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Bean, Grain and Green Salads

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Brown Rice, Black Bean and Cabbage Salad With Mango and Avocado

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 to 8 as a side dish

(Note: I'm grateful to Saveur magazine and the blog "Pinch My Salt" for developing a foolproof method for cooking brown rice.)

  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed thoroughly
  • Salt
  • 1 can (15 to 16 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 small mango, peeled, flesh away from the pit, and cut into small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1/4 medium red onion (about 1/2 cup), sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over high heat. Add rice and a sprinkling of salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until rice is nearly tender, about 30 minutes. Drain rice and immediately return it to hot pot. Cover and let stand off heat until rice is dry and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer rice to a large bowl.

Meanwhile drain and rinse beans, shred cabbage, and prepare mango, pepper, avocado, onion and cilantro, and add to bowl of rice. Drizzle with oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Drizzle with lime juice; toss to coat again. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Quinoa, Black-Eyed Pea and Kale Salad With Scallions and Peppers

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 to 8 as a side dish

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Salt
  • 1 can (15 to 16 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 packed cups of kale that's been washed, stemmed and torn into bite-size bits
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar

Bring 2 cups of water, the quinoa and a sprinkling of salt to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until quinoa is just tender and water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Turn into a large bowl and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, drain beans, drizzle kale with 1 teaspoon of the oil and massage the leaves until they turn a shade darker. Dice the pepper, chop the celery, slice the scallions and add all of these prepared ingredients, along with the black-eyed peas, to the quinoa. Drizzle salad with remaining 1/4 cup of oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add vinegar; toss to coat again. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Pam Anderson, AARP food expert, is a New York Times bestselling cookbook author who blogs at

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