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This dish is full of color, texture and flavor, and a big bowl of it can be a satisfying meal on its own. It also works well as a bold side dish for anything from seafood to grilled meats. Also, try replacing the traditional rice and beans in your Mexican inspired meal with this vegetable packed salad.
3 medium yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large carrots, peeled and large diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed and diced
2 small zucchini, large diced
2 small yellow squash, large diced
2 ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
1- 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup, halved, cherry or grape tomatoes
½ cup, finely diced, jicama*
¼ cup, finely chopped, cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
*Jicama is a large root that looks like a large turnip. Once peeled, jicama has a bright and fresh flavor with a nice crunchy texture.
1. Hold the corn upright in a medium sized bowl. Using a knife, cut down the side of the corn to remove the kernels. Reserve for later.
2. Add the yams and ½ cup water to an extra large, deep sauté pan. Cover and let steam over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook until the water is gone and the yams are starting to soften. *This method of cooking yams is a great substitute to boiling or baking.
3. To finish the yams, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until they have a golden crust.
4. Remove the yams into a large bowl and return the pan to the heat with the other tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the carrots, salt and pepper for about 5 minutes. Then add the red pepper and sauté another 2 minutes. Finally, add the zucchini, yellow squash, and corn and sauté a final 5 minutes until all the vegetables are golden. *When using fresh corn, this is a quick way to cook it, keeping it crisp and sweet.
5. Remove all the vegetables into the bowl with the yams. Add the black beans, tomatoes, jicama and cilantro and toss with a large spoon, until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.