Summer salad for a family reunion

Summer is officially here and has been for a couple of weeks. For our family, it's the annual family reunion that signals the start of summer. It's always held on the Saturday before the long weekend and each family takes a turn hosting it. This year it was held at a cousin's house in Charing Cross near Chatham, ON. It was a steaming hot day (thank goodness for the huge shade tree in the backyard) but still a big turn out, a lot of fun, and great food. The way we work it is the host family barbecues (usually burgers and hot dogs) and the rest of us bring a snack, appetizer, side or dessert. I was asked to bring a salad so I decided to bring a rice and bean salad that is easy to make, features mint and chives from our garden and travels well.
All the ingredients you need for this simple but tasty salad
I find that salads made with grains and beans are good for taking to BBQs, pool parties or picnics because they can be fully made ahead of time and maintain texture and flavour. The salad I made is called Black Bean, Corn and Rice Salad. The original recipe is from Simply Heart Smart Cooking by Bonnie Stern. I adapted it slightly because I didn't have all the fresh herbs in the original recipe, plus, I used canned black beans instead of making them from dried beans.

Here's my version of the recipe.

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati rice (you could use quinoa or couscous instead)
2 sweet red peppers, roasted, peeled and diced (I used roasted red peppers that I had in the freezer)
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions
1/4 - 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the rinsed and drained beans and corn in a large bowl.
Cook the rice and let it cool; add to the beans and corn. Add the diced peppers, chopped chives and mint.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the bean and rice mixture and toss gently.

Some notes
The original recipe calls for less mint and chives and 1/3 cup each of chopped fresh basil and cilantro (or parsley). I have made the salad using fresh basil, cilantro and mint and it's fabulous. I used more fresh mint and chives because I didn't have fresh basil or cilantro. Using fresh herbs creates a wonderful burst of flavour in your mouth so don't substitute dried herbs for the fresh in this salad, just use more of the fresh herbs you have. The original recipe also calls for 1 bunch of arugula or watercress, trimmed and chopped. I prefer the watercress. It also calls for 1 jalepeno, diced but I've never added the hot pepper.
                                                        Michele, RD