Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Bean Salad Tex-Mex Style

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

This cold bean salad tastes as good as it looks!

The ingredient list, may look kind of long at first glance, but chances are you just might have most of the ingredients for the dressing already in your cupboard! (Olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cumin, and black pepper)

Dressing Ingredients

That just leaves buying the canned beans and corn, bell peppers, and red onion.

Start by rinsing and draining all the beans and the canned corn in a colander.

Then chop the red and green bell peppers, and mince the red onion. (My Vegetable and Dip video will show you how to cut and clean the peppers. Once they are cut into strips, it is just a matter of then lining them up and chopping them up.


Mix together the beans, corn, chopped peppers, and minced onions in a large bowl.

Now for the dressing:

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

Notice how I used one measuring cup to measure both the oil and vinegar together. Saves on clean-up!

Be sure to use fresh lemon juice.

You will only need about 1 teaspoon of fresh crushed garlic.


Garlic – Sliced, Minced, and Crushed

The photo below shows all the dressing ingredients whisked together. Feel free to add a few drops of hot sauce if you like.

Now pour the dressing over the bean mixture.

Mix everything together.

Cilantro is another optional ingredient, often found in Tex-Mex dishes. If you like cilantro, add 1/4 cup – minced to the salad. (You can wash and chop it as you would parsley.) Cilantro has a very distinctive flavor and aroma which people either love or hate! 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro is just enough. A great substitution for cilantro is actually a combination of parsley and mint.

Parsley, Cilantro, and Mint

You may be thinking there is way too much dressing for this salad.

However, the bean salad needs to marinate in the dressing for a couple of hours (in the refrigerator) for all the flavors to meld together. Be sure to cover this salad with plastic wrap and let it chill completely before serving. If there are any leftovers, drain off the excess dressing and store the bean salad in the refrigerator. It will keep for about two days!


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Baked Potato with Salsa

print recipe card posted in Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Baked potatoes are a quick and satisfying “comfort food” that CAN be healthy as well. Mary’s comment in “Cooking Potatoes in the Microwave” got me thinking about one of my favorite ways to eat baked potatoes.

In restaurants, you are often offered butter, sour cream, and bacon to go with your baked potato, and, of course, you can make them this way at home as a wonderful occasional splurge. But in my household, non-fat plain yogurt is more the norm. You get a similar “mouth sensation” without quite so many calories.

I bake the potato in the microwave, and carefully remove the hot potato from the oven. With a sharp knife, make a shallow slice down the length of the potato and then I give it a bash.


This breaks up the fibers and makes it all easier to spoon out or eat with your fork. (Note: Be sure you put a clean cloth or paper towel between your fist and the hot potato or you will get burnt).

Now give it a squeeze and the potato should be nice and fluffy.


From there, I add a small sprinkle of salt and several twists from the pepper grinder.

Sometimes I then add about 1/3 cup of salsa. If you haven’t tried salsa on your baked potato, you don’t know what you are missing. There are so many really great flavors of salsa; you really can’t go wrong with any of them! It’s not necessary to heat the salsa. The potato is so hot the salsa will actually cool it down to the perfect temperature!

I then top it with about 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. If I have green onions in the house, chop them up and add them too. It looks great, and the flavor is fantastic!

When cutting green onions, remember the white part is much stronger than the green part!

What’s your favorite baked potato topping?

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print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Taboule (pronounced: tuh-boo-lee) is a Middle Eastern wheat salad. It is eaten cold and is a terrific substitute for a potato or rice dish. It needs to chill for at least 1 hour before serving. It’s actually best to make it the day before serving so that all the flavors blend together.

This box mix requires NO cooking.

In addition to the box mix of taboule, you will need:

  • 1 cup of chopped fresh tomato
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh mint (optional)

The box of taboule not only contains the wheat but also a separate spice packet.

Put the wheat and the contents of the spice packet in a large bowl.

Stir in 1 cup of boiling water.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Before chopping the tomato, remove the seeds by first slicing the tomato in half.

(The stem bit should be on the right or left of the knife when you are cutting it in half. If you cut it in half by slicing through the stem you will not be able to remove the seeds.)

Give each half a gentle squeeze or with your fingers poke out the seeds. (Throw away the seeds!)

Now chop the tomato. (Just set it aside for the moment.)

Stack about 7 or 8 mint leaves on top of each other.

Roll the stack into a log…

…and chop the mint into very fine ribbons.

Instead of or in addition to the mint, you could add extra parsley. (In the comments below, many people said they add up to one whole bunch of chopped parsley!)

Now squeeze the juice from ½ of a lemon. Be sure to strain away any seeds.

When the timer goes off, it’s time to remove the bowl of taboule from the refrigerator and add the chopped tomato, mint, lemon juice, AND 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix everything together.

Cover up the bowl again and put it back in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to serve the taboule give it a stir and then spoon it onto a bed of lettuce garnished (decorated) with slices of lemon and mint leaves.


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