EATING FOR LIFE

Easy Southwest Cucumber Salad fills half the plate

Updated: 2013-08-14T01:19:35Z

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: This recipe originally was published in 2009.

When it comes to nutrition, are you keeping count?

Take the 5-a-Day message. The catchy slogan was scrapped when new recommendations pushed the number of servings closer to 10 a day, depending on your age, gender and physical activity. Since 2010, the guidelines have morphed into the slightly less daunting fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal.

“It’s important to remember all forms of fruits and vegetables count. You want to include fresh, frozen, dried, canned and 100 percent fruit juice,” says Jill Le Brasseur, communications specialist for Produce for Better Health ( fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org).

The Star’s Southwest Cucumber Salad combines fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions and jalapeno with canned organic black beans and Mexicorn, a convenient canned mixture of corn, bell peppers, onion and seasonings.

For the easy, no-cook salad, we’ve also upped the total number of servings so you’ll have plenty to share with guests at your next summer pool party or picnic.

•  Shopping tips: For this recipe, you’ll want to leave the cucumber skin on since it’s the part that contains the most vitamins. But avoid cucumbers that have been waxed. Instead, buy organic, hothouse or conventionally grown cucumbers that have been shrink-wrapped to seal in moisture.

It pays to read labels: We tested this recipe with Best Choice Clearly Organic black beans, which were significantly lower in sodium than other brands.

•  Make-ahead tip: This salad can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Serve as a side salad, with chips or as an accompaniment with grilled meats.

Southwest Cucumber Salad

Makes 16 servings

2 cups diced cucumber (about 1 large), do not peel

1 cup diced tomatoes (about 2 medium)

1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts (about 4 to 5)

1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (11-ounce) can Mexicorn, drained

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 lime, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, jalapeno, black beans and Mexicorn in a large mixing bowl; toss to combine. Gently stir in diced avocado.

Whisk together cider vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Add olive oil in a stream and continue whisking. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine.

Per (1/2-cup) serving: 71 calories (26 percent from fat), 3 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), no cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 128 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed exclusively for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss. To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to jsilva@kcstar.com or follow her on Facebook.

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