Thursday, January 29, 2009

Black Bean Salsa For Your Super Bowl Party

What should you bring to the Super Bowl party? Let’s see—greasy chicken wings or fried mozzarella sticks? Hard choice I know, but Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t have to be the junk food holiday of the year. Four chicken wings deliver 376 calories and 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of which are saturated. A regular order of mozzarella sticks packs on 425 calories with 22 grams of fat, 10 grams of it saturated. Save those calories for a cold beer and bring a delicious, spicy salsa.

I love to make salsa when I’m in a pinch. It’s so quick and easy and there are infinite possibilities that can fit right into a healthy diet. As a dip, a salsa can be served with baked chips or vegetable crudités. As a main meal, a bean salsa (like our featured black bean salsa), can be wrapped in a tortilla for a low fat, high fiber, vegan taco. As a chicken or shrimp fajita topping, we can substitute the beans with fruit, like mango or peaches.

One of the important ingredients in salsa is cilantro. Did you know that this popular herb has been shown to bind to heavy metals in our blood and carry them out of the body? This “chelating” quality makes cilantro very important in reducing heavy metal toxicity. Many people have heavy metals like lead and mercury in their blood which can lead to significant health problems. Two years ago, I had all the amalgam fillings in my teeth removed because I wanted to reduce my exposure to mercury. So I feel really good about eating cilantro knowing that it’s helping sweep away those heavy metals that could compromise my health.


Black Bean Salsa
[makes 3 ½ cups of salsa]

1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

¾ cup of cooked black beans, rinsed well (about ½ of a 15 oz. can)

1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 small avocado, chopped

1 fresh jalapeno (more or less to taste)

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 ½ T freshly squeezed lime juice

½ t salt (more or less to taste)

Dash of cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

Mix the lime juice with the garlic, jalapeno, salt and cayenne. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix gently. Add additional salt and cayenne if needed.

Per 1/2 cup – 91 calories, 3 g of fat, NO saturated fat, 3 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber.

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