Recipe: Corn & Bean & Vegetable Salad (aka Kitchen Sink Salad)

Even though Summer in Seattle often means cool days, fog banks, and the occasional monsoon event, there are still the stray sunny afternoons with almost warm temperatures that make me crave something cold, crunchy, and light for dinner.  This little recipe is something I recently came up with after flipping through some favorite cookbooks & doing a quick web search based on a handful of ingredients I happened to have in my kitchen.  None of those ingredients were very fancy, mind you: frozen corn, fresh green vegetables, various cans of beans, and a hunk of squeaky white cheese were all begging to be combined.  The end result was a lightly dressed but incredibly flavorful dish I could, quite frankly, eat every single day of my life and probably not get sick of.  It begs to be modified.  Feeling Greek?  Add crumbled feta, replace the cumin with dried oregano & fresh mint, and you have an entirely different dish.  Fancy a bit of French?  Herbs de Provence and a healthy dose of goat cheese will do the trick.  And if you didn't eat the entire bowl in one sitting, I highly advise plopping a few scrambled eggs on top the next morning and having yourself a very delicious breakfast.

I named this Kitchen Sink Salad, because you can certainly include everything but.

Mix together the following:
1.25 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/2 zucchini, sliced into quarter moons
1 green bell pepper, haphazardly chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of chile flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
A healthy chunk of Cotija cheese to crumble on top

As much cilantro as you like, chopped
A few chopped, fresh jalapenos (seeded or not, depending on your spice tolerance) in place of the bell pepper
Any tasty type of canned or freshly cooked bean will do in place of garbanzos
Chopped hard boiled eggs for a little extra protein, especially if going meatless
Swap out any of the vegetables above for chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and/or any fresh vegetable you have on hand; just make sure to keep the ratio of vegetable to liquid roughly the same as above, otherwise you'll end up with a dry salad

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