Thursday, April 21, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salad, Date Balls (both vegan and gluten-free)

I've had a lot of questions lately about gluten-free recipes.  Although vegan and gluten-free are not the same thing, I've decided to start labeling the recipes that are also gluten-free. 

My family loves any food with a Mexican flair to it.  This salad is fresh, fast and easy (insert inappropriate comment here).  Eli made it the other night after swim practice.  He doubled the recipe and took leftovers in his lunch to school the next day.  If you like it more "corny" then double the corn, if you like it more "beany" then double the beans.  Eli likes it about 1:1 so he gets some of each on his spoon.  This is just a rough recipe, so adjust it to fit your own needs.  I added some sliced jalapenos on top of mine.  This one is also a big hit at potlucks or with friends.  Serve with corn chips and the whole thing is gluten-free.  It is also really good with the fry bread (previous post, but not gluten-free).  Of course it's best with beans that have soaked over night, fresh corn off the cob and your best garden tomatoes.  But it's really good with frozen corn, canned beans and whatever tomatoes you got from the store.  It's a 10 minute meal.  It's better if it sits and marinates a bit, but it's not necessary.

The menu was Rainbow Salad, Pita Chips (or tortilla chips), and fresh fruit.

RAINBOW SALAD (Mexican Corn and Beans)

1 can   black beans, drained and rinsed
2          roma tomatoes, cored and diced
1 c       fresh or frozen corn (thawed)
1 T       olive oil
1-3       cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t        dried oregano
1 ½ t    ground cumin
2 T       red wine vinegar
½ t       salt
3          scallions/green onion, copped
¼ c       fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients and mix well. 

The day care kids and I made Date Balls this morning to have for afternoon snack.  Again, this recipe is just a rough guide. So adjust it as necessary for your tastes and for your food processor.  You may like to make these with more cereal than listed here if they are too sticky/chewy for you. 

These are a nice sweet treat.  I made one and half times the recipe and it totalled about 4 dozen balls.  At that rate, each is about 45 calories and has about 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of fiber each.  They are a good energy kick for kids and/or athletes.  You could also spread these out on a cookie sheet and chill, then cut into bars. Personally, I like getting sticky and I like balls (and insert a couple more comments here). 

If you find other good mix-ins for this recipe, please let me know!  These are gluten-free when made with rice cereal.


1 c. raw almonds (or walnuts or pecans--whatever you prefer and have sitting around)
1 c. (or small package) pitted dates
1-2 T. fresh squeezed orange juice
2 c. Rice Crispies (or Grape Nuts or your favorite crunchy cereal)

Let the dates sit in warm water to soften for about 5 minutes.  In the food processor, finely chop the nuts.  Add in the dates and process until it starts to form a ball, using just a little bit of orange juice to keep the machine processing.  This mixture is very sticky, so you will need to scrape the sides and continue processing for a while. It takes about 2 minutes of processing time to get it all worked together.
Lay out about 1 c. Rice Crispies on wax paper, turn the date mixture on top, then sprinkle on the rest of the cereal.  Gently knead and fold to incorporate the cereal into the mixture--it will be sticky!  Roll into balls.

You can then roll these in powdered sugar, toasted coconut or cocoa powder if you prefer.

Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

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