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Ensalada de la Noche Buena and Black Bean Soup

Ensalada de la Noche Buena
1 navel orange
1 small jicama (or half a large one), peeled and cut into pieces roughly 1 inch by 1/2 inch
1 bunch radishes, sliced thinly
1 head romaine lettuce
a couple of beets, roasted, peeled, and chopped (if you’re me, buy a container of pre-roasted beets)
1 cup pomegranate arils (pip/seeds) from a package (or just the arils of 1 pomegranate; it’s easiest to seed them underwater to avoid staining your kitchen)
1/2 cup pepitas (recipe follows)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
fresh black pepper and salt


  1. Supreme the oranges over a bowl, catching the juices. Roughly chop the orange supremes into 1-inch chunks
  2. Toss the jicama, radish slices, and beets into the bowl and stir to coat with orange juice. Allow to sit.
  3. Make the dressing by combining last six ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. In a serving dish, make a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, and using a slotted spoon place the marinated veggies on top. Drizzle with the dressing, then sprinkle with pepitas, pomegranate arils, and chopped cilantro.

Pepitas—A delicious snack and a fantastic addition to salads
2 cups raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (they’re flat and green — if they’re white, they’re not hulled)
juice of 1/2 a lime
cayenne pepper
garlic powder
fresh black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 325. In a bowl, drizzle lime juice over pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Lightly sprinkle with cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir again, sprinkle again. Taste as you go to make sure you’re not making them too spicy for your own tastes.
  2. Spread evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet and allow to bake for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. The seeds are done when several of them have begun to “pop”—puff up so they’re rounded, not flat—and they’re a nice golden tan. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Black bean soup
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tub roasted garlic salsa (if this is unavailable, use regular fresh salsa and roast a head of garlic ahead of time by chopping off the pointy end of the head, setting it on a sheet of foil, drizzling it with oil, wrapping it up, and sticking it in a 300 degree oven until cloves are soft, about 30 or 40 minutes)
1 can vegetable broth
2 cans black beans
green Tabasco
1/4 chopped cilantro
juice from 1/2 a lime (or one lime, if you’re me and you like citrus)
sour cream (optional)


  1. In a large pot, pour in a spash of vegetable broth and sautee onions and garlic until soft. Add in salsa and sautee for three or four more minutes.
  2. Add broth, beans and lime juice. Allow to simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, then add green Tabasco, salt and pepper, and cilantro to taste. Serve topped with sour cream.

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