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Traveling outside of my own country means it can be tough to find the regular produce I use at home to create meals each day. Once we left Austria, I didn’t see a single avocado until we reached Turkey. Black beans are virtually non-existent in Europe, as far as my search indicates. And try finding canned beans in South America that don’t have pork mixed it. The Balkans sell only lemons, not limes and I’ve given up on my hope to find kale. One of the few meals I’ve found I can make just about anywhere in the world? A Mexican Salad.
I know that onions, peppers, garlic, lemons, and some kind of bean are ubiquitous nearly everywhere. Using those five ingredients, I create the base for this refreshing Mexican salad in minutes, no matter where in the world we find ourselves.
The foundation for the salad includes the ingredients mentioned above, and I’ll add more or exchange for others as I find them. Avocado and greens are a great option. Spring onions or raw or toasted pepitas add a lovely crunch to the mix. I might decide to cook some quinoa and include it for extra protein. You can swap lentils for the beans (I found canned lentils all over Europe and in many parts of South America, why have I never seen these in the US?!). Canned corn or pickled beets? Toss ‘em in!
Get the picture?
As long as you have the base ingredients, add or swap for whatever you can find on the road. It’s really the spices that give this salad the Mexican title: cumin, cayenne, and coriander. I do prefer fresh cilantro, but it’s not always easy to find in parts of the world.
What are your favorite additions to a Mexican salad?
- 1 small red onion
- 1 bell pepper, any color will do
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, depending on taste
- Any other veggies you might find appealing including: canned corn, tomatoes, green onions, pickled beets, grated beets, greens, avocado*
- 1 14 oz can of beans or lentils. Black beans or kidney beans work best
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne or chili powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Dice the onions and pepper and mince the garlic. Set aside in your mixing bowl/pot of choice.
- Add additional vegetables, if using.
- Drain and rinse the beans, if possible (otherwise, simply drain to the best of your ability) and add to the salad.
- In a separate container (another bowl, a cup of some sort, a small glass jar), add the lemon, olive oil, spices, salt, and pepper and stir well or shake.
- Pour contents over the salad, give a stir, and enjoy!
*If using avocado, save to add until the end. With its delicate texture, it will become mush if you add to early!