Black Bean and Farro Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette

With a long weekend quickly approaching, my mind has been on summer and everything that comes with it: warm weather, cold drinks, and plenty of cookouts. I love this time of year because we do so much cooking and eating outside.

It’s never hard to decide what to grill as the main course, but choosing sides isn’t always as easy, especially when it comes to choosing something for a group of people.

Mayonnaise-based dishes are common cookout staples, but the thought of those sitting in the heat for too long makes them less than appetizing to me. Don’t get me wrong, potato salad is one of my favorite summer sides. When it comes to eating outdoors, though, I prefer something much lighter and with no dairy. Enter farro salad. Light, refreshing and endlessly adaptable, this may just be my favorite recipe for summer.

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Simple Lemon and Arugula Pasta

Editor’s note: I’m very happy to welcome Courtney from Cook like a Champion blog as the newest contributor to the site!

If there’s ever a time when I don’t feel like cooking, it’s in the middle of summer. I don’t know if it’s the long days (more time to play) or the fact that it’s too hot to stand over the stove, but I always struggle with what to cook in July.

There’s an abundance of produce at my farmer’s market, but it’s all so perfect I almost hate to even cook it. July is the month to appreciate quick meals with fresh ingredients.

There are plenty of nights I’d be fine having a salad or even cheese and crackers for dinner, but I obviously can’t go the entire month without cooking dinner. That’s where recipes like this one come in. The only thing that has to be cooked is the pasta.

The residual heat from the hot pasta cooks everything else, creating a simple and delicious meal that can be enjoyed on the hottest of days. Even better, this pasta tastes just as fantastic at room temperature, which means it would be great for a picnic or potluck.

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Black Bean Hummus with Lime and Cumin

black bean green chile hummus

Written by Katie of GoodLife Eats

I am not really into football, so the upcoming Super Bowl doesn’t really appeal to me. Truth told, I don’t even know who is playing. But I do love all the tasty party food that pops up this time of year! I’ll never say “no” to a good spread of party food.

One of my favorite easy, appetizers is hummus. It is healthy so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating it and it tastes great. Plus there are endless variations depending on what beans you use or what flavors you impart to the recipe.

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A simple guide to cooking dried beans

I’m starting off the week with a big batch of home cooked pinto beans. Later I’ll add them to soups or chili, stuff them into toasted campfire burritos, or fold them into a soft egg scramble for a breakfast tortilla wrap. And that is just the beginning of the bean goodness.

If you usually tend to open a can of beans, I want to walk you really quickly through how I cook mine from dried. I think once you try it, you’ll be converted.

Not only is it more affordable (especially if you buy organic canned beans), but you can control the amount of added salt and, well, like most homemade versions of pantry staples, the taste is far superior to anything that comes in a can.

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Served Warm or Cold – Creamy Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe

Written by Kristen of Dine and Dish.

It’s the time of year for neighborhood parties, impromptu driveway get togethers or back on the deck wine chats with friends. Friends and neighbors are officially out of hibernation from the long winter days and gathering together, outside, is once again on everyone’s minds. It is this time of year when I make certain to have a repertoire of quick and easy appetizer recipes on hand, as you never know when a quick “hello” with someone might turn into a late night evening of friends and fellowship.

Two of my favorite ingredients to use in the spring and summer are corn and black beans. With these two ingredients on hand, the possibilities for quick and easy snacks are endless. You can make Black Bean Burritos, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas, Black Bean Dip, Sweet Corn Relish, and more! Most of the recipes can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, so you won’t miss out on any of the outdoor social time. [Read more…]