Complementary Proteins combine in . . . Black Bean & Corn Salad

     My dad, and probably the majority of men of his day, didn’t consider it a meal if there wasn’t meat on the table! Even when my mom fixed a big pot of beans, she cooked them with meaty ham hocks. If we ate a meatless meal, it was usually when my father was not going to be home.
     When Diet for a Small Planet was published (early 1970s), vegetarian eating certainly was not mainstream – many associated the idea with love beads, peace signs and hippies! But, that publication and others, started to get people thinking and, in some cases, caused them to look at earlier forms of nutrition and dishes that have helped sustain people (and the environment) all over the world.
     This meatless dish combines foods to create what is known as complete protein. It is also high in heart-healthy fiber as well.

Black Bean & Corn Salad    Makes 2 or 3 main dish servings or use it as a size salad
Vary ingredients or amounts to suit your taste.
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
¼ to 1/3 of an orange or yellow pepper, diced
½ of a large tomato, diced
1 tablespoon+ white or yellow onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons+ fresh cilantro, chopped
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 small lime
¼ cup Comeback Sauce (if you don’t have it, mix some mayo or sour cream w/ salsa)
Salad greens to line the plate
¼ to 1/3 cup cubed Pepper Jack cheese

1.     Combine all ingredients, except salad green and cheese cubes, and lightly mix. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to infuse flavors if time allows.
Combine and lightly mix ingredients before chilling.
2.     Arrange salad greens on a serving plate, spoon on the salad and top with cubes of cheese.

Proteins are essential in the human body; they rebuild cells, tissues and organs and are made up of amino acids which are often refered to as the building blocks of the body. There are 20 different amino acids that join together to make all types of protein. Some of these amino acids can't be made by the body, so are referred to as essential amino acids. Essential because they must be obtained from the daily diet. Any food substance (such as meats, fish, poultry) that happens to contain all of the essential amino acids is termed a complete protein. Dairy products, grains, nuts & seeds, even some vegetables and fruits also contain protein, but in most instances they do not contain all of the essential amino acids, and are referred to as incomplete proteins. However, with a little planning it is possible to combine incomplete proteins (corn, beans and cheese for example) and end up with all of the essential amino acids. 
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