Black Bean Salsa


Are you a salsa person?  My husband definitely is, a bit of a salsa snob, if I can be so bold. Not saying that’s a bad thing, we definitely don’t buy the commercial shelf stable stuff, opting for fresh salsa like from the farmer’s markets or the deli.  If I am feeling really energetic I’ll try to make my own, especially with garden tomatoes!

Black Bean Salsa

Ever tried black bean salsa before?  Don’t be scared away, it’s just like normal salsa…but it has black beans in it!  It’s a deliciously sneaky way to add more fiber, protein and pulses to your diet!  Did you know that the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulses?  The goal is to increase awareness of the nutritional benefits and how pulses are an important part of a sustainable food system.  Learn more here.

What is a “pulse” anyway?  Are they good for you?  

Pulses are a family of plants including:

– Dried peas (think split pea soup)

– Dry beans (think pork and beans you take camping)

– Lentils (small disc shapes you might see in soups or stews)

– Chickpeas (think hummus)

Things you may know:

  • Pulses are high in fibre!  This helps with regularity, keeping you feeling full longer and many Canadians are not getting the recommended amounts of fibre in each day.
    • The recommend daily intake of fibre is 38 g/day of total fibre for men and 25 g/day of total fibre for women.
  •   Pulses are a good source of protein!  Making them a great plant based alternative to meat or animal products.

Things you may NOT know:

  • Pulses have a low glycemic index, meaning that they are digested and absorbed slowly in the body and help to keep blood sugar levels more stable.
  • Pulses can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the body, because they contain soluble fibre.
  • Pulses use half the non-renewable energy inputs of other crops and have a low carbon footprint!   For more information click here.

Information based off of Pulse Canada.  For more information check out their website! 

Tomatoes and Lycopene:

Let’s also talk tomatoes.  Garden tomatoes in season, taste fantastic (like they should taste), but store bought ones out of season….generally taste and look bland.  The key to any recipe is fresh ingredients!  In the winter and spring I prefer to use canned tomato products because they are harvested and preserved at the peak of ripeness.  Did you know that the heating process involved in canning tomatoes increases the amount of “lycopene” in tomatoes by about 7 times?

Lycopene is an antioxidant that is strongly linked to preventing cancer!  Lycopene is particularly well known for the protective effects it has against prostate cancer.  Tomatoes are by far the winner when it comes to lycopene content of food or consider canned tomato products a nutritious option.

Information based off of the Canadian Nutrient Files 

 Salsa recipe ideas:

Serve this salsa with lettuce and veggies, avocado, chopped cooked chicken, corn for a simple Mexican salad.

Top your favourite burrito or taco filling with this salsa for a high fiber punch.

Add salsa to scrambled or poached eggs and serve on toast for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Spoon salsa over white fish or chicken before baking in the oven.

 black bean salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Recipe sourced from: Dietitians of Canada Cookbook, Simply Great Food, by Patricia Chuey, Eileen Campbell and Mary Sue Waisman

Makes enough to feed a crowd


3 cups tomatoes, diced (if in season) or 750 mL can of diced tomatoes (you can drain the juice if you like your salsa more chunky than wet)

1 small red onion, finely minced

1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced (optional)

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional if you aren’t a cilantro fan)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Juice of 2 limes


  1. Chop tomatoes, if using, or empty canned tomatoes into a large bowl.
  2. Mince onion, jalapeno and cilantro and add to the tomatoes.
  3. Rinse black beans and add to the salsa.
  4. Add olive oil, salt and freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir well to combine.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Enjoy!





Walnut Pesto


I need to do a pesto recipe before the end of summer….sob.  The leaves have started to turn already in Northern BC and it’s making me half sad and half excited for autumn vegetables and fruits!

Throughout the summer I’ve been getting local food boxes that are filled with all sorts of local goodies.  I do a fist pump when I get a big bag of basil!  I LOVE local food and I LOVE pesto.  It’s chocked full of flavour and adds pizzazz to tons of different foods.  Or you could just eat it with a spoon.  We may have done that…..ahem…

Pesto is usually made with pine nuts…but pine nuts are expensive!  So a nice alternative that you probably have in your pantry already are walnuts!

Pesto can be whipped up in your food processor in about 3 minutes.  Grab some basil and zip up some today!

My neighbor has a big pot of it on her deck – I’m going to swap her some tomorrow for rosemary from my planter and slather it to some lentil patties.  Yay for neighbours!


1 cup washed packed basil (really pack it in)

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup good quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Dash teaspoon salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper


1. Chop up garlic, add to food processor.  Wash basil, remove stems and add into food processor.

2. Add remaining ingredients.  Process until smooth.