Friday, June 28, 2013

Simple Bean Salad

Gosh I really love beans! Growing up, my family never ate many beans... if fact I can't remember my family ever serving or eating beans. I started eating rice and beans as a teenager, having been influenced by friends and neighborhood culture, but they just weren't a family thing. Now I go through about a dozen cans of beans a month. Chick peas, aka garbanzo beans, are easily one of my favorites. They are mild flavored, a nice round shape and certainly nutritionally great offering fiber and protein, as well as a slew of nutrients. They work very well in salads.

Any bean would do fine in this salad though, black beans, white beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, even green beans (although you'd be well advised to cut those up, and perhaps blanche them).

Any vegetables would work here as well. In fact usually my 'go-to' veggies for this kind of salad would be celery, onion, pepper and carrots. But it's CSA season and while I do in fact have celery, onion and pepper in my refrigerator at the moment, I wanted to stick with my organic CSA stuff. Any herbs work for the dressing as well, but again I was going for my CSA stuff, hence this particular blend. But really that's the beauty of a bean salad and what makes it so very simple - its very adaptable.

I had used the bulbs of my fennel last night to make Caramelized Fennel with Goat Cheese (my review: it was ok, but not my favorite fennel preparation. I think it would work really well as a brunch side, more so then a dinner side.) This left me with all the stalks today, about 8 or 10 or them, having used 3 bulbs for dinner. I had also purchased some fresh organic dill for that recipe, so even though it wasn't in my CSA share, I figured I was still being a purist by including it in my salad since ti was fresh and organic (heck the beans aren't CSA anyway, they are out of a can!

The salad couldn't be easier. Basically rinse and drain the beans. Then chop the crunchy veggies into pieces about the same size as the beans. Make the dressing and mix it all together.

I made the dressing in my mini chop, although certainly you could chop the herbs by hand and whisk in the liquids. I put my herbs in the mini chop first and gave it a good whirl. I scraped down the sides, added the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and gave it another good whirl in the chopper. I then poured that over my beans and veggies and stirred it up. Voila! Bean salad. 

I fixed myself a bowl immediately, and divided the rest into containers and put them in the fridge. Really this kind of salad tastes best after a 30 minute to 24 hour wait, as the flavors meld and soak into the beans, but hey, I was hungry! You can eat this as is, or over lettuce, or even stuffed into a pita - really however you like it.

I used:

Stalks of 3 small fennel (about 8-10 stalks)
3 baby carrots
2 salad turnips
1 can chick peas

Fluffy part of 3 small fennel
1 garlic scape
parsley (just leaves off of two stalks)
Dill (just the leaves off 1 stalk)
Rice vinegar (about 2 tbsp)
Olive oil (about 1 tbsp)
Sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper

1 comment:

  1. FYI-My pots of chili had both red (kidney) beans and PINK beans. And I often made veggie burgers, too (with mashed beans as base)--though I do admit, I never, ever had beans as child, and while we didn't eat a lot a beans, you ate far more than I did. (i think I made hummas, too, but that might have been later.. (i make it all the time now)