Betty Chittum of West Ashley recently asked for a black bean and corn salad recipe, which opens a window to look more closely at this remarkable legume.

Also called turtle bean, the frijol negro shows up in numerous Latin American dishes such as Brazil’s national dish, feijoada, a stew with beef and pork.

Black beans are integral to the Moros y Cristianos dish in Cuba, a mix of black beans and white rice that, like our Hoppin’ John, promises good fortune when eaten on New Year’s Day.

The name translates to Moors and Christians and refers to the Moors’ conquest of Spain in the eighth century. The Islamic Moors were darker-skin inhabitants of northwest Africa, symbolized by the black beans. The white rice symbolizes the lighter-skinned Christians.

Here in the United States, the meaty black bean has become a staple in modern-day vegetarian cuisine, due in part to its ability to satiate, or make you feel full. But black beans also offer outstanding health benefits.

One is offering support for digestive tract health due to its content of “indigestible fraction,” which is higher than in either lentils or chickpeas and means good stuff for the colon.

Black beans are another good source of phytonutrients, concentrated in the rich, dark color of the bean’s surface.

But on to the recipes: Jo Kaminsky of Summerville shared this one. “This recipe is easy and should be prepared ahead of time,” she says.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

For dressing:

4 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

For salad:

2 cans (15 ounces each) Southwestern corn niblets, drained

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

Grape tomatoes as desired, halved

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

1 small purple onion, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

Whisk dressing ingredients together.

Add other ingredients and toss.

Cover and chill 2 hours.

Giovanna Becker of Charleston writes, “This recipe gets raves every time it is served.”

Southern Caviar

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained

1 (10-ounce) can Ro-tel tomatoes with green chilies, mild

3 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 (11-ounce) can shoe peg corn (or white corn)

6 green onions, chopped

8 ounces zesty Italian dressing (light)

Directions

Drain the first 7 ingredients in a colander. Place in a bowl and add the Italian dressing. Refrigerate overnight. Eat as a salad or serve with corn chip scoops as a salsa dip.

We also heard from Nancy Lamb of Daniel Island, who shares another version. She also advises to make the salad several hours in advance to allow the flavors to develop.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

4 servings

Ingredients

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed

1 (16-ounce) can whole kernel corn

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup minced green onion

11/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

Directions

Mix all ingredients together. Serve cold on lettuce. Can also be used as an appetizer with corn chips.

Harriet Rybicki of Summerville has a different take:

Corn & Legume Salad

For dressing:

1/2 cup apricot preserves

6 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

For salad:

1 (15-ounce) can black beans

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans (or bean of choice)

4 ears of corn or 1 box frozen

1 red pepper, diced

1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (or sliced jarred peppers, minced)

¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley

Salad greens for serving

Rice, tortilla chips, meat, fish or poultry for serving (optional)

Directions

Mix dressing ingredients together. Add to the salad ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, prepare washed salad greens and put on plate with Corn & Legume mixture and top with one or more of the following options: rice, tortilla chips, meat, fish or poultry.

Who’s got the recipe?

Laurie Ransom of Mount Pleasant is “desperate” for a recipe she once had. It was in Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving issue about 25 years ago, and was for an orange butter compound that you rub under the skin of a turkey before roasting.

Sharon Cook of Charleston is not a fan of the infamous green bean casserole. Instead, “I would love to have some new and creative recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas side dishes prepared with fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Lela Curry of Summerville is looking ahead to the busy holiday time and would appreciate recipes for simple meals, such as casseroles with not too many ingredients.

Mildred Browder-Hughes of Johnsonville has been active in this column of late. She has a new request for an orange sherbet layer cake filled with cream frosting and coconut.

Elsie Clees of James Island writes, “A friend of mine asked me today if I had a recipe for Ice Box Fruit Cake which was made with graham cracker crumbs. She lost the recipe a few years ago. The original recipe was on the box of graham crackers, but is no longer there after all these years. Do you think one of your readers might still have this recipe?”

If there’s a recipe you’ve lost or a dish you are just wondering about, email food@postandcourier or call Features and Food Editor Teresa Taylor at 937-4886.