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    Summer cherries lend this black bean salad a pleasing pop of sweetness

    THE WASHINGTON POST – This salad has all the right qualifications for a coveted invitation to your next cookout. It echoes the key flavours of barbecue-sauce-slathered proteins with its fruitiness and savoury, chilli-lime dressing, while also offering the cool counterpoint of juicy cherries, crisp bites of jicama (or radish) and springy cilantro.

    With seasonings bold enough to stand up to smoky, spiced meats but not so bold as to overpower a simply grilled fish fillet, it makes an ideal side dish. But with hearty, protein-packed black beans, it is also an ideal vegetarian main.

    It’s a salad that doesn’t ask much of the host; it’s easy to pull together and holds up well in the refrigerator.

    And it has an elegant, dramatic flair with the black beans and red sweet cherries making an unexpected appearance together.

    When you think about it, it makes sense that the two pair up so well, given that black beans are so often served with mango, which has a similar sweet juiciness.

    In fact, any stone fruit would work well here, such as diced peaches, nectarines or plums.
    Use whatever looks best at the market; this is the fruits’ peak season, so you should have plenty to choose from.

    Also worth mentioning is the incredible wealth of nutrients this dish brings to the table: protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and a spectrum of health-protective plant compounds.

    With all of those compelling assets, this salad should surely be on your A list, this summer and beyond.

    BLACK BEAN SALAD WITH CHERRIES

    20 minutes

    Six servings, makes five cups

    This healthful salad has an elegant, dramatic flair with black beans and sweet cherries making an unexpected, and winning, appearance together.

    It is ideal for a summer cookout with a fresh fruitiness and savoury chilli-lime dressing that complements anything from sauce-slathered grilled meats or poultry to simply grilled fish.

    It also makes for a protein-packed vegetarian main.

    MAKE AHEAD:

    The salad can be assembled, dressed and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days. Before serving, bring to room temperature, add cilantro and toss to combine.

    Storage:
    Refrigerate for up to two days.

    INGREDIENTS
    – Two cans black beans, drained and rinsed
    – One cup sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted and quartered
    – One cup diced jicama (quarter-inch dice)
    – One large scallion, thinly sliced
    – Two tablespoons olive oil
    – Three-quarter teaspoon finely grated lime zest
    – Two tablespoons fresh lime juice (from one juicy lime)
    – Three-quarter teaspoon chilli powder
    – Half teaspoon fine salt
    – Quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    – Quarter cup chopped fresh cilantro

    DIRECTIONS
    In a large bowl toss together the beans, cherries, jicama and scallion. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime zest and juice, chilli powder, salt and pepper until combined.

    Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss to combine.

    If serving right away, add the cilantro and toss to combine. Otherwise, cover and refrigerate until needed.

    Before serving, let the salad come to room temperature, then add the cilantro and toss to combine.

    Nutrition information per serving (heaping three-quarter cups) | Calories: 178; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 406mg; Carbohydrates: 27g; Dietary Fibre: 10g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 8g.

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