Tucked in the back corner of the University Center’s top floor, the Associated Students Food Bank serves the Gaucho community in the fight against food insecurity. Founded in April 2011, the A.S. Food Bank offers free canned goods, seasonal produce, grains, toiletries and more. Currently, the A.S. Food Bank serves over 3,000 students each week. Students can visit the food bank once a day and grab food on a first-come, first-serve basis. For the best produce selection, the food bank recommends coming early. Some limitations exist to ensure that all students can benefit (for example, students can only grab two of each produce item), but the free resource can make a huge impact in reducing grocery fees for students.
During the week of Oct. 9, the food bank displayed in-season produce like apples, bananas, lemons, chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and more. On the other side of the room, shelves were stocked with non-perishable items like canned vegetables, dried grains, boxed food and toiletries.
As a student without a car to go grocery shopping with, the food bank is a vital resource for me. Plus, its convenient location on campus means I can stop by between classes instead of carving out time to take the bus to Albertson’s. When I visit the food bank, I rarely have a plan or recipe in mind. Their constantly rotating supply of produce is unpredictable and encourages you to get creative. To make sure you don’t grab anything you won’t need, feel free to take your time scanning the shelves and formulate recipe ideas while you shop.
Looking at the shelves this week, I hardly needed to debate what to make. Between the canned beans and available produce, a bean salsa was meant to be. This recipe took 10 ingredients — I grabbed six from the food bank, had two at home and bought two at the store.
The best part about this recipe is that the ingredients are completely interchangeable depending on what the food bank has in stock. If black beans aren’t available, you can sub for kidney beans or pinto beans. I threw in green beans just for extra color and health benefits. I chose to buy a lime for the dressing, but lemons — which the food bank regularly stocks — work just as well for an acidic kick. Red onions can substitute for yellow onions, or you could forgo both if you can find a clove of garlic. Any kind of chili can work, or if you dislike spice, you can leave chilies out entirely. Salsas, by nature, are a grab bag of ingredients. No matter what you choose to include, this tangy and hearty recipe makes for a great snack or meal.
Black Bean Salsa
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 15 minutes
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can yellow corn, drained
- 1 can green beans, drained and chopped
- 1 small green chili, diced
- ½ small onion, diced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients! Leave covered in the fridge to marinate and cool, about fifteen minutes.
- Serve with tortilla chips and a lime wedge.
Follow @ucsbasfoodbank on Instagram for weekly produce finds, new items, and updated hours. For Fall Quarter 2023, the food bank will be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Signing up takes less than a minute — just fill out this Google Form and get shopping!