Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing
Adapted from Meghan’s Healthy Helpings

I’ve always been super fascinated by the virtually invisible worlds that exist around various fringe hobbies.  I would give anything to be a fly on the wall at a LARPing event (live action role play – as best seen in the hilarious movie Role Models) or perhaps the super intense world of competitive gaming.  I stayed at a hotel once where a computer game competition was taking place and I couldn’t help chatting up every PC tower-toting dude I ran into in the elevator.  Bizarre stuff.  So it’s no surprise that after watching the movie Best in Show back in 2000, I was pretty intrigued by the world of dog shows.  Intrigued, but in no way eager to join up.  So how, then, did I find myself surrounded by 50 or so pure bread dog breeders, handlers, and other general fanciers this past Sunday?

It all started with a 1-year-old dog show drop-out named Driftwood Nightsnacks.

Porty Picnic 2

Yup, that’s her.  The one by herself, ignoring the plethora of tennis balls and gaggle of dogs contending for them. 

Four fateful years ago John and I were in the market for our first dog.  We had a pretty lengthy criteria list, including a non-puppy (too much peeing), a non-shedder (too much cleaning) and non-girly dog (too emasculating).  After countless hours on dog breed websites and numerous attempts to convince John that poodles are, in fact, very manly, we landed on a relatively rare breed – the Portuguese Water Dog.  Little did we know that obtaining a dog from a less popular breed involves navigating the waters of the secret world of dog breeders and handlers.  Being in the market for an older puppy, our contact person immediately thought to match us with an ex-show dog.  Also known as a loser, not that we would say that to her face 🙂  Our little Lucy Goosey (we immediately ditched her official show dog name – Driftwood Nightsnacks) is pretty much the opposite of breed standard for a PWD – more or less an anti-social, lazy and aloof animal.  Also known as a large cat.  But we love her anyway.  So much so that every June we drive 50 miles to take her to the annual Portuguese Water Dog Picnic.  This is not your average picnic.  The hosts own a massive property complete with a man-made pond and beach, and the whole thing is fully fenced, making it doggy heaven.  Somewhere around 50 portys come every year and let loose, tearing through the property, rolling in the sand, and of course, hanging out in the water.  Lucy, being a strange one, will never actually swim, but she’s happy to wade aimlessly in the shallow area.

Porty Picnic 1

And while the dogs live out their wild-animal fantasies, their owners do what we do best – eat!  Guests are tasked with bringing sides and desserts, and the hosts provide meat hot off the grill.  We decided to bring our newest side-dish obsession: cilantro dressing on, well, pretty much anything.  I originally got the recipe from my friend Meghan’s blog, which recommended using 4 kinds of beans.  But in an attempt to use up stuff in my pantry, I’ve been making it with a variety of components.  One part always stays the same, though, and that’s the awesome dressing.  Seriously, this salad is a major winner.  Perfect for any 4th of July BBQ, or perhaps the next meeting of your secret Dungeons and Dragons cohort…if that’s your sort of thing!

Grain Version



  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed & seeded
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar (or a mix of the two)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt


*You can use any combination of FOUR of the following.  Doubling up on one is also an option, as long as there’s 4 in total.

  • 15-oz can beans
  • 15-oz can corn
  • 3/4 cup any grain or small pasta, dry

*Combos we’ve done are {1 can each of chick peas, black beans, kidney beans and corn} and {1 can each of black beans and corn plus 1.5 cups farro}.  Next up, I think whole wheat orzo with chick peas would be awesome in this.


  1. If you are using a grain or pasta, boil or cook according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Pulse garlic and jalapeno in a small food processor.  Add cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, cumin and salt.  Process until well combined.
  3. Rinse and drain any canned items you are using.  Combine with cooked grains, if using.  Toss with dressing.
  4. Serve right away, or better yet, let the flavors meld over night.  Great at room temp, or right out of the fridge.
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12 Responses to Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing

  1. Nora says:

    I have made a similar bean salad with just plain bottle Italian Dressing and this sounds like an amazing way to spice it up (and use the bunch of cilantro I bought when I needed 1 tblsp). I usually do 2-3 kinds of beans, corn, chopped green pepper and red onion – adds a little extra crunch!

    • Honeymoon Kitchen says:

      Haha, I totally know what you mean with the cilantro. We’re trying to grow it this year so we don’t have to keep buying whole bunches when we only need a few tablespoons!

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  2. Frank Dodero says:

    Glad you did not keep Lucy,s original name. ( that was horrible)

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