Presenting vegetables in new light is always a challenge, but can be a blessing too when you consider using up those “extras” you have around the house. This salad took my leftovers in the form of small amounts of veggies like carrots, celery and onion, and combined it with canned goods I never seemed to use. At the end of a trial session, I ended up with a new side that is perfect for summer cookouts (as it’s made without mayo), or for the winter months when you’re needing a bright pick me up that isn’t root vegetables.
The basis of this recipe is veggies with a sprinkling of quinona in a light tangy dressing. Ideally it can be made as it, but it also can have substitutions based on what’s in season,what you enjoy, or what you have in your cupboard. My combination showcases Sweet Corn, Red Beans, Quinona, Celery, Bell Peppers, Carrots and Onion. The dressing uses Apple Cider Vinegar, Sugar and some spices. That’s the entire recipe and with minimal prep work to be done, it’s a side dish to add into your regular meal rotations.
If you’re the type who plans out your weeknight meals, then making some extra quinona for use in this recipe will absolutely lighten your workload on the night you decide to make this. Otherwise, making such a small amount of Quinona is very doable while you cut all the veggies for this recipe.
The “hardest” part comes in the form of dissolving sugar into apple cider vinegar to make up the dressing. Even if you have trouble boiling water, you can use the microwave to make this step even easier and effortless.
But in terms of preparing the veggies, it’s just a matter of cutting them into small pieces. Some higher end supermarkets like Wegmans will even do it for you! What’s fun about this recipe is that you can make a truly unique salad by the way you cut the vegetables. Consider carrot coins, carrot ribbons or small matchsticks or mini peppers cut into half moons. If you cut the vegetables in different ways not only are you making the salad more eye appealing, you’re creating different textures when it’s eaten.
The feedback I get asked most often is, “what if I don’t like peppers and onions?” or something else that’s included in the recipe. Never fear! Here are my substitutions for what the recipe calls for, but also some suggestions to make this recipe your own. And don’t forget, if you need help putting combos together, just ask-but don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it!
- Red Onion– Shallots, Sweet Yellow Onion, Leeks
- Bell Peppers– Roasted Red Pepper, Fire Roasted Peppers
- Corn– Grilled Corn, Peas, Green Beans (french cut)
- Carrots– Broccoli stems, Parsnips
- Red Beans– Avocado chunks, Sweet Potatoes, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash
- Quinona– Bulgar, Barley, Orzo
- Apple Cider Vinegar– White Vinegar, Champagne Vinegar, Lemon Juice
- Sugar– Honey, Agave Syrup
- Additions/Substitutions– Almonds, Radishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Roasted Garlic
I found what I loved most about it is that I could use it in a variety of settings. It was humble enough to accompany weeknight dinners, but was also good if it had to sit out for a few hours in summer’s heat. Even for a more refined crowd it could stand up against an elegant main course. We actually even tried a version of it camping believe it or not, so pretty much any setting goes. Find your magic combination of vegetables, plan your time accordingly for prep work and get cooking!
To Full Plates and Eating Your Tarte Out
Confetti Corn Salad
Makes enough for 10-12 servings
2 cans of Red Beans, rinsed
2 cans of Sweet Corn, rinsed
1 small Red Onion, chopped
3 Carrots, chopped or sliced
2 Celery stalks, chopped or sliced
2 small Bell Peppers, chopped
1 cup Quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup of Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon of Red Pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine all the vegetables and Quinona, set aside.
In a small microwave safe bowl, combine with Apple Cider Vinegar and Sugar, heat for 45 seconds. Stir till Sugar is completely dissolved. Add in Garlic Powder and Red Pepper flakes. Allow to cool.
Stir together the dressing and the vegetables. Add enough Salt and Pepper as desired. Serve immediately or chill and let the flavors meld. Enjoy!