds wonderful, but without a grill for the corn, I’m guessing it will be a lot less interesting. Trader Joe’s used to sell frozen grilled corn, but much to my dismay they discontinued it this summer, so I’m a little frustrated.

  • July 5 2010, 7:22 AM

    Why not broil it? It may not be exactly the same, but it will still be very good.

  • July 5 2010, 4:42 PM

    this looks so good… i’ve made something similar, i’ll have to try your version.

  • July 5 2010, 11:34 PM
    Terry Sherman


  • July 6 2010, 7:22 AM

    Helo, Terry. It looks like you wanted to comment on this recipe but your comment didn’t register. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • July 6 2010, 1:38 PM
    Sherry Thrasher

    Perfect timing for this recipe! I hold a quarterly poetry salon and my featured reader is from Texas. I’m planning a tex-mex feast which will certainly include these black beans. Thanks for sharing!

  • July 6 2010, 4:13 PM

    This is a fantastic salad filled with healthy stuff, the choice of herbs makes sure it is full of flavours as well!

  • July 6 2010, 4:27 PM

    Cool! I hope it’s a big hit. Nice to know that poetry is alive and well where you are.

  • July 6 2010, 4:27 PM

    Thanks very much. My family loves it, and I hope others will too.

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