It's been a great week in PGEW land. Yes, I'm still as broke as ever and my rent is STILL backed up (takes SO long to catch up! Remind me not to sign up for walking pneumonia again), but now it's only backed up by a couple weeks as opposed to a whole month. Gas bill's paid so I can continue to enjoy my stove, oven, and the blessings of hot water; got a new project in the works (to which you shall all be privy by next month); and I've had a couple great meetings that will hopefully result in some more interesting prospects for yours truly. Even the weather has been kind enough to cooperate these past few days (though Mother Nature STILL can't seem to make up her mind and more rain's a-comin' next week; I won't think about that right now, though); today is simply gorgeous and this weekend promises to be the most springlike we've seen all season, all of which helps round out a very good week.
The beautiful weather combined with my more-insane-than-usual obsession with Jamie Oliver (and his Food Revolution, though I've been obsessed with Jamie since he released his very first cookbook), as well as a huge craving for the shelled edamame that's been taunting me from my freezer door, all seemed to point me into the direction of a fresh, tasty salad of some sort. I was thinking of having another round of my Sweet Potato, Mango, and Edamame Salad, but I had that not too long ago and wanted to save my last 2 sweet potatoes for something else I have in mind. I almost started eating the edamame straight out of the bag when I remembered I had one last can of corn lurking in the back of my cupboard, as well as a few other key ingredients that would make the perfect succotash. But I wanted something cold, crisp and fresh, so instead of cooking said succotash, I made a salad out of it, along with a spicy, slightly sweet dressing.
Now, you're more than welcome to make this the standard way, with lima beans instead of edamame. However, it's become more & more popular to substitute edamame in succotash variations, so if you're not a fan of the taste & texture of lima beans this is a wonderful alternative. As I didn't have any fresh red bell peppers on hand, I used a recent sample of fire roasted red peppers from the fine folks at Mezzetta (INCREDIBLE!!! I could have eaten the entire jar on its own), but if you like an extra crunch and you have them on hand, definitely use the fresh ones. For a different twist and because I do *heart* a little heat in my food, I decided to add some chopped Serrano peppers and made a sweet & spicy vinaigrette to tie this all together. The flavors complement each other perfectly and get better the longer you let the salad marinate. Though this has plenty of protein on its own and can be eaten as an entrée salad on a nice bed of greens, this little salad works beautifully as a side and goes well with chicken or your favorite protein. This is a great dish to make for potlucks and the upcoming BBQ season, as it's colorful, tasty, and easy to prepare. Make sure you bookmark this one for all the nice weather activities that should be starting up soon!
Of course, the best part is that it's a truly affordable dish: the whole recipe comes out to just about $5, and you definitely have enough for 4 healthy servings. Healthy, delicious, and under $2/serving? Just goes to show that you don't have to compromise taste or nutrition just because you're on a tight budget. :)
Spicy Edamame Succotash Salad (makes 4 servings; total cost per serving: $1.25)
1 12 oz. package frozen shelled edamame
1/2 can sweet yellow corn (if you have fresh corn, by all means, use this instead!)
1/3 c red bell peppers, diced (fresh or roasted, both work okay)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 large tomato, diced
3 T canola oil
1/4 c rice vinegar
2 T agave nectar or honey
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t ground chipotle pepper (optional)
1/4 t sea salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until completely combined. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the edamame, corn, both peppers, onion, tomato and cilantro. Add the dressing and toss together to blend. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve on a nice bed of greens or as a side with some grilled chicken or fish, and enjoy!