Black Bean Walnut Caesar Salad

Ahh yes, my punky lovelies! Here is a really quick, stupendously tasty salad with an extra kick of flavor. Witness: Black Bean Walnut Ceasar Salad!

Special surprise for your taste buds waiting inside...

Special surprise for your taste buds waiting inside...

Ahh, yes. Necessity is truly the mother of invention, and I stumbled upon this salad in one of my “Hmmm-what-else-do-we-have-in-the-kitchen?” moods. Well we had romaine, carrots, pepito seeds, cheese, and some Mexican Caesar dressing left over from the grocery store. We also had some black beans and I thought “Oh cool – protein,” because us vegetarians are always on the lookout for proteins, (even us fake, free-range-meat-eating vegetarians).

But we also had some WALNUTS left from the cornbread and the tricolore salad the other day, so I chopped ’em up and threw them in too, thinking, “Walnuts? Wow, I’m totally ruining this whole salad, but what the hell.” But THEN I ate a forkful and it was like BANG! POW! MUGGA MUGGA WOW WOW! This incredible nutty and sweet aftertaste hit me after the already awesome savory rich Caesar taste. Suffice it to say, I was in love…

TOOLS:
Big knife
Mixing bowl
Strainer
Cheese shredder
Fork, spoon

INGREDIENTS:
Chopped romaine
1 medium-sized carrot, chopped
1/3 can black beans, rinsed and strained
Handful pepito seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, any seeds but sesame work, I think)
Handful walnuts, chopped
Handful shredded cheese
1/4 avocado, sliced
Mexican Caesar dressing

RECIPE:
First, a word about this dressing. I have never made it myself, nor do I ever intend to. It just looks like waaaay too much work and they sell it in the salad bar of my grocery store across the street. (Literally, across the street. When does THAT ever happen in Los Angeles? Sigh.) But in case you WANT to make it, check out the link above for a recipe I found on hubpages.com. If you want to BUY it, it looks like this:

And don't my punky black-and-silver fingernails make it look even more appetizing?  Oy vey, Punky Chef.

And don't my punky black-and-silver fingernails make it look even more appetizing? Oy vey, Punky Chef.

Now, this is so easy. All you do it put stuff in a bowl and toss. But if you insist, I’ll walk you through it – and I’ve made all the items I got at the Farmer’s Market into links so you can see how great it is to shop there. (And you should click on the link because it takes you to www.localharvest.org which is a site that locates farmer’s markets in any area of the country!)

Chop the romaine and throw two handfuls into the mixing bowl. Toss in a handful of pepito seeds and the black beans, rinsed and strained. Then shred about a handful of cheese (I used garlic jack), a carrot, peeled and chopped, (see TIPS page to learn how I chop my carrots), and a handful of chopped walnuts. (You can literally chop them with your big knife just like a vegetable. Walnuts are pretty soft so they cooperate.)

Now just glob on a little dressing and toss it together slowly with your fork and spoon, making sure all is well-coated. Spoon out the heavenly mixture onto your plate and drop on some avocado slices or chunks or just remove the whole damn half and PLOP it on there! (Actually, if you can scoop the whole half of the avo out and then slice it and place on top, it looks very “restauranty,” right?) (I was not feeling particularly restauranty for this photo, however.)

Now, SERVE and ENJOY!!

Just wait for the yummy nutty aftertaste... POW!  BANG!  MUGGA MUGGA WOW WOW!  (I think I just had an orgasm.)  (Sorry, was that too much information?)

Just wait for the yummy nutty aftertaste... POW! BANG! MUGGA MUGGA WOW WOW! (I think I just had an orgasm.) (Sorry, was that too much information?)

VARIATIONS:
Of course if you hate black beans or love grilled chicken instead, you could certainly add that! If you can’t find pepito seeds or just don’t like them, you can leave them out. If you’re not a garlic jack fan, try cheddar or another salty, smoky cheese. You can even do this with regular ICEBERG lettuce if you want, but I have to say you’re really pushing it there, bud.

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