Thursday, June 23, 2011

Very Veggie Black Bean Salad with Chili Lime Ranch Dressing

Note: I had forgotten to add the avocado before setting up the photo!

This is my new favorite meal. It's light and refreshing yet very flavorful and plenty filling. There is much opportunity for variation. I enjoy it as a meatless recipe, but you absolutely could replace some or all of the beans with cooked chicken, beef or pork. Even tofu, meatless crumbles, quinoa or brown rice would mesh well. If you search for ranch dressing recipes, you will find various combinations of buttermilk, sour cream and mayonnaise used. I was looking for something lighter, and since I always have plain yogurt on hand, it was an obvious choice for me in this recipe. The consistency is perfect, and the yogurt adds just a very slight tang, much like sour cream. I also have plain Greek yogurt on hand, but the consistency is much thicker and the flavor much tangier, so I opted for the regular stuff. You could even skip the dressing. As for the vegetables, if I have used something you don't like, don't use it and add more of something else.

I find this to be a very economical recipe. I used dried beans, which are dirt cheap, but even canned beans are a fairly economical choice. I used romaine lettuce, garlic and parsley straight out of my garden, and it will make it even cheaper yet when we start being able to pick tomatoes, onions and bell pepper too. Again, I use organic dairy products, and the $4.69 for a tub of organic yogurt is not hard to swallow when you break it down to only $.59 worth in a recipe. My big splurge was organic red bell peppers. They are only available in a package of two for $5.00, and I will readily admit to looking longingly at the non-organic ones that were on sale for $.77 each, the lowest I have ever seen red bell peppers selling for in a grocery store, but my overall cost for this recipe is still very low, and they were worth it. Avocados are running 2/$5.00 at my usual grocery store. They are one of my favorite foods, but I have such a hard time spending money on them when they are that high. I happened to stop it at a different grocery store across town, and they were 4/$5.00. I stocked up and got plenty to mash and freeze in cubes for the baby too!

Very Veggie Black Bean Salad with Chili Lime Ranch Dressing

6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup dried black beans, cooked according to package directions (or 1 15 oz can, drained and rinsed)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
juice from 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro (or 1 tsp dried)
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper
Optional: diced jalapeno to taste


1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 small clove garlic, finely minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp lime zest
Splash of lime juice to taste (start out with a very small amount and taste as you go)
1/2 tsp chili powder
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Step 1: Place all ingredients for dressing in a small mixing bowl, mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 2: Place all ingredients for the salad except romaine lettuce in a mixing bowl and gently toss. Refrigerate before serving if desired (can refrigerate up to a couple days before serving).

Step 3: Place a bed of romaine lettuce on each serving plate (about 1 cup), top with a very generous scoop of black bean and vegetable mixture and then garnish with chili lime ranch dressing.

Hint: Omit the chili powder and lime zest/juice from the dressing recipe, and you have a delicious traditional-tasting ranch dressing great for salads or dipping!


(Remember the lettuce was a freebie from my garden, as was the garlic, parsley and dill)
Black beans (dried): $1.99/1 lb bag, used 1/3 = $.66
Avocado: On sale 4/$5 ($1.25 each), used 1/2 of one = $.63
Red bell pepper (organic) = $2.50
Roma tomatoes: On sale for $1.49/lb, three tomatoes weighed 8 oz =$.75
Red onion: $.75/lb, used 6 oz onion = $.28
Lime: $.69, used 1/2 = $ .35
Yogurt (organic) $4.69/32 oz container, used 1/8 = $.59

Total Cost: $5.76
Six Servings: $.96 per serving


  1. That sounds really good and is amazingly reasonable! We make a salad that has black beans and corn and the dressing is ranch mixed with salsa. Probably not nearly as healthy! Lol

    If you have a few minutes you should come by and link up to our Super Stalker Sunday hop. It's live now and it's a great way to get lots more followers so you can bring us those reviews! :)

    Hope all is well with you and your family!


  2. I love your blog and I agree! I'm not the best pix taker in the world but I try!! I think your recipes and pix are fab!! And I love how you break down the cost of each recipe!! Love it! :)

    I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for linking up to the Super Stalker Sunday Hop with us!! I hope you are having fun stalking around!

    Be sure to come join us again next weekend!

    Kortney's Krazy Life

  3. Thank you April! I am a little lost but hope to get the hang of SSS here soon! lol All is well here, as i hope it is with you too! :)


  4. Thank you so much Kortney--I greatly appreciate it! :) I am just getting started in the blogging world and am trying to take it all in--I am very excited to get going and getting to know all of you wonderful ladies! :)


  5. I'm gonna try this one this weekend!