Something new – at least, new to me – is going on the citrus world: sweet limes. Citrus fruits have long been cross-it-over favorites, of course, like the tangelo. (Although I haven’t seen those in a while, I can still remember when they were the “in” fruit.) That deliciously juicy hybrid is a combination of tangerines and pomelo grapefruits. And there are lots of less-common species like kumquats and ugli fruits that aren’t on our citrus radar.
Sweet limes just cropped up at my favorite produce market, so of course I had to see if they really were sweet or lime-ish. The verdict? Much sweeter than lime-ish – sort of like a toned-down cocktail grapefruit. They’re so mild and sweet that you can drink the juice straight, actually.
Their sweetness makes them useful in salads, too, where you might normally use orange juice. Mexicans typically use the more traditional sour limes in their dishes, but sometimes it’s fun to put a naturally sweeter spin on dressings. For this salad, you could use either sweet limes or standard limes, whichever your taste buds desire.
Serves 2 for lunch, but can easily be doubled or tripled, or you can add more ingredients to make a heartier main dish.
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved OR 2 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
About 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (or however much cilantro you like – I prefer a good amount)
About 1 T. chopped white or green onion
1 cup black beans, drained
1 cup cooked brown rice (optional)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 sweet lime
1 tsp. chili powder
Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, adding the beans and rice to make a more filling dish. Serve immediately.
Note: You could also add chopped cooked chicken or fish, or you could use this salad as a salsa and serve it alongside a main meal. It could also be a chunky dip for corn tortillas.
Lisa Howard is The Cultured Cook visit her at www.theculturedcook.com