Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Salsa


To me, this is the most ubiquitous of summer dishes, which appears at every Southern potluck or picnic. It goes by various names: Pinto Bean Salsa Salad and Black Bean and Corn Salad, just to name a few. And it has as many permutations of ingredients as it does names.

Like a lot of Southern staples I grew up on, this dish includes "a can of this and a can of that." But this time of year, you can substitute most of those cans for fresh ingredients, particularly fresh corn. I would love to make this dish one day using only fresh-from-the-garden ingredients, including home-grown beans. However, the one substitution I will never make is for that can of Ro-Tel. My Southern food sensibilities run deep, and I just can't concoct anything in my kitchen that does the job so well as that linchpin of regional cuisine.

The wonderful thing about this salsa is makes great use of any tomatoes, peppers, and onions that you have allowed to accumulate. It stores in the fridge for about four days, and it keeps well in lunch boxes and, of course, in hot-weather potlucks and picnics. In fact, I never eat it on the first day. I always let it marinate for at least 24 hours, to allow the flavors to emerge. 


Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Salsa


For the salsa:

  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 small peppers, diced
  • 1 spicy pepper (optional)
  • 1 medium purple onion, finely diced
  • 1 can of sweet corn (or substitute fresh corn)
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can of Ro-Tel (optional)

For the vinaigrette (suggested ratios):

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice of one small lime
  • 2 Tablespoons, fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste


Chop the tomatoes, onions and peppers and put them in a large bowl. Rinse the beans and add them, along with the can of Ro-Tel to the bowl. Stir.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in the lime juice, salt and sugar. Add the Tabasco sauce to taste. Pour over the salsa and mix it up real good.

Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Let it marinate in the fridge for about a day. Serve with corn chips.