This weekend, I thought it might be fun to give myself post traumatic stress disorder.


So I ran 12 miles.

And then I went bathing suit shopping.

I think deep down, I was kind of hoping that the stars would align and all the water I lost from running in 80 degree weather for two hours would come straight from my abdominal area (specifically the love handle region).

But that’s kind of like wishing that chocolate chip cookies will go straight to your boobs instead of your thighs.

Somehow it just never quite happens that way…


In the end, the whole experience was not quite as injurious to my inner psyche as I thought it would be.

I didn’t burst into tears or silently curse one of the dressing room attendants not even once! (Okay that last part…so not true.  But she couldn’t even count to ten! I’m not even exaggerating.)  Which cannot be said of past bathing suit purchasing endeavors.

That being said…I am so not off the PTSD hook.

Because baring your stomach area to a two by nothing fitting room cubicle is not the same as wearing a bikini for a week a straight in Hollywood, Florida.  In front of STRANGERS.

Which is what I’m going to be doing.  In two. Weeks.

So basically I’m going to spend the next fourteen days curled up in fetal position and going on a cucumber diet.

Which is to say, I’ll be hitting the gym and eating totally normally except that whenever I get the strong and unnerving desire to stick a spoon into a jar of peanut butter and go to town…I’m gonna stick it into this bowl of salad instead.

And given how each bite of this mix of corn, avocado, red bell peppers, tomatoes and black beans is just about bursting with flavor…I’d say that’s not much of a sacrifice. Nope, not at all.

This recipe was Jenn’s pick for The Food Matters Project this week!  For the original recipe (I changed it up quite a bit), check out her site.  And to see how other Food Matters Project participants interpreted the recipe, click here.

Corn-Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Barley 
Serves 8-10, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook


  • 1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Kernels from 4-6 ears of corn
  • 1 medium avocado, skin and pit removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced finely
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Boil the black beans in salted water for 1 hour or until tender.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, combine 1 cup barley with 3 cups salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 40 minutes or until barley is tender and water has evaporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the barley, black beans, red bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, corn kernels, and avocado until well combined.  Add in the cilantro, chile powder, orange juice, and olive oil, tossing until well combined.  Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

I am submitting this to Souper Sunday which is hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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79 Responses to Corn-Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Barley {food matters project}

  1. Looks absolutely delicious, Joanne.. not that cucumbers aren’t, but this screams flavour!! Florida sounds like fun and hot…. will you be a blogging hiatus??

  2. A perfect summer salad! And a perfect salad to feel good about eating and then wearing a bathing suit 🙂

  3. What a delicious salad – full of yummy Mexican flavors. I love that you used dry black beans as well rather than just opening a can. I try to do that sometimes (when I plan far enough in advance!).

  4. My son is home and he’s eating plan changed… he no longer eats rice and all his Filipino Momma usually cooked for him hehe… Having said that I’m here for an inspiration and you just gave me one.
    You crack me up as usual… I always wish too that with all the rice I’m eating, it doesn’t deposit anything on my thighs and tummy gahh!!! 🙂
    happy monday!

  5. This is a beautiful salad and I love everything that’s in it. I think you’ll look lovely in your swimsuit – even without this salad because we all want some.

    Have a marvelous time!

  6. OohLookBel says:

    Those glistening pieces of corn, black beans and peppers are making me crave salad even though it’s winter here. At least there’s a couple more months before I have to think about bathing suits again 😛

  7. This salad is going on the menu this week. It looks fantastic! I give you credit for running, I couldn’t even bring myself to walk in this sticky heat we’ve had!

  8. Katie says:

    I have the same wishes for chocolate chip cookies that you do, every single time I eat them! I think all of us are in need of a few weeks of healthy eating with salads like this.

  9. Johanna GGG says:

    I love this salad – far more than the idea of sitting around in a bikini – but I wish you well with your holiday and I think this sort of salad will definitely help

  10. SallyBR says:

    Twelve miles! Congrats! It’s always nice to beat your legs into a pulp and walk around moaning for a couple of days. You go girl! 😉

    loved the salad too, the black bowl made it look so elegant and stylish!

    (I just resumed running a couple of weeks ago, but I’m doing it barefoot, with those five finger shoes – amazing feeling, but it does require some getting used to)

  11. Hotly Spiced says:

    Why don’t all the indulgences go to your boobs? Where’s the justice! Imagine the boobs you could have if life was fair! Beautiful looking salad – so many colours, textures and flavours xx

  12. london bakes says:

    I’ve gone for proper 50s swim suits this year rather than a bikini – they hide a multitude of sins! Love the colours of this salad, I bet every mouthful feels like it’s doing good things for you.

  13. Amy says:

    Ugh. Trying on bathing suits has to be the worst. I order through catalogs and it’s still awful in front of my own non-circus like mirror. It’s funny how it’s perfectly okay to wear a bikini in front of hundreds of strangers, but not our underwear. What’s the difference?? And whatcha doin’ in Florida?

  14. Faith says:

    12 miles?! You are an inspiration, girl! Love the look of this salad — I would be a very happy girl with a big bowl of it for lunch!

  15. I really like barley and will try this version once I am back in Canada. Your story made me laugh hihi

  16. So, this recipe is basically like my favorite corn salad recipe (Ina Garten’s) but made SO MUCH BETTER with the addition of beans, barley and orange flavor. Love it!

  17. Danielle says:

    This looks and sounds like the perfect summer salad! We can’t get enough avocados right now and since they’re in season, I’ve been looking for new recipes to use them in. Thanks for another great idea!

  18. What a gorgeous summer salad!!!
    You always inspire me cook healthy and live healthy!!!

  19. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, You are beautiful and don’t forget that. It is all about attitude.
    This salad is beautiful too. I would love every bite. Blessings my dearest. Catherine xo

  20. Marcia says:

    Ah, bathing suit shopping. While it never gets easier, you eventually learn to not be so hard on yourself.

    Especially at 40-something after a couple of kids.

  21. Margarita says:

    Bathing suit shopping is awkward and unpleasant, always! Lol! Love the addition of black beans! The barley, I have never had it before… What’s it like?

  22. Camila Faria says:

    Bathing suit shopping is always traumatic! Love this recipe, but I love that beautiful bowl even better!

  23. sage says:

    This looks really good… I checked out another of your links and was interested in your research into insulin

  24. Pam says:

    I bet you will look amazing in your suit with all the running you do! I won’t even attempt to get into a suit right now – UGH!

    I could eat a whole bowl of this corn-avocado salad… it’s my kind of food.

  25. Lora says:

    This so so beautifully healthy!

  26. Alethea says:

    YUM! I like the addition of the barley. I make a similar salad but always thought that it lacked something and I think the barley will do the trick! Can’t wait to make this for dinner tonight.

  27. 12 miles, how awesome! this salad rocks!

  28. This is my favorite kind of salad. Love the barley in it!

  29. Cathleen says:

    Bathing suit shopping is never fun times. I have avoided it all summer. It’s true I was busy, but… Maybe I like excuses. Maybe..
    This looks SO good. That wouldn’t stay in the house long, I would gobble that up in a second

  30. Haha, this cracked me up. Glad to know others go through the same thing during bathing suit season! I’m sure you’ll have no problems though with meals like this!

  31. Erica says:

    Coming from a stranger who has been on a beach and seen other stranger’s beach bodies, I can tell you that I honestly couldn’t care less whose love handles were or were not hanging out! I know it’s difficult, but try and cut yourself from slack and think about how relatively unimportant this stuff is, in the grand scheme of things. What’s most important is that you go and have a ton of fun swimming and enjoying the sun! You deserve to have that, free from self-consciousness!

  32. 12 miles! wow…I believe that you would fit into bikinis without any problem.
    The salad looks beautiful.

  33. Eileen says:

    Oh, dude. You will wow everyone at that beach, no problem. Especially if you happen to bring along a picnic basket full of salads like this! 🙂 Kick those creepy western female body issues in the shins! WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL.

  34. Beth says:

    This looks wonderful! Can’t wait to try it!

  35. avocado+corn+black beans= AMAZING. so glad you posted this recipe. I need to make it and use my barley more!

  36. Bathing suit shopping is always tough. I love the addition of barley to this salad Joanne! Where are you going?

  37. I’ve been dreaming that about chocolate chip cookies my whole adult life! Very fun read 🙂

  38. Carolyn Jung says:

    Swimsuit shopping is THE worst! No matter what size or shape you are, it’s always traumatic. I think that’s why I always need some chocolate afterward to de-stress. LOL

  39. Blond Duck says:

    I’m sure you look great!

  40. Yes! I love hearty salads like this in summer. Some people might treat them as a side but they are my meal. Hope eating it melts those “love handles” (as if!) right off! 🙂

  41. MM says:

    Nothing I eat ever goes to my boobs. Unless I happen to spill something there.

    During the summer, I love a good corn/black bean/avocado salad. Barley sounds great in it!

  42. That Girl says:

    I think everyone should run 12 miles before trying on swimsuits.

  43. Shannon says:

    yeah, let’s not talk about swimsuit shopping… this salad sounds awesome 🙂 and a 12 mile run, yay! i was happy with 5.25 😉

  44. Mary says:

    This salad sounds delicious enough to almost erase the horror of swim suit shopping. Almost, but not quite… good luck with the bikini. I’m certain you will do great!

  45. This has been one of my favorite types of dishes to make this summer. Something that’s loaded with great ingredients and that’s healthy, but also completely satisfying. Perfection!

  46. sophia says:

    Guess what. I came across three FREE cans of black beans!! So making this!!! I love the individual plump grains of barley in there.

  47. Jeanette says:

    Love this salad Joanne! What isn’t there to like about corn, avocado and black beans. I haven’t tried barley in a salad, but I bet it adds some nice chewiness. I actually just made a quinoa avocado mango black bean salad for a ladies’ event tomorrow.

  48. kankana says:

    I am eating so much corn these days. This sounds like a lovely salad to try with corn.

  49. I love eating dishes like this in the summer, they’re fresh and tasty and also bathing suit friendly! I’ve been eating a similar version with quinoa a lot lately but I think I’d love the texture that barley would give!

  50. Christine says:

    Like the flavor addition of orange juice. I add oj when I make salsa and it adds a nice touch to the mix. Good luck on shrinking, I’m sure you’ll do fine. Running 12 miles should help as much as this salad. Love handles don’t stand a chance!

  51. Gwen says:

    You’re hilarious! 😉 I’m quite sure that you look lovely in a bathing suit, me? not so much. I’d be happy to go w you to Florida so you can feel better about yourself. I’m self sacrificing that way.
    p.s. you do know that corn is a starchy, high glycemic index food and avocado is super high in (good) fat right? 😉 so healthy but not bikini food. sorry to be a hater.

  52. I LOVE the idea of barley in this salad. This will be made in my kitchen very soon!

  53. Dude, if only we could eat whatever we want and have it go straight to our boobs – that’s the American dream, right? I’ll still be eating this awesome salad because I need less crap going straight to my stomach. It’s not getting pretty there.

  54. Oh how to be going to Florida!! Woohoo! You are going to rock that bathing suit, luv! 🙂 Wobbly bits give us character, I think. 🙂

  55. Kari says:

    Ah, bikinis. You have so much to answer for. Still, if you are going to try and abstain from peanut butter, this is definitely the way to go about it 🙂 The salad looks fantastic.

  56. says:

    hi Joanne,
    Thanks for the Corn-Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Barley recipe.
    I’ll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it 🙂
    by the way, we’d like to invite you to submit your food photos on a Food Photography site so our readers can enjoy your creations.
    It is absolutely free and fun to make others hungry!

  57. love2dine says:

    I’m putting it on the menu next week!

  58. Kevin says:

    This is definitely a salad that I could go for!

  59. MS3 says:

    Mmmmm I had something like this when I went to Macchu Piccu! Looks delish! Can’t wait to make it!

  60. Ranjani says:

    Major props for a 12 mile run in the heat! You rock. And this salad looks fabulous – I LOVE fresh corn in the summer

  61. I didn’t even know there was a Hollywood, Florida! Sounds like fun…and um…aren’t you a size 0 or something ridiculous like that? Flaunt it, baby! ;P This salad is killer – so many things I love hanging out together in one bowl. Me likey.

  62. grace says:

    i have a salad recipe just like this, though the barley is a new (and terrific!) addition. 🙂

  63. Mmm, I love salads like this 🙂 Looks fantastic!

  64. Guru Uru says:

    This salad has it all my friend, looks fantastic 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  65. Evi says:

    Love the barley addition to this salad- perfect for a lunch! And don’t worry, I think everyone is traumatized after trying on bathing suits! Scary stuff!

  66. Reeni says:

    The only time I shop for a bathing suit is in my nightmares! I totally dread it too. I wish I had a big bowl of this colorful salad in my fridge! It’s gorgeous.

  67. Awais says:

    i am in love with this salad. Corns are looking very tasty.

  68. Not much of a sacrifice at all. Gorgeous healthy salad.

  69. elly says:

    love love love that this salad uses barley! sounds awesome.

  70. Deborah says:

    If you think that bathing suit shopping is scary, you should go with me. I won’t even try one on this year. Maybe next year! I want this salad. I think I could eat the whole bowl!!

  71. Kate says:

    I never would have thought to use barley! Brilliant choice, Joanne.

  72. Seriously, why can’t they put more flattering lighting in those changing rooms? Whose idea was it to hang florescent lights – that highlight EVERYTHING – directly overhead, so as to cast deep shadows within every.single. bump of cellulite?

  73. Chris says:

    Can you imagine how popular chocolate would be if it did go straight to the boobs? I mean, it’s already super awesome…that would make it legendary. And Guys would be buying chocolate for their ladies every day, forget waiting for valentines, ha ha.

  74. Gorgeous and fresh salad! I’d eat is by itself, put it in a burrito or on a taco…I’d put it on tip of another salad! A bowl of this would make anything better! Have a fun weekend!

  75. Candace says:

    I have some barley in my cupboard that have been waiting for this recipe. The corn, black bean and avocado combination is one of my favorites. This recipe definitely switches things with the way that I normally eat those foods. I love that you’ve added orange juice. Thanks for sharing a fresh new twist!

  76. This looks so hearty and good–not depriving yourself at all. 😉 Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  77. sally says:

    Yum! I need to add some more barley to my diet.

  78. […] year ago…Corn-Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Barley, Green Goddess Soup and Pesto Mozzarella Grilled […]

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