eat beans

Mexican black bean pasta salad

By Jessica Kotlowitz

As a Registered dietitian, I always try to encourage my patients to eat more legumes, because really, they’re an essential food group just like fruits and vegetables. Did you know that for every 20g increase in daily legume intake, the risk of dying decreases by 8%? This makes legumes the most predictive dietary factor for longevity, even more so than fruits and vegetables! So you can imagine how excited I am to find a pasta that is made from 100% pure legumes! This pasta is packed with protein, iron, phytochemicals and is tasty, satisfying and guilt-free! The best part is, if you don’t like beans, you can still get your legumes in and improve your health or if your stomach tends to react to legumes, legumes in this form are a lot easier to digest and shouldn’t cause any gas or bloating.

Here is my favourite Mexican-inspired pasta salad. I have added some black beans for an extra dose of legumes because you can never have enough legumes in my opinion! This pasta salad is perfect for summer! Serve it as a side dish at your next braai or family gathering to ensure that everyone gets a good dose of disease-fighting nutrients. Since this contains lots of complex carbs, high-quality protein, healthy fats and fresh raw veggies, it is a complete nutritious meal in its own right. I often cook this dish up on a Sunday night to pack as a healthy and energy packed lunch for work or school through the week, and it keeps perfectly in the fridge for a good 3 to 4 days.



  • 500g Happy Earth People Red lentil/ chickpea pasta
  • 3 mielies (corn on the cob)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 mango, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (or to taste)

For the dressing:

  •  2 avocados, peeled and de-stoned
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 handful fresh coriander (cilantro)*
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup filtered water, or more to desired consistency


  1. Boil the pasta for 7 minutes according to package instructions, then drain and allow to cool.
  2.  Steam the mielies in the microwave for 8 minutes until cooked through but still crunchy.
  3.  In the meanwhile, chop up your onion, peppers, tomato, mango and add to the cooled pasta.
  4.  Cut the corn off the mielie cob and add to your pasta mixture along with the drained tin of black beans.
  5.  Season the pasta mixture with cumin and cayenne pepper and stir through.
  6.  For the dressing: add all the dressing ingredients, including the water, to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Once blended, add more water if necessary to smooth the sauce to your desired consistency and add salt to taste.
  7.  Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and serve warm or cold, garnished with a sprig of fresh coriander.


*If you are not a fan of coriander, you can sub with fresh parsley or any fresh herb of choice.

For my patients on calorie-controlled meal plans:

1 x 218g serving of this recipes =

  • 1 legume/ protein serving
  • 1 starch serving
  • 1 veg serving
  • 1 fruit serving
  • 1 fat serving


Source: The Green Dietitian

Jessica Kotlowitz is a Registered Clinical Dietitian who is passionate about the use of plant-based diets for the treatment and prevention of obesity and chronic diseases of lifestyle such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Jessica qualified with a Bsc. in Dietetics from Stellenbosch University in 2012 after which she completed her Community Service year at Baragwaneth hospital in Johannesburg where she focused on all aspects of clinical nutrition, including Paediatric and neonatal nutrition, renal nutrition, surgical nutrition and oncology nutrition. She began her Master’s degree in 2014 and began to research the effects of plant-based diets in an attempt to find solutions to some of her own health problems. After losing 15kg’s and drastically transforming her own health with the use of a plant-based diet, Jessica went on to open her own private practice in Cape Town which focuses on helping others to achieve optimal health using abundant plant-centred diets.