I’m interrupting a previously scheduled post to bring you this delicious Jalapeno Bean Salsa. I brought this dip to a picnic last week and there were some pretty passionate recipe requests for it.
The first time I had this dip was at a friend’s pool party a few or so years ago. She told me it was a consistent hit whenever she served it. This pool party was no different. Everyone loved it!
So, I asked her for the recipe. When I saw the recipe, I thought I’d like to try making a lighter version of it.
You know me. I’m always in recipe development mode. If I can make a recipe a little lighter or less sweet without compromising the flavor, I try to do that. At least most of the time.
The marinade is simple. Sugar, vinegar and olive oil. The original recipe called for a cup of sugar, a cup of olive oil and ½ cup of vinegar.
For this recipe, I thought I could lighten it up pretty easily. I took the sugar down to ¼ cup, and then did equal parts (1/2 cup each) olive oil and vinegar. That was a big reduction in sugar, but I was fairly confident that it would work.
After all, I reduced the sugar in my favorite Cinnamon Apple Cake; it was actually better! It improved the flavor and let the apples shine through.
I did the same in Orange Olive Oil Cake, and it was another good move on flavor.
I also used slightly different measurements for ingredients. You can use whatever ingredients you want. This is a highly flexible recipe.
Don’t like black eyed peas? Substitute your favorite bean. Pimentos not your thing? Omit them. (Though, I’ll be sad for you to lose the pretty red color.)
I used everything she used in her recipe, but if it was a canned ingredient, I simply used the whole can instead of measuring anything. For everything else, I either got close to her measurement or used my own.
How to make it mild or hot:
- Decide on your level of heat. If you want no risk of any heat, sub sweet bell peppers for the jalapenos. I removed the ribs and seeds from my jalapenos and it wasn’t hot at all. In fact, I thought it needed more heat. People were actually surprised that there were jalapenos in it.
- Jalapenos can vary in heat. Sometimes removing the ribs and seeds gives me just a small kick of heat, sometimes more. This time, I got none ☹ If you want more heat, leave the seeds and ribs. If you want less, remove them. Taste you peppers before adding them so that you know how hot they are.
- If you want even more heat, use serrano peppers instead of jalapenos. Or, you could sprinkle in some crushed red pepper.
- If you want to take some of the bite out of your chopped onions, soak them in cold water for 5-10 minutes, then drain before adding them into the salsa. I would have been fine not soaking them, but I think/know my kids appreciated it.
Using canned, frozen or fresh corn:
- The recipe calls for shoe peg corn. Basically, it’s a crisp sweet corn. Don’t fret if you can’t find it. (Green Giant carries it in their “Steam Crisp” line.) You can sub your favorite canned corn.
- Frozen corn is also fine. No need to cook, just make sure it’s thawed so it doesn’t stick together in your salsa.
- Fresh corn would be fab! I might like to grill it or steam it for just 2-3 minutes first before cutting it off the cob and adding it.
Tips for Serving Jalapeno Bean Salsa:
- The dip really needs time for the flavor to meld. It doesn’t taste like much right after mixing. Give it at least 8 hours to let the flavor develop. I think overnight is best, but we had it after 8 hours and it was good.
- You might want to add salt or seasoning. Let it marinate first before you make that decision. I thought I wanted to add salt, but after it marinated, I thought there was enough salt within some of the canned ingredients to carry the recipe. So, let it marinate, taste it, and then adjust if you decide it needs something. I didn’t add anything.
- Serve it with scoop shaped chips. They’ll hold more 😊
- For my photos, I put the salsa into the chips. This doesn’t work well for a long serving time since the salsa will soften the chip. Just serve the chips on the side. (I actually ate it without any chips. I just added it to my plate like a mini side salad or relish to go with the rest of my food.)
So, I made all of my adjustments, mixed it up and parked it in the refrigerator and debated whether or not I should bring some to the picnic.
The truth is, I wasn’t sure if anyone would even eat it. Not that there was anything wrong with it. But this picnic was very much a kid centric kind of event. I didn’t think it was very kid friendly, but I brought it anyway.
I was already bringing a couple of desserts, so I figured this would simply be a bonus dish. And, since I was in the midst of developing the recipe, I thought I’d take advantage and get some broader feedback.
So, because I didn’t think this was going to be a huge hit at this particular event, I only brought half of it. Clearly that was a mistake. I think it was the only thing on a long table of food choices that was completely gone at the end of the picnic.
And I still had people circling back to me to beg for the recipe. I shared the marinade portion and then just listed the other ingredients. But I got the feeling that more details were needed. At the time, I didn’t even have a name for it. (My friend calls it “Bean Dip.”)
So, I bumped another post so that I could get this Jalapeno Bean Salsa up sooner. I get it. When you taste something you love, getting the recipe insures you can have it whenever you want it.
Because you can’t always get what you want. Unless it’s this recipe. For that group of friends at the picnic…
This one’s for you 😊
Jalapeno Bean Salsa
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
For the salsa:
- 1 15.5 ounce can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 4 ounce jar chopped pimento, drained
- 1 11 ounce can shoepeg corn, drained
- 3/4 cups finely chopped jalapeno (I used about 4 medium)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
In a small sauce pan, combine sugar, vinegar and oil and heat just until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all the salsa ingredients from the peas through the onion.
Pour marinade over the bean mixture and toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally to insure the whole mixture gets soaking time in the marinade.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer salsa to serving bowl. Serve with scoop shaped tortilla chips.
*Don't worry too much about buying the exact size cans of beans, corn, etc. I used standard sized cans, so if your ounces are close, that's fine. Or, if you want more of one ingredient and less of another, just vary the mix of ingredients to your taste.
*This dip is hardly spicy. I removed the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos and no one could even tell there were jalapenos in it. For more spice, leave the seeds and the ribs in or use a hotter pepper. I'm going to go for a bit more heat next time.
*If you find that raw onion has a bit too much bite for you, soak the chopped onion in cold water for 5 or 10 minutes, then drain and add to your salsa. Since I wasn't sure how the group I was sharing this with felt about onions, I went ahead and soaked mine. I just let them soak while I was chopping up the rest of the ingredients.
*The dip won't taste like much until it has time to marinate. Mine was good after about 8 hours; overnight works best.
*Don't feel like stirring the mixture while it marinates? Put the whole thing in a gallon sized bag and just flip it from one side to the other instead of stirring it. Or, you could double the marinade for more coverage. I only stirred mine 2 or 3 times.
*See more tips in the blog post. Inspired by a good friend's recipe
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