A bit of spice and a touch of heat makes this a perfect side dish for grilled chicken, meat or fish
I adapted this recipe from Mexican street corn. Mexican street corn is corn on the cob that has been brushed with a mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise with Cotija cheese, lime, chili powder and cilantro. I wanted to lower the calories and remove the corn from the cob to make it easier to eat when serving a group. I added black beans for nutrition, color and because I love black beans but you can absolutely leave them out if you prefer a solo corn dish.
What kind of corn should I use?
Using fresh corn cut off the cob is ideal. Fresh corn has a sweet bite that is unmatched by frozen or canned. Summertime is corn time so I strongly encourage you to use the fresh corn when in season but in the winter you can use corn that has been cut off the cob and frozen. Please don’t use canned corn. It is much too soggy for this recipe. Visit a local farmstead in August and buy a bunch of corn to cut off the cob and freeze in plastic bags so you have fresh corn all winter long. Corn is a great starch to add to lots of side dishes, salads and soups. Corn is high in carbohydrates but it does also contain many healthy nutrients like Vitamin B, fiber, magnesium, iron and zinc. The sweet flavor of corn is perfect in off-setting spicier dishes.
How should I serve this dish?
This corn and black bean dish is very versatile. It can easily be reheated or eaten at room temperature. It is also extremely low in calories and big on flavor. Serve it alongside simple roasted chicken enchiladas. Buy a roasted chicken, pull meat off bone and place in pan, add 3/4 cup of my homemade enchilada sauce and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fill chicken in flour tortillas and place in a row in a baking dish that has a half cup of enchilada sauce on bottom. Top the enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce and more shredded cheese. Cover and bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes until warm.
This dish also works great as a vegetarian entree when served with flour or corn tortillas on the side to fill with the corn, black beans and a touch of squeezed lime juice.
Serve this corn and black bean dish as a salad at lunch with grilled shrimp and avocado on top. It can be made earlier in the day so it is ready when you want to serve lunch.
Minestrone soup originated in Italy and translates to “big soup”. This is because typically it is made with an abundance of vegetables. Minestrone is a hearty vegetable soup that is made with a base of carrots, onions and celery. It also has pasta mixed in with the vegetables. Typically the vegetables used are whatever is in season. Sometimes the soup is very chunky and other times it is slightly thinner.
This Minestrone soup recipe could just as easily be called a Vegetable Stew. I add tons of broccoli, carrots, white beans, yellow squash and pasta so it is quite filling. Serve a smaller portion as an appetizer or a larger portion as a main dish for lunch or dinner. I love the spice that the pesto and touch of chili pepper add to the dish. I only put a touch of red pepper in the soup but you can add more if you like your food spicier.
This Minestrone Soup is super healthy. It’s loaded with vitamins and there is very little oil and absolutely no butter. The depth of flavor comes from the vegetables, spices and tomatoes simmering together. Feel free to add other vegetables to the soup like peas, string beans or kale. Use what you have in your refrigerator. The minestrone soup will be ready in about an hour and a half. You need to give it the time for all the flavors to come together. You will absolutely love the way your house smells when you are making this soup. My kids always come into the kitchen to see what’s cooking. I refrigerate the leftovers in individual portions so it is super easy to pop a bowl into the microwave for a healthy lunch or dinner.
You can refrigerate the vegetable soup for five days or put it in the freezer for up to two months. It is always a great idea to keep some soup in the freezer so you have a healthy meal to serve on a cold night.