Great Recipe for Picnic Season

Summer has arrived, and with it comes my favorite neighborhood activity: backyard barbecues. Full of laughter and informality, what is not to love?  

But actually, there’s one part of it that I really don’t love. I might even hate figuring out what to bring for my potluck contribution.  

This summer, I have finally removed the stress from every event from Cinco de Mayo to The Last Day of Summer (the bookend picnics that define the season amongst my neighborhood group) because I remembered watching a friend in Texas make a simple dish that tasted amazing.

Maribel Ortiz is a fantastic cook who seats visitors at her table and talks about all that is good in the world while stuffing them full of amazing Mexican dishes. Most of what she would put before me when we were young mothers with husbands teaching at Texas Tech University is far beyond my kitchen skills.

But when she made corn salad, I marveled at the simplicity and great flavors. Better still, she insisted that it sit overnight and be served cold for maximum taste so that the ingredients had time to mingle (sort of like a picnic gets better after everyone has had time to talk for a while). So when I make this dish, I don’t have to frantically prep the food while trying to leave for the festivities.

Corn salad has the added benefit of being vegan friendly. 

Like vegetable soup, the salad is one that changes a little each time it is made according to how much of various ingredients the cook adds or subtracts, but the differing results are equally good. After some coaching from Maribel, I was able to develop my own version of corn salad.

Perhaps you too need a potluck solution to destress you summer or an easy meal for a hot afternoon. There are numerous recipes available on the internet, but in the spirit of being neighborly, here’s my humble attempt:


Toss the following, then refrigerate overnight (or as time allows)

 Juice from 3 limes

Touch of oil

2 cans of corn (I like to pick two different kinds and fresh would be better if available)

1 clove of minced garlic

2 cans of black beans

(Traditionally, this salad includes a chopped red pepper, but I removed it for a food allergy. If you like peppers, I recommend adding it back in.)

1/2 cup of red onion

1/2 cup of cilantro


I served it with tortilla chips and feta cheese for crumbling over the top when served, but neither are strictly necessary. Happy picnicking!

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