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May 25, 2012 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Can you make corn and bean salad without tomatoes? Even more difficult, without any citrus (i.e. lime juice) at all? What substitutions would be possible?

We're looking for some new recipes and we were dreaming about corn and bean salad, but he can't eat tomatoes, peppers or any citrus at all. Are there valid substitutions that can still make yummy dishes like these? Any other summertime dishes that don't have any citrus or peppers/tomatoes/chilies in them would be great (and regretfully it can't have ANY of these. Not even a drop of lemon juice).
posted by Wuggie Norple to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
As far as possible substitutions - is he working with a low-acid thing? So acidic things in general are out?
posted by LionIndex at 3:56 PM on May 25, 2012

How about cucumber instead of tomatoes? Cucumbers would be summery and refreshing in the corn and bean salad. Maybe corn, bean, cucumber, red onion, garlic, and cilantro plus oil and vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette as dressing? Hey, that sounds really good...
posted by dayintoday at 3:59 PM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

How about carrots, avocados, sumac, raw or cooked onions, and olive oil?
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 4:05 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

honestly, I think it'd still be great with queso fresco (or feta, if you must), cilantro, green onions and avocado. better yet, make chips fresh from flour tortillas cut into triangles, salted and sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, then baked at 400 until light brown. I make this allll the time.
posted by changeling at 4:05 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

If he is able to have acidic foods then some sort of vinegar may work to replace the citrus juice.
posted by catseatcheese at 4:16 PM on May 25, 2012

Yeah, unfortunately all acids have to be out... I'm terrible with marking best answers, all the ones so far sound really good, though. Thanks!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:17 PM on May 25, 2012

Totally possible. I think if I were doing a non-tomato/citrus/pepper version I'd use jicama for some crunch, cucumber, avocado, cilantro, raw red onion, garlic, and olive oil.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 4:19 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

It might also be nice with a garlicky olive oil and some fresh herbs-- tarragon, maybe, or crushed lemon verbena? (I don't think it's acidic!)
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:21 PM on May 25, 2012

All the combo's above sound great. I would also add - make sure to use salt generously. Obviously it's a different flavor than acid, but it would keep things from being bland. If you can eat a slightly tart cheese (like a feta), I think that could add that element as well.
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:49 PM on May 25, 2012

(Previous cold grain salad tips in case there's anything useful there?)

A friend suggested putting just olive oil, garlic, and parsley in the blender and using that as dressing for black bean salads; it works wonderfully (don't mince with a knife; the blender's creamy-ising of the three ingredients is critical)
posted by kmennie at 4:53 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try cooked, cooled rice (or quinoa), chopped scallions or red onion, and red wine vinegar. Can add oil or not.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 5:09 PM on May 25, 2012

Oh, this one is easy. Use corn, beans (white and black together are best), onions, feta cheese, a chopped herb of your choice, olive oil, and red wine or white vinegar. Salt/pepper to taste, and normally a few dashes of Tabasco--but not for you. This is called "Carolina Caviar" and is the best thing ever. Eat it with corn chips.
posted by puppetsock at 5:41 PM on May 25, 2012

Can you get some mango up in there?
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 5:44 PM on May 25, 2012

Oh, and/or cooked sweet plantains.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 5:47 PM on May 25, 2012

Bleu cheese is another option, in addition to feta. White corn, black beans, and gorgonzola is amazingly delicious, particularly if you caramelize some onions and add them in.

Cilantro is a good suggestion (assuming neither you or your partner think it tastes like soap), that'll give it some of the zing that you'd otherwise be looking to get from citrus or vinegar.
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:24 PM on May 25, 2012

You could make a creamy dressing with greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche for tang. (Are those ok?) Just whisk one of them together with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I tend to add cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, and cayenne too for smoke, brightness, and heat. A minced clove of raw garlic would be good too.

I'd pour that over a mix of chickpeas, corn, cucumber, red onion, and israeli couscous, because that's my favorite summer salad. You could use it for anything though, and adjust (or skip) the spices as you like.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 8:14 PM on May 25, 2012

wow, these are terrific! Non-citrus fruits are totally ok, like mango. I'm not so sure about sumac, but it might be worth a try. I hadn't even thought about cheese (I'm not a big feta fan, but he is), all of that is great too. Thanks so much!
posted by Wuggie Norple at 5:47 AM on May 26, 2012

Okay, so do mango, red onion, cilantro, and avocado in with the black beans, and you'll have a winner.

I also can't have most citrus due to allergies, but I don't have a reaction to tangerines; if he can tolerate them, you can splash some tangerine juice in there, too.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 3:19 PM on May 26, 2012

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